Police in New York City may soon stop arresting people for drinking and urinating in public and will instead issue summonses similar to parking tickets.
Supporters believe that it could raise millions in revenue by allowing offenders to go online to pay fines. The City Council will soon decide whether to decriminalize the low-level offenses so that offenders would be able to avoid court and easily pay fines from the comfort of home, according to the New York Daily News. This plan is similar to how the city now handles possession of small amounts of marijuana.
A longtime New York Police Department officer told Business Insider that this plan will force people to pay the fine instead of going to court and possibly getting the charge dismissed, as often happens with such crimes.
“You will get a summons and have to pay the fine … it’s just another way for the city to make money,” said the veteran cop. “The proposed way will make you pay.”
But NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton disagrees – he has spoken out against these proposals, which he feels won’t raise that much money and will effectively legalise drinking in parks and on the street, public urination and even subway fare-beating.
“I’m not supportive of the idea of civil summonses for these offenses because I think that they’d be basically totally ignored, that they don’t have any bite to them, if you will,” Bratton said at a recent Council hearing, according to the Daily News.
That stands in contrast to his stance on pot — Bratton strongly supported the city’s decriminalization of low-level marijuana possession.
New York cops don’t often arrest people for drinking in public if it is done discreetly, by keeping the bottles in paper bags, and unlicensed vendors openly sell bottles of beer to park-goers.
The Big Apple currently has $US756 million in unpaid violations, the overwhelming majority of which are parking tickets, according to DNAinfo.
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