Chicago's mayor wants to increase the penalties for drinking and urinating on the public way and for gambling.
City officials say quality-of-life crimes have the highest rates of default, with up to 70 percent of offenders ignoring administrative hearings and fines.
Under proposals by Mayor Rahm Emanuel that are advancing in the City Council, Chicago would add six months of jail time and double the maximum fine to $1,000 for drinking and urinating on the public way and $400 for gambling for those who don't pay the initial fine.
Chicago police contend such crimes can ruin a neighborhood and lead to the more serious crimes of prostitution, gang loitering and drug dealing.
Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy has advocated a crackdown on quality-of-life crimes since his appointment by Emanuel.