Most New Yorkers realize that Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Mark-Viverito are doing a poor job, but their latest big idea is literally turning the city into a toilet. A bill they passed last year is now forcing NYPD officers to not treat offenses like noise, public urination and open containers as crimes, and instead issue civil tickets. New York State Criminal Code 265.01 states that public lewdness is a crime. The mayor has the same contempt for this law as he does of the campaign fundraising statutes that he repeatedly violated.
Civil rights activists have described this blatant disregard as a victory for people of color – who they say are unfairly targeted, and for undocumented immigrants – who could face deportation if charged with a misdemeanor. The simple truth of the matter is these are the types of crimes that send neighborhoods down the tube and contribute negatively to quality of life in New York – for people of every race and immigration status. Thursday I held a rally at Gracie Mansion sarcastically urging people to urinate on the mayor’s lawn. Of course, de Blasio took offense to this demonstration. He doesn’t want people going to the bathroom on his home any more than a grandfather in Bay Ridge or a hardworking single mother in Harlem does. As a matter-of-fact, I strongly doubt that any law abiding New Yorker wants to see people peeing and drinking on their way to work, or while taking their children to school. And where does it end? The next thing that’s going to happen is criminals and sex offenders will have more rights than the kids they’re exposing themselves to.
As anyone who has lived in the city since Bill Bratton’s first stint as police commissioner in the mid-90’s knows, the ‘broken-windows’ approach to crime has shown great results. Was it a coincidence that the crime rate and specifically the murder rate plummeted in the 1990’s after the NYPD started to target nuisance crimes that caused urban disorder? I can say for a fact it was not. Most of my NYPD career occurred in the height of the ‘bad old days’ when disorder ruled and created a sense of fear and anarchy that criminals thrived on. If people aren’t scared to pee in the street, it doesn’t take a criminal justice expert to realize that they might not be too anxious about breaking into a car or robbing somebody. It’s a very slippery slope, and many dangerous criminals are caught when they are pinched for something minor. Respect for the law starts from the bottom up. There are countless examples of this. A recent high-profile one is the arrest of Karina Vetrano’s killer who was only known to police because he was arrested for public urination and disobeying park rules.
Yes, serious crimes like murder are way down since the 80’s and 90’s but quality of life crimes are up under Mayor de Blasio. Anecdotally, more and more hardworking New Yorkers are being harassed in the streets by vagrants and small-time criminals who are emboldened to do whatever they want. And why shouldn’t they? The city’s leaders allow them to. That has to change. When I’m mayor, the NYPD will enforce the law. It will be done in a way that’s respectful to people of all colors and creeds but if it’s not done we’re just disrespecting our own city.
-Bo Dietl, Candidate for Mayor