Philly Council approves downgrading certain offenses

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Philadelphia police may be able to crack down on people disturbing the peace without having to arrest them. 

A bill under review in City Council would allow police to ticket anyone creating a disturbance, blocking a street or being intoxicated in public — rather than charging that individual with a disorderly person’s offense.  The change would help limit the city jail population, said police Capt. Francis Healy, by keeping as many as 10,000 cases out of the criminal justice system annually.

“It gives us a lot of credibility that we are not trying to overly criminalize this type of behavior, but we have to take action, some time to control,” he said. “This is a good, efficient alternative, and I think it will work well. The officers have been really receptive and are really looking forward to this.”

Councilwoman Helen Gym said she was concerned that tickets would be issued in domestic violence cases.

Gym was assured by police that domestic violence cases will be treated in the same way they have been all along.

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