Philadelphia Police Department announces emergency COVID-19 arrest procedures for non-violent offenses no longer in effect

The Philadelphia Police Department announced Friday that emergency COVID-19 arrest procedures for certain non-violent offenses are no longer in effect.

In response to the COVID-19 outbreak, Philadelphia police officers were instructed in March to stop making arrests for certain non-violent crimes. The department said individuals who would normally be arrested and processed at a detective division were temporarily detained to confirm identification and complete necessary paperwork. The individual was then be arrested on a warrant at a later date.

Decisions were made on a case-by-case basis based on the severity of the offense, the perpetrator's criminal record and potential danger to the community.

"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 Friday. "Predictably, conditions have, in fact, evolved in dynamic fashion. Accordingly, we have reviewed our current protocols and have made several adjustments."


Changes in conditions include the approach of consistently warmer weather, an increase in retail thefts, and an increase in burglaries committed by recidivist offenders.The department adds they have the capacity to process a greater number of offenders.

The emergency COVID-19 arrest procedures will no longer be in effect for the following specified offenses: 

- Burglary

- Theft From Auto

- Theft from Person

- Stolen Auto

-Retail Theft

For the listed offenses, arrested persons will be immediately transported to a police facility and processed in the traditional manner.

The change is effective immediately.


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