In New York City, there are a few things that seem to never go away, like traffic or tourists. For some New York residents however, there is another problem that seems to never disappear and that's the number of warrants for minor offenses.
Luckily for some New Yorkers, NYC Police Commissioner Bill Bratton wants to reduce the outstanding number by granting amnesty to the offenders.
From forgetting to curb your dog to disorderly conduct, there are about 1.2 million low-level offenders who still have open summons that can date as far back as 2005. According to officials, many offenders might be experiencing financial struggles or poor mental health resulting in their inability to pay fines or show up in court.
"Warrants never go away," Bratton explained. "There's no expiration date. It would be great to get rid of a lot of the backlog. It's not to our benefit from a policing standpoint to have all those warrants floating around out there."
The proposal has some opponents concerned for the possible increase in criminal activity. City Council Public Safety Chair Vanessa Gibson emphasized the importance of finding balance in this proposal.
"We want all New Yorkers to respect the laws we have on the books because laws are meant to be implemented," Gibson said. "They're meant to be enforced."
Supporters of Bratton's proposal refer to the success of cities like Atlanta where amnesty programs had positive results.
There is yet to be a definitive outline for the commissioner's proposal, but he does suggest to those with court summons to come forward because of the chance that the city will dismiss their warrants.
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