Philadelphia police to begin making arrests for certain nonviolent crimes after pause

Philadelphia police to begin making arrests for certain nonviolent crimes after pause

Authorities in Philadelphia will resume arresting some nonviolent crime offenders following a previous move to scale back arrests to prevent jail crowding and accommodate court closures due to the coronavirus outbreak.

Police will begin booking and processing citizens for crimes like auto theft, burglary and retail theft, the department announced Friday, according to The Washington Post.

Throughout the last six weeks of the pandemic, police have reportedly delayed arrests for other nonviolent crimes, including some minor drug offenses as well as prostitution and vandalism.

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Any offenders at the time were reportedly either fingerprinted or filed paperwork to be charged at a later date.

"At the time of the change, the Department was clear in that the list of offenses was subject to review and revision as conditions continued to evolve," Philadelphia Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw said, according to a local affiliate FOX 29 Philadelphia.

John McNesby, president of Philadelphia's police union, voiced his support for the change in policy.

"With warmer weather on the horizon and crime likely to spike, we expect our Philadelphia police officers to protect their own safety and carry out their jobs with respect and professionalism," McNesby said to the Philadelphia Inquirer.

As courts closed in mid-March at the height of the pandemic, police were coordinated to focus on duties such as enforcing social distancing and cracking down on street crimes.

In total, Philadelphia recorded over 12,500 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 424 deaths as a result of the virus, according to The Post.