The Story

Four of New York’s district attorneys announced late last month that they would seek to have judges dismiss a backlog of over 700,000 outstanding warrants dating back a decade or more. The warrants mostly represent instances where individuals charged with quality-of-life violations failed to show up for court hearings or answer criminal summonses. Dismissing the outstanding warrants represents a rejection of Broken Windows policing, which has been responsible for the city’s dramatic crime decline over the last 25 years, and sets the wrong tone for the public safety climate. 

The Facts You Need to Know

  1. Not Race: Data on criminal behavior by race refute claims that summonses are issued on a racially biased basis. Read more.

  2. Ugly: The city has already effectively decriminalized a host of quality-of-life offenses, including public urination. Read more.

  3. Safer: Through studied and careful application of Broken Windows policing, New York City’s murder rate is now less than one-fifth what it was in 1993. Read more.

"I believe that issuing blanket amnesty for these offenses is unfair to those citizens who responsibly appear in court and sends the wrong message about the importance of respecting our community and our laws."

Michael McMahon, Richmond County DA

Twitter Take

The Past is Present

The Crime of Punishment By Seth Barron (February 2016)

“The New York City Council is preparing to pass a package of bills that will radically change the way the city enforces and prosecutes ‘low-level’ offenses, such as public consumption of alcohol, littering, and public urination.”

And in other news...

“Mayor Bill de Blasio plans to push for a tax on wealthy New Yorkers to pay for improvements needed to address the crisis engulfing New York City’s subway, city officials said on Sunday.”