The NYPD is continuing its efforts to reduce crime by no longer making arrests in Manhattan for low-level offenses such as public consumption of alcohol or public urination. Instead, individuals found committing such low-level offenses will receive summonses, Gothamist reports.
The plan went into effect March 7.
“Under current NYPD policy, officers must make an arrest if someone committing a low-level offense has an open summons; the DA’s office notes that over 1.1 million New Yorkers currently have open summons for failing to appear in court,” according to the site.
The decision to change the arrests to summons was announced last Tuesday by Mayor Bill de Blasio, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton, and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance. The group hopes the new rule can remove up to 10,000 cases a year.
Via NBC New York:
“Through this initiative, we are devoting our resources to best protect and serve New Yorkers,” Vance said. “By ensuring courts are not unnecessarily bogged down with minor offenses committed by those who pose no threat to public safety, we help focus police and prosecutorial resources on those who commit serious crimes.”
Since the death of Eric Garner and other proven police brutality cases, the NYPD has slowed down a number of arrests.
The decline began in 2014 when arrests were down two-thirds in comparison to the previous year. Police unions claimed the NYPD is worried about public perception. To some, the slowdown is viewed as a strategy to help protect police officers.
Following the December 2015 murders of Officers Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, NYPD was reportedly told to only make arrests on civilians if absolutely necessary. Transit police and public housing officers have also cut down on arrests in the past two years.