Posted on January 6, 2020

New York’s Thickening Cloud of Violent Crime

Seth Barron, City Journal, December 30, 2019

{snip} A surge in violent crimes has shocked the public, from the midnight slaughter of four street sleepers by a mentally ill homeless drug addict; to the late-afternoon murder of a Barnard student, apparently by three young teenagers; to a spate of anti-Semitic attacks, climaxing in the Harlem arrest of a man who chopped his way with a machete into the upstate home of a Monsey rabbi celebrating the penultimate night of Hanukkah.

Grafton Thomas, perpetrator of the Monsey attack, fled to New York City and was almost immediately apprehended. His car’s license plate number had been reported and, after he crossed the George Washington Bridge, the NYPD’s automated “license-plate reader” system registered his presence. He was arrested within 15 minutes of entering the city.

But if New York’s city council has its way, surveillance tools like the LPR will be rendered less effective, if not useless. The Public Oversight of Surveillance Technology Act enjoys the support of Speaker Corey Johnson and the co-sponsorship of most of the city council. {snip} In the name of “transparency,” the POST Act would require the NYPD to disclose and publish the details of how such technology works. {snip} The NYPD has warned that the POST Act would create “a one-stop shopping guide” for criminals to evade scrutiny.

{snip} New York State is preparing to roll out sweeping criminal-justice reforms that will prevent police and the courts from detaining people arrested and charged with serious offenses. The new rules on bail remove judicial discretion from a remarkably wide array of charges. No one charged with a misdemeanor, for example, can be held on bail, regardless of his criminal history, gang affiliation, or evident disposition for committing more crimes. Misdemeanors in New York include assault in the third degree, causing “physical injury to another person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument.” {snip}


Police and other critics of the hastily enacted and sloppy criminal-justice reforms have been warning New Yorkers for months that the scene is being set for mayhem. {snip} The day after the Monsey attack—perpetrated, like almost all the recent anti-Semitic violence in New York, by an African-American—de Blasio blamed President Trump. {snip}

{snip} Having accepted the bogus argument that minority communities are disproportionately policed and “criminalized,” our leaders have seemingly surrendered the will to protect the communities—largely these same minority neighborhoods—most ravaged by crime. The only option left is to pursue the debunked logic that policing is driven by implicit racial bias, and that crime is caused by inadequate funding of social programs.


Mayor de Blasio and his supporters keep repeating that “New York is the safest big city in the nation.” It certainly was when he took over in 2014. But as we head into the last two years of his mayoralty, more and more of the people who ride its subways and walk its streets no longer feel safe. {snip}