Eric Durkin, Politico, March 5, 2020
Mayor Bill de Blasio and the NYPD reported a major spike in crime for the second straight month and doubled down on blaming the jump on bail reform — even as public defenders charged police may be manipulating the stats to push their agenda.
Major crime jumped by 22.5 percent in February compared with the same month last year, police said. For this year so far, crime is up 21 percent over 2019.
“Criminal justice reforms serve as a significant reason New York City has seen this uptick in crime,” the NYPD said in its press release announcing the stats.
The bail law that took effect at the beginning of the year says that people charged with misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies must be released without being required to pay bail. De Blasio has been pushing for changes — currently the subject of a heated debate in Albany and a source of division among Democrats in New York.
“There’s a direct correlation to a change in the law, and we need to address it, and we will address it,” de Blasio said at a press conference at police headquarters, saying he was sure lawmakers would make changes by the April 1 state budget deadline — also a priority of Gov. Andrew Cuomo. “I am absolutely confident this will be addressed.”
In the first two months of the year, the NYPD says 482 people who were released after being charged with a felony where cash bail is prohibited went on to be arrested for 846 new crimes. Of those, 299 were the seven major crimes the department uses to calculate crime stats. Police emphasize that these people may be responsible for additional crimes on top of the ones they’ve been arrested for.
“Let’s talk about what is tangibly happening before our eyes. It’s very striking. We know what we have to do about it. Let’s fix it,” de Blasio said.
NYPD Chief Michael LiPetri predicted things would get worse if changes are not made.
“Recidivism only grows with time,” he said “So can you imagine where we’ll be in six months?”