Crime in NYC still up 47.5% since bail reform despite cops claims otherwise
The New York City Police Department issued a press release last week announcing a 0.4% decrease in “index” crimes (murder, rape, robbery, burglary, felonious assault, grand larceny and car theft) in 2023 versus the same year. Expires in 2022.
As far as that goes, that’s good news if you’re content with the 47.5% increase in these same index crimes from the same time in 2019, the previous year before 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 using the previous year as a base figure.
You see, in almost every single year from 1993 to 2019, overall crime in New York City declined.
In fact, crime in the city was declining from 2015-2019, even as crime was rising in Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore and most other major US cities.
Then, in 2019, the New York State Legislature passed bail reform and other progressive criminal-justice reforms, almost all of which became effective on January 1, 2020.
As a result of these new laws, between November 2019 and January. 1, 2020, more than 2000 career criminals were released from the city’s jails.
As of March 15, 2020, before any Covid restrictions, crime in the city was up 20% compared to the same period in 2019, reversing a 27-year straight period of crime reduction.
Now the city wants to show “progress” in the fight against crime by using the elevated crime levels of 2022 as a baseline, rather than the much lower crime levels before the 2019 “improvements.”
But it is really defining a new normal.
The NYPD’s own statistics for the first six weeks of 2023, compared to the first six weeks of 2019 (before the “reform”) (latest Compstat numbers available), show the following (below):
I have great respect for NYPD Commissioner Keith Sewell and I still think Mayor Adams is well-positioned to lead the fight to restore order to our criminal-justice system.
Actually, I voted for him. I also understand that they are both under a lot of pressure to produce results.
But a 0.4% reduction in crime for one month can hardly be considered a success when it still leaves major crime at 47.5% higher than in 2019.
The worst thing about this 0.4% reduction figure is that it gives progressive “reform” advocates and legislators yet another misguided talking point about how fear of crime is irrational.
After all, they would say, crime is now on the decline.
The stark reality is that progressive legislators have decided that increased crime on our streets is an acceptable price to pay for their criminal justice reforms.
But they cannot and will not admit it publicly.
Instead, they deny that the crime that coincided with reform is a result of reform, and they deny that the thousands of additional (mostly black and brown) victims every year after reform prove anything. are, others demand more data.
Commissioners and mayors would do well to keep comparing today’s crime numbers to pre-reform 2019 numbers, rather than seeking quick and favorable, but misleading, press headlines.
Otherwise, they will not only lose the debate, but also any realistic chance of undoing the damage done by these reforms.
Jim Quinn was the acting district attorney in the Queens DA’s office.