Major crimes soared in February in New York City, and New York Police Department (NYPD) officials blame one change that was implemented for the uptick: bail reform. The NYPD stated in a press release, “Criminal justice reforms serve as a significant reason New York City has seen this uptick in crime.”
According to the NYPD, compared to February 2019, major crimes grew 22.5%; in addition, the city suffered a 7.1% increase in shootings. The city also saw a rise in robbery, assault, burglary, grand larceny, and grand larceny, according to Fox News. The only piece of good news was that murder plunged 20%.
Fox News added, “The NYPD says that in the first 58 days of 2020, 482 individuals who had already been arrested for committing a felony such as robbery or burglary were rearrested for committing an additional 846 crimes. Thirty-five percent, or 299, were for arrests in the seven major crime categories – murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny, and grand larceny auto – that is nearly triple the amount of those crimes committed in the same 58 days in 2019.”
The New York Post pointed out, “All of the 482 suspects could have landed in jail prior to Jan. 1 when the state’s new bail reform law kicked in and prohibited pretrial detention in most misdemeanors and some nonviolent felonies, the NYPD said.”
The NYPD revealed that New York prosecutors declined to prosecute 803 crimes in January and February; last year that figure was 527 cases.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea stated, “Each number presents a victim. We will continue to work hand-in-hand with New Yorkers and our law enforcement partners to zero in on the drivers of crime and deliver justice for the victims.”
In early January, Barry Latzer, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, CUNY,explained in National Review:
The new law prohibits arraignment judges (the ones that handle an arrested person’s first court appearance) from demanding bail for certain defendants or remanding them to jail. Instead, they must release the defendant on his own recognizance (ROR). This release order supposedly does not apply to violent felony offenders. However, numerous crimes of violence or potential violence are found among the state’s so-called nonviolent felonies, including certain robberies, rapes, and assaults.
And judges in New York — unlike judges in 46 other states — may not take public safety into account when deciding whether or not to release someone. While New York law directs arraignment judges to focus on the likelihood of return when ruling on release, it does not provide for an assessment of the risk of nonappearance.
He concluded, “It is true that defendants who have been arrested but not yet convicted should not be punished. It is also true that without some security — cash deposits, bail, or jail — many thousands of these defendants will never show up for their day in court, and some will commit additional crimes once freed. The balance between individual rights and public safety is best achieved by letting the judges determine on a case-by-case basis who is a flight risk or a danger to the public and helping them make this determination through data-based assessments. Top-down, arbitrary decision-making by state government simply won’t work.”