NYC Is Scrapping 700k Low-Level Crime Warrants

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Anders Hagstrom Justice Reporter
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New York City is planning to toss out 700,000 warrants for low-level crimes next month, rejecting a decades-long policy of aggressive enforcement from the NYPD.

According to Mayor Bill de Blasio, The warrants pertain to crimes like public urination and staying in Central Park after dark, which had been harshly prosecuted under Giuliani’s “broken windows” philosophy, the New York Post reported Wednesday. Giuliani argued that an absence of low-level crime deters more serious crime, and under Giuliani’s eight years as mayor, the city’s violent crime rate fell by 56 percent.

“What is the deterrent then for individuals to not commit quality-of-life crimes?” Mayoral Candidate Nicole Malliotakis told the Post. “There’s no criminal penalty and now there’s gonna be a civil penalty that’s not enforced.”

The policy only targets warrants more than 10 years old, according to a city council spokesman. And most of them pertain to people who failed to show up in court after receiving a summons for a low-level crime. NYC has more than 1.5 million similar outstanding warrants, the New York Post reported.

The measure is only the most recent event in de Blasio’s push against broken windows policy. The mayor signed legislation in 2016 decriminalizing low-level quality of life crimes. (RELATED: NYC Law Created Loophole To Avoid Deporting Criminal Illegal Immigrants)

“Those who committed minor offenses a decade ago or longer and have not been in trouble with the law pose no threat to public safety today,” Bronx DA Darcel Clark told the New York Daily News.

Under the new law, police must issue civil rather than criminal summonses for crimes like riding a bike on the sidewalk, drinking a beer in public, and other quality of life infractions.

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