NYPD Blames Shooting Surge on Gov. Cuomo’s Bail Reform and Early Release of Prisoners

NYPD Blames Shooting Surge on Gov. Cuomo’s Bail Reform and Early Release of Prisoners

By Yehudit Garmaise

    Last year, spearheaded by Gov. Andrew Cuomo, the New York state legislature passed a bail reform law that eliminated cash bail and pretrial detention in nearly all misdemeanors and nonviolent felony cases. On Jan. 1, 2020, the law went into effect, and it worked as intended: fewer people were ended up in jail, and after being arrested, were able to return right back out on the streets.

   Then, COVID hit in March, and Cuomo's administration ordered the release of up to 1,100 prisoners who were held on technical parole violations. In April, New York State began freeing prisoners who were aging and nearing their release date, and protestors, many of whom held signs that said, “Incarcerated Lives Matter,” continued to advocate for the release of even more prisoners. 

      Now, at the end of 2020, New York City has seen a devastating 96% increase in shootings, which the NYPD have repeated blamed on the loosened bail laws and early release of prisoners due to COVID concerns, both initiated by Gov. Andrew Cuomo.

     The NYPD told the New York Post that of the 3,793 perpetrators that involve firearms crimes who were arrested between Jan. 1 and Nov. 30, only 450 of those criminals remain in jail. 

   A whopping 3,345 criminals, or 88% of those arrested, were let go, according to NYPD data. 

     NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea confirmed last week that nearly 90% of suspects who were arrested on gun charges this year returned immediately to the streets.

   According to the NYPD, the increase of criminals on the street due to bail reform, plus the release of thousands of formerly jailed prisoners has fueled a historic spike in shootings that have left more than 1,756 dead or wounded.

   “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,” said Shea, who announced that shootings in the city have climbed to 1,433: unfortunately revealing a 14-year high in shootings.

     After making that announcement on Thursday, the NYPD had recorded an additional 18 shootings, which brought the total shootings to 1,451, the department said.

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

   “I can hear reformers argue that most shooters haven’t [committed new crimes],” said Sergeant Giacalone, who is also a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “Tell that to the victims’ families.”

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