NYPD Commish Silent As Mayor De Blasio Says Talks On Issue Just Getting Started

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – It was a stunning admission from Mayor Bill de Blasio.

He said he is strongly considering changes to how the city deals with low-level crimes, as Police Commissioner Bill Bratton ducked for cover — literally.

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CBS2’s cameras were rolling Wednesday as political reporter Marcia Kramer demanded answers.

It was hard to get answers from Bratton on possible changes to his cherished “broken windows” policing policy, because the normally spotlight-loving commissioner scurried away from a public press conference.

But Mayor de Blasio was another story, giving the strongest indications to date that unlike the police commissioner he is open to changing how some minor, low-level quality of life offenses are treated.

Kramer: “I wonder if you think that maybe some adjustments or updating could be made to some of the low-level offenses to make it part of the changing times?”

De Blasio: “Again, I’ve said many times the ‘broken windows’ approach, the enforcement of quality of life offenses, is a basic strategy that we will always look at and consider with changing times.”

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CBS2 reported Tuesday that officials were working on a deal, which was  put forth by City Council Speaker Melissa Mark-Viverito, not to change policing but to change the way minor offenses are dealt with – for example a civil hearing, not a criminal hearing.

The mayor said the discussions are just getting started.

Kramer: “I wonder if you think it makes sense for people who might be arrested for something, like being at the park at dusk, to spend a couple of weeks in jail because they can’t make bail until their case is heard, when they could be treated administratively?”

De Blasio: “Good question. We think there’s a lot of ways to create a better relationship between police and community. In terms of the basic offenses that are on the books right now, we just have to be careful to evaluate each one very carefully. Some people have talked about fare evasion. I’ve made the point that fare evasion should not be looked at too lightly.”

Kramer reported Tuesday that the way the NYPD treats fare evasion — that’s turnstile jumping — and public urination were not likely to change.

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And although the police commissioner has not yet come on board, sources said minor crimes like riding a bicycle on the sidewalk and being in a park after dark probably would not be processed criminally, Kramer reported.