By Ann Brown
Since 2013 New York City has had a backlog of at least 1 million open warrants and has failed to put a dent in that over the years.
Most recently, there were more than 1.6 million outstanding warrants in New York City, according to City of New York criminal justice data. Of the outstanding warrants, 1.3 million were for criminal summonses, which included offenses such as drinking alcohol in public and littering. Approximately 810,000 of the outstanding warrants in NYC were for summonses that were more than 10 years old.
Warrants are typically issued when someone fails to show up to court. An open warrant can lead to an arrest in cases where a police officer might otherwise issue a ticket.
Many people forget about minor, years-old warrants, and when they get arrested for another minor offense such as jaywalking, the old warrant pops up, leading to much harsher penalties.
Open warrants, in fact, are increasing nationwide.
According to warrant data supplied by 27 states in 2019, the Columbus Dispatch newspaper identified more than 1.2 million open arrest warrants for minor offenses.
The population segment most affected by outstanding warrants is Black men, especially in New York City.