NEW YORK – Authorities in New York City say minor offenses like urinating in public will now result in summonses, not arrests, in Manhattan.
The policy shift was announced Tuesday by the New York Police Department and the Manhattan district attorney's office in an effort to reduce a backlog of cases. It's to take effect next Monday.
The change applies to low-level, nonviolent offenses including riding between subway cars, drinking alcohol in public and littering.
There will be no arrests for minor offenses unless there is a demonstrated public safety reason.
Offenders with open warrants will still be taken into custody but will only have to deal with a summons, not a new criminal case.
Authorities estimate that the changes will result in 10,000 fewer cases going through Manhattan Criminal Court each year.