We are in a major crime wave. Is this a sign of a movement back towards the Dark Days of the 80s and early 90s? The stats are telling. The following post considers the crime statistics, cause of the crime wave, dispels the myth of the increase in crime is caused by the pandemic and proposes simple, balanced and common-sense solutions.
New York's Violent Crime Statistics
The following statistics are taken from statistics provided by the New York government. These stats are telling.
We are in a major crime wave and all active duty and retired police, detectives, lieutenants, captains, school safety agents and other members of law enforcement, I have spoken to, believe that we are going to have a very bloody summer and that the crime wave shall reach to all parts of the City.
The stats are showing a drastic spike in violent crime.
45 percent increase in Murders (2019 compared to 2020).
Nearly doubling of shootings (2019 compared to 2020).
91.4 percent of the victims of murder and non-negligent homicide are black or Hispanic in 2020 (2019 compared to 2020). This is something that the #DefundthePolice folks do not want to mention.
Between 97% and 91% of the suspects in shootings are Black or Hispanic (2008 to 2020).
This year the violent crime rate is on a greater rate of incline than in 2020.
10x increase in number of Asian Hate Crimes (2019 compared 2020).
Attacks on subways and in public places from the mentally ill, homeless and those released on bail has increased (2019 compared to 2020). Escalation of the increase in 2021.
Increase in crime from those out on Bail (2019 compared to 2020/ Q1 2021). The suspects are out on bail because of Cash Bail Reform and reactionary radical prosecutors in which certain suspects shall be, automatically, granted bail.
Increase in "minor" and nuisance offenses.
What Changes Occurred that Contributed to the Increase in Crime?
Numerous "judicial-reform" measures were passed in the New York City Council and/or in the NY State Assembly that led to the increase in crime, including, the following reactionary reforms and actions:
Election of Brooklyn's District Attorney Eric Gonzales and other pro-reactionary radical criminal-justice reform movement prosecutors led to the decriminalization of many crimes, the emboldening of criminals and the acquiescing to bail, by prosecutors, in all but the most exceptional of cases. This led to an increase of dangerous suspects and convicts on our streets.
Increase in pre-trial diversion programs that prohibit prosecution if, for example, one attends art classes. These programs were, even, offered to some gun offenders. These programs have increased the number offenders on our streets with the understanding by the offenders that in many cases an offender shall merely get a slap on the wrist.
In 2014, Mayor de Blasio refused to appeal a District Court holding that "stop & frisk" is unconstitutional even though it was noted that an appeal was likely to succeed with certain reforms being made. (Sean Hayes 4 NYC agrees that reforms were needed in regard to stop & frisk, but does not approve of the blanket prohibition. We shall be writing about this in the near future - check back).
In 2017, Mayor de Blasio backed the NY City Council's legislative package called the Right to Know. This legislation mandated the police, among other things, to inform a suspect of their right to refuse a search, thus, decreasing drug and weapon busts.
In 2017, the NY City Council passed legislation that moved to close Riker's Island and to replace Riker's Island with jails around the City. With one jail scheduled to be built in NY City Council District 1. The new proposed system shall, only house 1/2 of the present jailed population. Thus, the Mayor's Office and City Council proposed additional alternatives to incarceration programs such as the Mayor de Blasio and the NY City Council commenced program to decrease the number of people in prison and implement a supervised release program. Many of those scheduled to be released shall be dangerous to the community.
Starting on January 1, 2020 New York State supported by the New York City Council and Mayor de Blasio implemented Bail and Discovery reform. This Bail and Discovery Reform legislation led to an increase in the number of suspects out on bail and an expedited discovery process that is leading to the dropping of cases against suspects.
Judges are prohibited, in New York, from considering the dangerousness of a suspect when granting bail, thus, without cash bail or a change in the powers of our judges, we are stuck with releasing to our streets those that prosecutors and judges know are a danger to the community.
The New York State has closed 17 detention centers. This is the largest closure of detention centers out of any state. Correspondingly, our incarcerated population has decreased.
It is interesting to note that the majority of major cities that engaged in reactionary "judicial reform" had a large spike in crime. This includes LA, Chicago and Minneapolis. These cities "defunded the police," elected reactionary prosecutors, decriminalized crimes, implemented bail reform and released more dangerous convicts from jail.
Detractors are Wrong, the Pandemic Did not Lead to the Increase in Crime
The argument that the pandemic caused the increase in crime is tragically flawed if we consider the matter logically and via statistics. The detractors note that poor economic conditions and a shift in routine activities led to the 2020 Crime Wave. The arguments are tragically flawed and are being used as a mere red herring by these detractors.
We can understand that from the closure of business because of pandemic restrictions we shall see a decrease in armed robberies, since many stores, banks and other businesses with cash were not open. However, the rise in homicides and shootings has no logical connection to the change in situations. What is the argument? Maybe we can understand an increase based on the increase in drug use during the pandemic, but the doubling of shootings is not something that can be just explained away - without argument.
Additionally, the detractors note that many of the crimes were crime of desperation caused by economic stress on families. However, this argument does not pan out when we consider the statistics. The reality is that throughout New York's history a link is not found between poverty and shootings. For example, the lowest homicide rate was, in New York, in 2016 and the poverty rate was higher in this year than in the year when we had the highest homicide rate - 1989. The stats do not add up to poverty being the cause of the increase in homicides and shootings.
Blame the "Power" for the Crime Wave
The best explanation I have seen of the issues we are facing with politics is described by Mr. Rafeal Mangual. He notes in a great article on crime in New York that:
"The radical wing of the criminal-justice reform movement has enjoyed enormous legislative and electoral success over the last few years, in New York and elsewhere. Such success owes much to the impression—carefully crafted and nurtured by those leading the movement—that the fight for reform is, à la Public Enemy, a fight against “the power.” David versus Goliath. Meek Mill versus The System. But that’s all just a smokescreen. When the smoke clears, it reveals that those leading the movement to de-police city streets and depopulate jails and prisons are the power. As such, they should be held accountable for their 'victories'—and what follows from them." Rafael A. Mangual
THE SOLUTION FOR THE CRIME WAVE
Allow judges to consider "Dangerousness" in Pre-Trial Release decisions.
Bring back and expand special investigative units, plainclothes units and other proactive enforcement units. Return to what made us become one of the safest large cities in the country.
Implement a Second Chance Criminal Justice Reform Initiative. We need to give convicts a means and roadmap to a successful and prosperous like and family. We all deserve a second chance.
Vote, in primaries, for centrist candidates that care and talk about the safety of our streets. We need to understand that in most districts and city-wide a Republican can not win, thus, register as a Democrat and vote in Democratic Primaries. The majority of the voters in New York are pragmatic realists, however, we do not vote, often enough, in our primaries.
Turnback the discovery reforms.
Learn about the Dark Days of the 80s and early 90s and the reforms that occurred in the mid 90s and early 2000s that led to the drastic decrease in crime. We need to push to get back to what worked.
Knock off the anti-cop rhetoric. Teach respect for our police in schools and in our communities. The police force is not our enemy - the bad cops are the enemy. The NYPD is one of the greatest police forces in the world with a majority of officers being people of color.
Vote for Centrist politicians. The polarization in our society is destroying us from the inside. We need to return to the middle
Sean Hayes (Candidate for New York City Council in District 1)
Pragmatic Solutions through Experienced Leadership
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