NYPD commissioner Dermot Shea blames bail reform for 2020 crime spike
A sharp rise in citywide crime since 2020 began was sparked by New York’s new bail reform laws, which took away a judge’s discretion to hold repeat and possibly violent offenders behind bars, NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said at a press conference Friday.
“In the first three weeks of this year, we’re seeing significant spikes in crime. So either we forgot how to police New York City, or there’s a correlation,” Shea told reporters in reference to the new laws.
“If you let out individuals that commit a lot of crime, that’s precision policing in reverse and we’re seeing the effects in a very quick time, and that is why we’re so concerned.”
The new law has stopped a slew of non-violent offenses from being bail eligible, allowing criminals to walk free after committing robberies, burglaries and other offenses.
Since 2020 began, as of Friday at midnight, robberies are up 32.5 percent, car theft is up 61 percent and burglaries are up 18 percent compared to the same time period last year.
And the numbers aren’t fractions either — a total of 233 more robberies have happened this year compared to last, 159 more car thefts and 125 more burglaries, just in the last three weeks.
“People say it just took effect you can’t have consequences already. Take a look at the comp stat,” Shea railed.
“We’re seeing it immediately at the same time that you have [state and local jail] populations dropping significantly,” the new commissioner went on.
“Now don’t tell me there’s not a correlation to that.”
Shea went to Albany this week to talk to lawmakers about his concerns, which he said were two pronged.
The first issue is repeat offenders being let out over and over again but the second issue is the state’s new discovery laws, which require prosecutors to turn over all of their evidence, plus the contact information of witnesses and victims, within 15 days of an arrest.
“The second piece is going to take longer and then it’s going to be a one two punch as discovery takes hold,” Shea said.
“Discovery is going to change how crimes are prosecuted in New York.”
While the new discovery law was created to ensure the accused aren’t seeing the evidence against them “until the eve of trial,” “swinging it back 180 degrees the other way and giving everything over immediately is equally wrong,” Shea said.
“When you have instances where witnesses and victims will be afraid to call the police, that is a real problem and that needs to be fixed… this is something that affects all New Yorkers.”
Prosecutors are already grappling with how to protect the privacy of victims and witnesses and are trying to figure out how they can do that under the new laws, The Post learned at a recent conference for New York State prosecutors.
Shea cautioned his comments by saying the NYPD has long supported many aspects of the reforms and the amount of money in someone’s pocket shouldn’t determine if they’re allowed to go free or not.
Still, the interest of public safety will always prevail, Shea said.
“You have to have a situation where dangerous individuals, or individuals that repeatedly commit crimes and victimize people, are kept in,” the commissioner said.
“And if judges don’t have that ability, I think we’re all in trouble and I don’t think any New Yorker wants that to happen.”
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