New York, NY – New York City’s crime rates soared for the second month in a row due to the discovery and bail reform laws that went into effect on Jan. 1, according to Mayor Bill de Blasio and New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.
Despite the massive increase in reported crimes, activists say that the number of crimes being prosecuted is down which they claim is proof that crime is dropping.
City leaders released data which refutes activists’ claims.
“I’ve been doing this a long time. One thing I know is crime in New York City, and we have never seen a month like January of 2020,” Commissioner Shea said during a New York Police Department (NYPD) budget hearing before the City Council Public Safety Committee on Mar. 4, according to The Chief Leader.
“It was the breadth of what we saw. It was almost universally all crime categories. It was double-digit crime increases,” he reiterated. “It was the largest crime increase going back—I stopped counting at 10 years—in terms of one month in New York City.”
The same thing happened in February, Commissioner Shea said.
During a crime briefing on Mar. 5, de Blasio noted that murders were down 20 percent compared to February of 2019, and that incidents of rape had also decreased, The Chief Leader reported.
“That’s where the good news ends,” the mayor said.
Robbery offenses were up nearly 33 percent, grand larcenies rose 24 percent, and thefts climbed a whopping 62 percent, The Chief Leader reported.
Shootings increased by seven percent, assaults were up by 9.2 percent, and transit crimes jumped up nearly 48 percent.
“We saw some momentum building in January, with a spike across the board, and now we have seen the same in February,” Commissioner Shea confirmed.
During the budget hearing on Mar. 4, the commissioner said that he “firmly” believes that bail and discovery reforms are the reasons behind the city’s soaring crime rates, The Chief Leader reported.
Simultaneously releasing 20 percent of the city’s jail inmates was also a “seismic” event, he added.
NYPD Crime Control Strategies Chief Michael Lipetri said that the department utilized “empirical, analytical and anecdotal evidence” to arrive at the conclusion that the law changes were responsible for the dramatic increases.
Police have re-arrested 482 offenders who were facing felony charges when they were released under the new bail reform laws, The Chief Leader reported.
Those 482 felony offenders went on to commit another 846 crimes, to include murder, auto theft, assault, grand larceny, burglary, and robbery, according to Chief Lipetri.
Despite the crime surge, NYPD officers have made 7,000 fewer arrests than they did in January and February of 2019, the chief noted.
He said that the discovery reform laws have also led to a major increase in the number of deferred and declined prosecutions.
De Blasio has also admitted that the reforms are responsible for the crime spikes.
“There’s a direct correlation to the change in the law,” he told the New York Daily News. “We need to address it and we will address it.”
Despite clear evidence and data backing up that assertion, critics have alleged that the NYPD is just trying to trump up fear in an effort to convince citizens to back their calls to pull back the miserably-failing reforms.
Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, Brooklyn Defender Services, New York County Defender Services, the Bronx Defenders and the Legal Aid Society voiced their accusations in a joint statement, the New York Daily News reported.
They pointed to the nearly 20 percent decrease in cases on court dockets as evidence.
De Blasio defended the NYPD, and said the department has not inflated the city’s crime statistics.
“They’re wrong,” he said of the accusations. “I just don’t buy it.”
Commissioner Shea staunchly defended the NYPD’s statistics, and said that the legal groups’ conclusions “make no sense,” the New York Daily News reported.
“They lost credibility with people who have any knowledge of the criminal justice system,” he said. “Clearly, the crimes are occurring. We have victims every day that we’re seeing.”