NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Officials recently announced that if you are caught in Manhattan holding an open container of liquor, peeing in public or committing an assortment of other low-level offenses, you may now just get a ticket.
As WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond reported, Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance said keeping low-level offenders out will benefit the criminal court system.
Vance estimated 10,000 low-level offenders a year will be kept away from Manhattan Criminal Court, and precious resources will be saved.
“Those resources are better spent paying attention to more serious misdemeanor cases like assault or domestic violence, as opposed to these cases,” Vance said.
The NYPD recently said it will no longer arrest people with outstanding warrants for minor offenses like public drinking, taking up two seats on the subway, or public urination. But the new rule applies only to Manhattan.
Summonses will be handled separately by an administrative judge. In cases where there is an open warrant, the offender will be taken directly to court to face a judge on both matters.
Vance rejected the argument that the new rule will diminish the city’s quality of life.
“We do not believe that these individuals are really affecting our public safety,” he said.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said last week that the move will reduce paperwork and allow the NYPD to put more resources where they belong.
“This new policy in Manhattan will save valuable police resources. Police officers can now quickly return a person to court on a warrant and, at the same time, adjudicate their current summonsable offense, all without jeopardizing the public safety,” Bratton said.
Officers can still make an arrest if it’s necessary for public safety.