New Yorkers should prepare for a loud, smelly summer.
As of Tuesday, scofflaws who commit certain quality-of-life violations — including urinating, boozing or blasting loud music in public — will get little more than a slap on the wrist.
The change is the result of the City Council’s controversial Criminal Justice Reform Act, which allows law breakers who’ve been cited for those and other low-level offenses to face justice in administrative hearings rather than in criminal court.
Critics charge that the shift will undermine the “broken windows” theory of policing that began in the city in the 1990s. The theory maintains that cracking down on minor offenses prevents more serious crimes.
“It’s bulls–t!” fumed one high-ranking police source. “They shouldn’t be doing that. It’s just going to make crime go up again.”
Advocates claim the new procedure will divert 100,000 cases a year from the criminal justice system and prevent minor offenders from acquiring criminal records.
But another source pointed out that many law breakers will be emboldened because they’ll no longer have to appear in criminal court — which might require taking a day off work.
Now, they’ll simply have to appear at an administrative hearing at a convenient location near them.
“It’s things like this that make it tough to do your job,” the source said. “So now we’re going to decriminalize the things they’re doing? Now they’re just going to do whatever they want.”
Under the old system, a person might’ve thought twice about urinating on an elevator because they didn’t want to get stuck with a record, he said.
“Grandmothers and children have to get in the elevator every day and every day it smells like p— and it’s going to keep happening,” he said.
“Before, the guy might have thought, ‘I better not p— in the elevator because I might get caught up in the system.’ Now, there’s no fear of embarrassment or recrimination.”
Anyone on probation or parole caught violating the same laws will still receive a criminal summons. The same is true for anyone with two prior arrests, cops said.
But cops will not be able to write the criminal summons until they get a supervisor’s permission.
Officers will also have to back off of repeat offenders — at first. A person must rack up three civil summonses before they’ll get a criminal one for breaking the law a fourth time.
Still, officials insist the new tactic won’t bring their much ballyhooed decreases in crime to a halt.
“I don’t believe it’s going to affect crime in anyway,” Inspector Thomas Taffe said at a press briefing on the new police.