News & Politics

Chaos Set to Return to Big Apple Streets

(AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito, files)

“Minor offenses” — like piddling in the streets and throwing trash all over the place — will now be de-criminalized in New York City. Thanks, Mayor de Blasio!

There’s some relief on the way for people who get busted for offenses like public urination and littering in Manhattan, officials said Tuesday. Under the terms of a new initiative that takes effect March 7, low-level criminal offenses such as public consumption of alcohol and taking up two seats on the subway for offenders won’t result in arrests or prosecutions — just summonses.

“The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office will no longer prosecute most violations or infractions, and the NYPD will no longer arrest individuals who commit these offenses — such as littering, public consumption of alcohol, or taking up two seats on the subway — unless there is a demonstrated public safety reason to do so,” the agencies said in a joint release with City Hall.

Those offenses typically don’t result in arrests anyway — unless officers find out the offenders have an open warrant or do not have an ID, in which case they were required to make an arrest. Under the reforms, offenders with open warrants will still be taken into custody and then to court to answer for the open warrant — but they won’t have to deal with a new criminal case, just a summons.

Offenders who simply didn’t have an ID, meanwhile, will be given time to call someone to the station house with a photo ID before they are arrested. Officials estimate the move will result in the diversion of 10,000 cases annually that would otherwise have to go through Manhattan Criminal Court.

So lemme get this straight: in order to make life easier for the legions of lawyers and judges plying their trades in Manhattan, the mayor and his cronies are going to make life in the big city worse for everybody who lives and works there. Except, of course, the scofflaws who, seeing no societal resistance to their barbarism, will graduate to other crimes. This was the rationale behind the “Broken Windows” theory of policing, whose adoption under the Giuliani administration brought the city back to life. But I suppose this lesson has to be relearned every generation.

In the meantime, enjoy.