Crime and Safety

Crime in NYC still up 47.5% after bail reform despite cops claiming otherwise

Last week, the New York Police Department issued a press release announcing a 0.4% drop in “index” crimes (murder, rape, robbery, burglary, assault, grand theft and auto theft) for 2023. compared to the same period last year. period in 2022.

That’s good news if you’re happy with a 47.5% INCREASE in crime compared to the same period in 2019, the last year before the criminal justice reform.

It was only a matter of time before the mayor realized that he could show progress in the fight against crime by taking only the past year as the base figure.

You see, almost every year from 1993 to 2019, overall crime in New York has been on the decline.

In fact, crime in the city was on the decline from 2015 to 2019, even as crime was on the rise in Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore, and most other major American cities.

Then, in 2019, the New York State Legislature passed bail reform and other progressive criminal justice reforms, almost all of which went into effect on January 1, 2020.

Crime in NYC still up 47.5% after bail reform despite cops claiming otherwise
Mayor Eric Adams has managed to bring down the crime rate in New York.
Eric Pendzic/Shutterstock

As a result of these new laws, between November 2019 and January. On January 1, 2020, over 2,000 professional criminals were released from city prisons.

By March 15, 2020, prior to any COVID-related restrictions, crime in the city was up 20% from the same period in 2019, reversing a 27-year period of declining crime.

The city now wants to show “progress” in fighting crime by building on the higher crime rate of 2022, rather than the much lower crime rate before the “reforms” of 2019.

But really, it’s just the definition of a new normal.

The NYPD’s own statistics for the first six weeks of 2023 (latest available Compstat data) compared to the first six weeks of 2019 (before the “reform”) show the following (below):

I have the utmost respect for NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell, and I continue to believe that Mayor Adams is well placed to lead the fight to restore sanity to our criminal justice system.

The NYPD shared the crime rate from February 2019 to February 2023.
The NYPD shared the crime rate from February 2019 to February 2023.

Actually, I voted for him. I also understand that they are both under tremendous pressure to get things done.

But a one-month drop in crime rates of 0.4% is hardly a success if major crimes are still up 47.5% compared to 2019.

The worst thing about this 0.4% drop is that it provides progressive “reformers” and lawmakers with another misleading argument that the fear of crime is irrational.

After all, they will say, crime is now on the decline.

The grim reality is that progressive lawmakers have decided that the increase in crime on our streets is an acceptable price for their criminal justice reform.

But they cannot and will not admit it publicly.

Instead, they deny that the increase in crime that coincided with the reform is the result of the reform, and demand more and more data, denying that tens of thousands of additional (mostly black and brown) victims every year since the reform prove anything.

The commissioner and the mayor should have continued to compare today’s crime rates to those of pre-reform 2019, rather than looking for quick and favorable but misleading headlines in the press.

Otherwise, they will lose not only the debate, but also a real chance to repair the damage caused by these reforms.

Jim Quinn was the Executive District Attorney in the Queens District Attorney’s office.

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