Posted on December 17, 2020

NYC Has Freed Thousands of Gun Suspects This Year as Shootings Soar

Sara Dorn, New York Post, December 12, 2020

Nearly 90 percent of suspects arrested on gun charges this year are back on the streets, which the NYPD says has fueled a historic spike in shootings that have left more than 1,756 dead or wounded.

About 3,345 of the 3,793 perps arrested between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30 for firearms crimes — 88 percent — were let go, according to department data. Just 450 remain in jail, the NYPD told The Post.

Some of the suspects posted bail, but judges were required to release others under new reform laws that prohibit them from setting monetary bail on some gun-possession cases. The crime became ineligible for bail in most circumstances under the Jan. 1 law changes, which mandate judges to release collared suspects, with no money down, on hundreds of charges considered “non-violent.”

The NYPD has repeatedly blamed this year’s stunning 96-percent surge in shootings on the loosened bail laws and early release of prisoners due to COVID concerns.

“We have made staggering numbers of gun arrests, taking guns off the streets from felons … but when you look, three days later, four days later, those individuals are back on the street committing more gun violence,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said Tuesday while announcing shootings have climbed to 1,433 and are on track to reach a 14-year high by the end of 2020. By Thursday, the NYPD had logged an additional 18 shootings, bringing the total to 1,451, the department said.

The stats provided to The Post in the wake of Shea’s comments show the vast majority of accused criminals with known access to guns are free to go and commit new crimes — and many allegedly do.

Among suspects in this year’s shootings, 40 percent have been caught with a gun previously, the NYPD said.

Of the 3,793 arrested in the first 11 months of the year on gun charges, 247 of them were accused of new crimes within just 60 days of their initial gun arrest, the NYPD said.

Only 32 of those 247 are currently in jail.

In addition to the 247, another 24 people arrested for gun crimes previously were named as people of interest in a second crime within 60 days of their first gun arrest.


“If an individual is willing to shoot someone, why are we giving them a chance to do it again?” asked John Jay College of Criminal Justice Professor and retired NYPD detective sergeant Joseph Giacalone, who added sarcastically, “It’s not like we are up nearly 100 percent in shootings or anything.