The Philadelphia Police Department will be delaying arrests for an array of crimes including narcotics offenses, thefts, burglary, vandalism, prostitution, stolen cars, and economic crimes over coronavirus concerns.
The city will also be releasing criminals from jail in an effort to continue “social distancing.”
A leaked internal memo said that “if an officer believes that releasing the offender would pose a threat to public safety, the officer will notify a supervisor,” who would ultimately make the decision about whether the suspect should be detained.
The Fraternal Order of Police has supported the decision to stop arrests in the crime-ridden city and noted that violent offenders will still be arrested.
“The directive was released to keep officers safe during this public-health crisis,” FOP Lodge 5 president, John McNesby, said in a statement obtained by the Philadelphia Inquirer. “Meanwhile, violent offenders will be arrested and processed with the guidance of a police supervisor.”
According to neighborhoodscout.com, your chance of becoming a victim of either violent or property crime in Philadelphia was one in 25, before arrests were even halted.
Under the new guidelines, officers from various plain-clothes specialized units will be temporarily reassigned to uniform patrol duties and the “Live Stop” vehicle impoundment program will be suspended until further notice.
The Los Angeles County Sheriff has also began releasing prisoners and is asking officers to cite and release offenders when possible to protect inmates from the coronavirus.
“Our population within the jail is a vulnerable population just by virtue of who they are and where they’re located,” Sheriff Alex Villanueva said Monday at a news conference, according to NBC News. “So, we’re protecting that population from potential exposure.”