10:21 PM / Friday July 30, 2021

4 May 2020

Philadelphia police end COVID-19 procedures, begin to arrest for non-violent offenses

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May 4, 2020 Category: Coronavirus, Local Posted by:

From Philadelphia Police Department

PHILADELPHIA- In mid-March 2020, in tandem with the City of Philadelphia’s enhanced response to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Police Department made modifications to several of its protocols. Among them, was a change in the manner in which arrests were processed for a specified number of non-violent offenses. These changes were implemented with the clear understanding that they would be under continuous review. 

“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,” stated Police Commissioner Danielle Outlaw, adding, “Predictably, conditions have, in fact, evolved in dynamic fashion. Accordingly, we have reviewed our current protocols and have made several adjustments.”


Changes in conditions have included, the approach of consistently warmer weather, an increase in retail thefts (which can have a particularly deleterious effect on small businesses), and an increase in burglaries committed by recidivist offenders. In addition, currently, the Department has the capacity to process a greater number of arrested persons. 

Accordingly, effective immediately, 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 Police Department will continue to review its policies on a perpetual basis, and will keep the community informed of relevant revisions or amendments.

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