For a second week in a row, the NYPD isn’t working. From this period last year, arrests are down by 56%, and summonses for petty crimes are down a whopping 92% — from 4,077 to just 347. The sudden dip in activity seems to part fear for safety and part protest against Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has supported peaceful demonstrations for Eric Garner.
But the lack of activity hasn’t yet given way to a spike in serious crimes, and so the slowdown paradoxically plays into the demands of protesters and critics of the Broken Windows policing who argue that arrests for petty crimes disproportionately target people of color. It’s almost dream-like, says Legal Aid Society attorney Frances Gibbons in the New York Daily News, that “Guys aren’t spending the night in jails. People who really shouldn’t be in jail for petty stuff aren’t going to jail for petty stuff.”
The slowdown also means, then, that you have a good chance of not getting ticketed or arrested for low-level crimes/violations. In that spirit, here are 10 things you might be able to get away with on the streets of New York this week. Take advantage of it.
Ride a bike in Central Park…fast!
Though a rare occurrence, a ticket blitz ensued after two pedestrians were struck and killed by cyclists in Central Park in 2014; in late November, the speed limit in Central Park was reduced from 25 MPH to 20 MPH. With the cold weather snap — which means fewer pedestrians in the park — and lack of police enforcement, now’s the time to dust off the road bike and ride it hard as you can.
Smoke weed in front of One Police Plaza
Smoking any amount of weed in public is illegal, so why not light up at one of the city’s most symbolic institutions of authority? While there, be sure to check out Tony Rosenthal public sculpture, 5 in 1. There’s also cool courthouses right around the block that can be admired.
Drink alcohol in public
The NYPD issues more summonses for public drinking than any other offense, so you might as well enjoy the rare freedom that is imbibing on the street. Cheers.
Park wherever you want
Fuck alternate side parking and having to sit in a car for two hours while a streetsweeper passes. Sleep in, relax, and don’t move your car. Or just park it wherever the hell you want. Based on accounts in the New York Times, plenty of people are doing just that.
Hone your aerosol skills. After all, it’s not often that the NYPD just stops working. Now might be the best time to practice your handstyle or paint a blockbuster piece in a high profile location.
Go urban exploring
In 2014, urban exploring moved out of the shadows and into the mainstream. Tourists are even doing it in the middle of the day. With less prying eyes looking at the city’s iconic and spans and structures, here’s the perfect opportunity to take advantage and potentially adopt a new pastime.
Jump a turnstile
Around this time last year, the NYPD went after 1,400 fare-beaters. This past week only 22 people were arrested or ticketed. You should always pay your subway fare, but if you’re a little short or can’t get the MetroCard to work, no need to plead with an MTA clerk, just hop over.
Make some noise in the street
Yelling, dancing, singing, and generally making an ass of yourself are things that can annoy enough to cite you for disorderly conduct, an exceptionally vague and broad offense. With no one to get pissed off, what’s stopping you?
Urinate in public
When you gotta go, you gotta go. The only reason why more people don’t pee in public is the threat of getting a ticket. Well, that’s not happening, so feel free to relieve yourself.
(Photos: Aymann Ismail/ANIMALNewYork)