Penalties for drinking alcohol and urinating in public could be reduced under a package of bills being discussed by the city council next week.
Under the Criminal Justice Reform Act of 2016, drinking alcohol in public, littering, public urination, unreasonable noise and violating parks rules would largely be considered civil offenses punishable with summonses, according to a city council memo on the plan.
The legislation would remove the possibility of a permanent criminal record for urinating in public and violating park rules. Instead, police would create public guidelines about when those violations are civil or criminal offenses.
The city has used the "broken windows" theory of policing for years which holds that smaller offenses are predictors for larger crimes. Both Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner Bill Bratton have remained strong defenders of the strategy in the face of criticism that the theory unjustly targets minorities and the poor.