Young black men have been arrested for misdemeanor offenses at a far greater rate in New York City over three decades as more-serious felony arrests have dropped to record lows, says a new study by John Jay College of Criminal Justice reported by the Wall Street Journal. The study found that the rate of misdemeanor arrests, which includes property theft, drug possession and resisting arrest, for all races increased from 1,174 arrests per 100,000 people in 1980 to a peak of 3,774 in 2010.
The misdemeanor arrest rates for both whites and blacks doubled between 1990 and 2010. Hispanics saw a smaller increase. The rate of misdemeanor arrests for black men between the ages of 18 and 20 almost tripled between 1990 and 2013. Since 2010, the number and rate of misdemeanor arrests in the city has dropped. Richard Aborn, president of the nonprofit Citizen's Crime Commission of New York, attributed the recent drop in misdemeanor arrests to fewer stop and frisk stops being conducted by police officers and a drop in low-level marijuana arrests. “There is a robust discussion going on across the country about alternatives to arrest and I think this reports aids in that discussion,” he said.