People In Court for Broken Windows Offenses Know They’re Getting Worked Over

May 1, 2015 | Liam Mathews

The Daily News sent a reporter to Manhattan summons court to talk to people who were there for minor quality-of-life offenses, and the near-unanimous verdict is that broken windows policing is dumb.

“It’s a waste of time,” said a man named Michael Joseph, 42, who was there to combat a ticket for not paying a bus fare (he won). “These cops give you tickets for stupid things.”

“I don’t think this does much to prevent felonies or violent crimes,” said Pedro Alvarez, who paid a $50 fine for public urination. “It’s like traffic tickets. It’s a way for the city to make money.” Pedro Alvarez understands the game.

An MTA conductor there to pay a ticket for drinking in public, the most common summons issued, believes that turnstile jumpers should have to go to court, but lesser offenses like his should be able to be paid online.

The City Council is working to decriminalize minor offenses,. Police Commissioner William Bratton disagrees, and said Thursday that the NYPD will be “doubling down” on broken windows policing. The City is taking some steps to reform summons court, so that people don’t get sent to Rikers for not paying a $50 fine and/or lose a whole workday dealing with summons court.

(Photo: Malingering)