New York police arrests gradually are returning to levels closer to the same period last year after a drop-off that began in December, but the number of criminal summonses (tickets for minor offenses) has remained down, the Wall Street Journal reports. During the week ending Feb. 8, criminal summonses fell 38.7 percent to 3,507 from 5,723 in the same period last year, while arrests dropped 11.5 percent. Part of the reason is a drop in marijuana arrests and summonses, which are down 64.8 percent and 18 percent respectively through Feb. 8, Last fall, Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton directed officers to issue tickets instead of making arrests for low-level possession.
Overall arrests are up from a month ago, when officers were engaged in a slowdown following the Dec. 20 shooting deaths of two police officers. Officials say a “residual effect” remained. Chief of Department James O'Neill said several factors were at play: cold weather, which tends to lessen crime, but also a focus by commanders on making arrests for low-level crimes only when necessary. “Obviously the numbers are down, but maybe this allows us to reset where we need to be on enforcement levels,” said O'Neill. “Just because you gave 100 summonses last year doesn't mean you have to do the same number this year. “Are you correcting the condition?”