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Santa Monica City Hall Gets Creative With Law-Breakers

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Unlike in downtown LA where police are amping up efforts against minor crimes, Santa Monica is downgrading them. Well, kind of. The Santa Monica Daily Press reports the City Council has changed rules regarding misdemeanors like riding your bike on the sidewalk, loitering in parking structures, leaving property unattended for more than 10 minutes, and disturbing the peace in public parks--they can now be treated as infractions (where fines are paid) instead of misdemeanor citations. That means, cops can now give you a ticket instead of a court date. "City Hall said the move will save money by reducing the amount of time spent prosecuting misdemeanor offenses and will increase the city's income from fine collection, though no estimate of how much the city stands to gain was provided," reports the SMDP. The new rules, passed last week but needing another round of approvals before going into effect, also allows more officials to issue infractions, like employees of the Office of Sustainability and the Environment, license inspectors, and animal service officers. So, as the paper points out, while punishment is now more lax, the likelihood of getting nabbed has seemingly increased. Image by culturesponge via Flickr
· City Hall Goes Light on Some Violations [SMDP]