Marijuana Enforcement Drops Significantly in City Parks, Except in Bronx, Localize.city Finds

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May 8, 2018

While marijuana-related offenses in parks were down citywide from 2016 to 2017, they barely budged in the Bronx and remained the most common NYPD-reported incident type in the borough’s parks

 Macombs Dam Park, near Yankee Stadium, had the highest number of NYPD-reported marijuana-related offenses for any NYC park last year.

Localize.city found that Bronx parks face disproportionate enforcement when it comes to marijuana-related offenses compared to parks in other boroughs.  

As policies around marijuana enforcement shift toward a less punitive approach, the number of marijuana-related incidents reported in parks is now dropping.

Manhattan parks saw a whopping 31 percent drop from 2016 to 2017 while Brooklyn’s parks saw a 20 percent drop.

The Bronx, however, only saw a 6 percent dip, and marijuana-related offenses remained the No. 1 overall offense recorded in Bronx parks last year. It was the only borough where marijuana offenses ranked first. (Petit larceny — thefts under $1,000 —  was the top offense in Manhattan, Brooklyn and Queens parks; assault ranked first in Staten Island parks.)

Localize.city aims to provide a complete picture of what life is like at, and around, every address to help buyers and renters make informed decisions about where to live. This includes providing information on what is happening in nearby parks, from upcoming renovations to persistent concerns about safety and cleanliness.

Localize.city data scientist Idan Richman analyzed New York City park crime statistics from 2015 to 2017, and noticed that the number of marijuana-related incidents stood out in the Bronx.

“Overall trends in Bronx parks showed marijuana enforcement was not dropping significantly as in other boroughs,” Richman said.

Some City Parks Still Seeing Significant Rises in Marijuana Offenses

Localize.city found the number of marijuana-related offenses rose significantly in a handful parks in 2017, including Coney Island’s Beach & Boardwalk, which is nearly 400 acres, and Claremont Park, a nearly 39-acre park in the South Bronx. That is about 15 blocks away from Macombs Dam Park, which had the highest number of marijuana-related incidents in any city park in 2017 and 2016, with an average of 65.

Built on the footprint of the old Yankee Stadium when the new ballpark rose across the street, Macombs Dam Park is an important open space for many South Bronx residents. It’s where many locals have Little League games, play basketball and soccer or run track. Few locals consider it dangerous hub for drug activity.

The number of marijuana-related incidents reported at Macombs Dam tripled between 2015 and 2016 and remained nearly as high in 2017. Localize.city found that overwhelmingly, the marijuana-related offenses during the past two years fell on days when the Yankees were playing home games (more than 80 percent in 2017, nearly 70 percent in 2016) — and police were likely out in full force in the park.

Many South Bronx residents and business owners near Yankee Stadium complain that while the NYPD tends to heavily monitor Macombs Dam Park and the immediate area around the stadium on home game days, complaints and concerns regarding crime and safety in the community at-large often fall on deaf ears.

“It’s always been a gripe of the neighborhood that once the season is over, they [the NYPD] don’t care about the community. They really only care during game days,” said Yosara Trujillo, who runs Sweet Water Dance & Yoga about a block away from Yankee Stadium and Macombs Dam Park. “They’re making sure that Yankee game-goers are safe going to the Metro North station and the parking lot.”

Is Crime a Problem Near Your Local Parks?

To find out if crime is a problem near your home or local park, search your address: www.localize.city.  The website identifies if your building or park is near a hot spot when it comes to violent crime, burglaries or drug offenses. You can sign up for updates on these quality-of-life issues and other topics relevant to what’s happening at your New York City address.

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