A Staten Islander confronted Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday about having to smell marijuana across the city. (AP Photo/Mary Altaffer, File)
Oct 8, 2015
SILIVE - CITY HALL -- A Staten Islander confronted Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday about having to smell marijuana across the city.
"Tom in Staten Island" called in a question about quality of life during the mayor's appearance on John Gambling Show on AM 970 The Answer.
"It seems like the lack of police breaking, cracking down on marijuana has increased the outright blatancy of smoking marijuana in public,
" Tom said. "The quality of life of my children and my wife has degraded since this lack of stop-and-frisk."
Tom was referring to the NYPD's shift on low-level marijuana possession last November. People found with 25 grams or less may get a court summonses and a fine of up to $100 so long as they aren't smoking or burning the drug. Having marijuana in the public view meant a visit to a station house, fingerprinting and misdemeanor charges previously.
Tom wondered how quality of life for him and his family could be improved under the new policy, under which arrests have decreased.
"The question is," he said to de Blasio, "how do you fix the quality of life for me, the guy who's always followed the rules against the guy who's not following the rules and is bombarding me with this marijuana smoke every house, everywhere I go throughout the city?"
De Blasio answered that he and NYPD Commissioner William Bratton continue to be proponents of the "broken windows" theory of policing, which suggests going after smaller crimes helps curb greater and more violent offenses.
"What we changed about marijuana is we focused on making fewer arrests," he said. "But there are summonses and there still is intense quality-of-life enforcement."
The mayor noted that crime statistics show New York continues to be the safest big city in America. So this means the police force deals with "fewer and fewer of the kind of violent crimes that used to dominate so much of the attention in the past and can focus more and more energy on the quality-of-life crimes," de Blasio said.
The mayor has stressed the importance of maintaining a direct dialogue with New Yorkers. But that's difficult for Islanders without town halls or through the more controlled appearances when he does go to the borough.
Another Islander approached the mayor during an event here in May highlighting an increase in the budget for road repairs.