Bail

New York Is Having a Violent Summer, But It's Not Because of Bail Reform

The NYPD is still blaming jail releases, but the data simply doesn’t back that claim up.

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New York City is seeing a spike in shootings and homicides, and New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea blames bail reforms and COVID-19-related releases of inmates for the increase. But the New York Post looked over the New York Police Department's own data and found there's no relationship between this new wave of violence and the release of people from New York's jails.

When New York reformed its bail laws to make it easier for people charged with low-level crimes to get out of jail without having to put up money first, law enforcement representatives insisted it would lead to more crime.

Similar reforms in adjacent New Jersey had shown no such problems, but once New York state implemented reforms at the start of 2020, police trumpeted the case of any person who was released without having to pay bail and subsequently broke the law and as proof that bail reform puts people in danger.

To an extent, this strategy worked. New York scaled back its bail reforms in April, giving judges greater authority to demand cash bail, especially if somebody was arrested again after being released from pretrial detention.

This apparently still isn't enough for the NYPD, and Shea is attempting to argue that bail reforms have led to gun violence. But the data shows that's just not true.

The New York Post looked over the city's data of 528 shooting incidents from the start of the year through the end of June. Only one person who had been released on bail under these bail reforms has been charged with a shooting, according to the NYPD's own data. Less than 1 percent of the 11,000 people who have been released from Rikers Island this year have a connection to a shooting in the city, and more than half of those people are connected as a witness or a victim, not as a suspect.

Among the 275 people released from Rikers to attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19, only nine were subsequently linked to shootings, and of those, three were witnesses and three were victims.

Everybody has their own theories about why gun violence is increasing, not just in New York City, but in other major urban centers like Chicago and Minneapolis. Shootings often go up in the summer, and homicides do tend to increase during periods of political and social unrest. The summer of 2020 hits all three marks.

It's also worth noting that New York City is not seeing a massive increase in all major crimes. Homicides, burglaries, and auto thefts are seeing big spikes—burglary reports have doubled over last year—but other major crimes are on the decline. Overall, New York City actually saw a 5.5 percent decline in major crimes when compared to the first six months of 2019.

That, of course, doesn't mean that residents of the Big Apple should shrug off a major spike in gun violence and homicide. But the data simply doesn't support the NYPD's claim that bail reforms and COVID-19 releases are to blame.

Kudos to the New York Post for holding the police accountable, particularly since the Post has historically been the media outlet most likely to uncritically advance the tough-on-crime argument that criminal justice reforms lead to more crime.

NEXT: Two People Charged With a Hate Crime for Painting Over a Black Lives Matter Mural

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71 responses to “New York Is Having a Violent Summer, But It's Not Because of Bail Reform

  1. Everybody has their own theories about why gun violence is increasing, not just in New York City, but in other major urban centers like Chicago and Minneapolis.

    It couldn’t have anything to do with politicians turning a blind eye to violence, kneeling in submission, and bashing their own police forces, could it?

    1. Shhh… shhh… don’t interrupt the defunding of the police.

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    2. We obviously need to clamp down on white supremacist speech on Twitter, YouTube, and Reddit!

      1. Ironically, De Blasio painting BLM in front of Trump tower pretty much can’t be attributed to anything other than hate

        1. The SDNY attorneys are looking at misuse of government funds for political purposes right?

    3. And what would be the mechanism by which those factors would cause an increase in violence? Police unable to work because of the intense pain from their feelings being hurt?

  2. Uhm no mention of the cops basically abandoning policing poorer minority neighborhoods, where most of this crime has occurred? How long until we start hearing the charge that abandoning this neighborhoods is a form of racism, again?

    1. High unemployment and related frustrations probably aren’t helping either.

      1. Nope, but somehow I doubt these homicides will ever be blamed on lockdowns by those in power in these cities.

      2. We’re in kind of a perfect cocktail right now.

        1. I was sure all the lockdown crap would end once the riots started. But I underestimated people’s will to deny reality. Nope, this is all totally because some guy got killed by the cops. Nothing else to see here.

          1. >>I underestimated people’s will to deny reality

            dude. word.

          2. The narrative is changing so quickly right now that anyone rational should have mental whiplash.

        2. We’re in kind of a perfect cocktail right now.

          So let’s have a party!

    2. Any disparity is assumed to be evidence of racism now, so yeah, probably.

      1. Will Biden reverse himself again and once more champion the 1994 crime bill?

        1. “Those who would defund the police want to put you back in chains!”

    3. Isn’t getting the police out of minority communities so that they aren’t focusing unfairly on black and brown criminals one of the goals of BLM?

      1. Yeah, until it isn’t. The cops were there in the first place because not focusing on those crimes was used as evidence of racism.

        1. Remember, without the police, all crimes get punished by the death penalty, if they get punished at all.

        2. And, just wait, it will pivot smoothly back to that angle quicker than we might expect.

          Crack cocaine enhanced legal punishment was championed by black activists, until it wasn’t. Then it was suddenly evidence of structural racism.

          This will be no different, I suspect.

          Something tells me there’s a pretty big divide between what the ‘activists’ want and what your average person living in those communities wants. I suspect the average person wants a safe neighborhood with active police. I can’t imagine a whole lot of people enjoy drive-by shootings or visible junkies on every corner, but when you live somewhere police fear to tread it’s exactly what you get.

          Not that living under the rule of the ‘official’ thugs in blue is a whole lot better, but it is at least marginally better than living under the rule of the ‘unofficial’ thugs in most cases.

          1. I had a moment of realization about an virulently anti-police friend of mine who lives near the most violent housing projects in the big city I live in.

            If a person of any color with a weapon were banging down her front door and trying to enter, she would call 911 in a minute. Because she doesn’t have a gun and her supposed “anti-police” stance would vaporize the moment there was a direct threat to her or her children.

            It’s all just empty rhetoric, she doesn’t call the cops on her violent black neighbors because she knows that… one of her non-violent black neighbors will call the cops, instead.

          2. The activists are in their own world. As I understand it, a lot of black communities tend to be pretty socially conservative in many ways, want to see laws enforced and are not particularly sympathetic to black trans and queer lives.
            I hope we start to see more voices from actual black communities asking these asshole activists to please stop speaking for them and fuck off.

      2. Here’s an idea; BLM can create it’s own police force in urban minority neighborhoods. Let them sort it out themselves. But I want dibs on concession stands.

  3. In college I learned that whenever a Democrat-run city or state is having problems, we should blame the Republicans. In this case, NY’s crime must be the result of a nearby red state with insufficiently tough gun laws.

    #LibertariansForGunSense

    1. Connecticut. I knew it.

    2. Generally it they’ve blamed purple states such as Virginia and Pennsylvania; although Virginia is more blue than purple and it’s gun laws are quickly mirroring New Yorker. Guess they’ll have to start blaming Pennsylvania and West Virginia.

      1. Yeah, good luck taking people’s guns out in Appalachia. If you can even find their ‘house’, that is.

    3. Right you are, OBL.
      It’s ALWAYS someone else who is to blame when liberal democrats fail to deliver the socialist utopia they promised the gullible and the naive.

  4. It’s 2020, I’m surprised Yellow Stone hasn’t exploded yet.

    1. No, but the courts ruled that the USFWS can’t turn over management of grizzlies to the states of Idaho, Montana and Wyoming around Yellowstone because of insufficient evidence they have recovered. I guess record hire grizzly attacks and grizzlies steadying moving further east and west, into areas they haven’t been recorded for, in some cases, nearly a century is insufficient evidence.

      1. Oh and the USFWS having to pay even more for crops, stored grains and livestock destroyed as a result of grizzlies, year after year. Again not proof (as well as costing tax payers more and more money).

      2. The is a desired outcome of the Brown Bears Matter movement.

  5. New York’s alright if you like saxophones.

    1. And the smell of a sewer.

      1. And released criminals roaming free and committing violence with impunity because bail “reform”

        1. Did you not read the article, Nardz? Shackford is positive that the data shows bail reform isn’t to blame at all for the rise in crime. And how could it? Because we all know these jurisdictions are only releasing the nonviolent accused.

          1. Shackford’s a political hack with no integrity, as his dick sucking for the worst political crime in US history demonstrated

  6. The summer of 2020 hits all three marks.

    That we made one of those three milestones is actually a positive. I wasn’t sure.

  7. Mass unemployment caused by forced lockdowns couldn’t possibly have anything to do with an increase in crime could it?

    1. No. My progressive ex-friend assured me any talk of secondary impacts of the lockdowns was just Republican talking points, and if they happened all Trump’s fault for not locking the entire country down.

      1. Maybe Trump should troll them into doing what he wants by trying to lock the entire country down. They’d be sprinting to the finish line on who could open up first that you’d think COVID was the common cold.

        It’s bizarre watching people constantly beg Trump to do the things they seem the most concerned about him doing. It’s like they want him to be a dictator, even while they claim to fear that he is a dictator.

        I guess when your default mode is beg from authorities you’re bound to end up in some weird places.

  8. Bail reform isn’t enough. America needs more violence on it’s streets and more victims of rape, murder, arson, armed robbery, etc. Our quotas for such crimes are way down and more and more people are not working in the violent crime industry (good help is so hard to find these days) which only not only hurts the crime syndicates bottom line, but it also seriously damages the growing prison industry.
    Therefore, it would be prudent for America if all violent convicts languishing in America’s prison should be released immediately.
    This way, America will show the world how forgiving, humane and sensible it is, and who knows?
    Maybe other countries will follow suit and release their violent offenders back into society…except of course those animals in the gulags of North Korea and Cuba.
    These counter-revolutionaries deserve all the pain and punishment for thinking and speaking their minds as well as setting the example for others to avoid if they are to live an Stalinist utopia.

    1. If we don’t have enough willing to do the job, maybe we need to grant more temporary work visas so immigrants can take up the slack (not saying immigrants are criminals ridiculing Shikha’s arguments).

  9. Among the 275 people released from Rikers to attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19, only nine were subsequently linked to shootings, and of those, three were witnesses and three were victims.

    That would be compelling except that there is more crime out there than just shootings. And how many of the shootings that have occurred have been solved? My guess is half or less. So, there is no way to say how many crimes these people have been responsible for since we don’t know anything about the crimes that haven’t been solved.

    Beyond that, if the best defense you can offer for your policy is that the people you released “only murdered 9 people”, you don’t have much of a defense. Let’s say this statistic is the entire truth. That means that bail reform results in 3% of those who are released committing murder. Only reason could be dense enough to see that as a “good news story”.

    1. That would be compelling except that there is more crime out there than just shootings.

      It wouldn’t be compelling, actually. “Only” 9 people shot by rampaging savages for the sake of libertarians’ social experiment is not acceptable. Period. Full stop. No debate. No fucking question.

      1. Well yeah. I mean that rhetorically. The article is absurd.

      2. > savages

        Dehumanizing rhetoric like this robs the people you hate of agency and also kinda makes you look like a 19th century racist.

      3. I don’t think it’s that clear. You let anyone out of jail, there is some chance they will commit some crime. So should we just eliminate bail? So if you get arrested and charged, you just stay locked up just in case?
        If the people who later shot someone had been caught in some violent act, then I could agree that it’s reasonable to keep them locked up. But people awaiting trial are presumed innocent. There should be some pretty compelling reason to keep them locked up.

    2. While I agree that’s a somewhat absurd argument, there are better arguments to be made such as not applying guilt by association to everyone released. The fact is most of the individuals released did not commit any other crimes, violent or otherwise. Holding them accountable for the actions of the minority is a bit absurd as well.

      Regardless, bail reform can be a good thing but decriminalization would be far better. People need to connect things like Eric Garner to regulation instead of police violence. The police violence is just the enforcement of the regulation, and without connecting those two things we can’t get anywhere. And expecting non-violent enforcement against people who won’t comply with the law is simply beyond the pale. Without the implicit violence, laws become suggestions and no side is ok with that. They just disagree on what crimes need the most violence.

      1. Unless you can magically know who will and will not murder, the cost of this is people being murdered. There is no way around that and life I’d more important than temporary freedom

        1. Obviously I’m assuming those released were jailed for non-violent crime, and if that’s not the case it doesn’t apply.

          1. One of the posters here, Gerade something or other, went through the very lengthy list of crimes NYC was calling ‘non-violent’ for purposes of not requiring bail. It had things like assault, theft, arson, and the like. It was really eye opening.

            Half or more of the writers here are more full of shit than a Christmas turkey when it comes to discussing criminal justice issues. I still can’t figure out why bail reform and decriminalization of malum in se laws such as theft, are such big priorities for their staff to write about and advocate for.

        2. And the cost of keeping more people locked up is keeping more innocent people locked up. Not a simple either/or proposition.

  10. “Everybody has their own theories about why gun violence is increasing, not just in New York City, but in other major urban centers like Chicago and Minneapolis. Shootings often go up in the summer, and homicides do tend to increase during periods of political and social unrest. The summer of 2020 hits all three marks.”

    This is extremely obvious, and as we see the unemployment rate continue to fall, the economy improve, and the lock-downs loosen up, we should see crime level off.

    You know what else is obvious?

    “Among the 275 people released from Rikers to attempt to reduce the spread of COVID-19, only nine were subsequently linked to shootings, and of those, three were witnesses and three were victims.”

    That statistic isn’t particularly meaningful in regards to the general level of crime or what the early release of prisoners contributes to it.

    The State of New York has a recidivism rate of 43%.

    I suspect recidivism rates are higher for less serious crimes and lower for more serious crimes–convicted murderers may not commit murder a second time as often as armed robbers rob liquor stores and gas stations after being released. That doesn’t mean convicted murderers don’t commit property crimes or other violent crimes that don’t result in a murder conviction–with an average somewhere close to 43%

    If New York’s recidivism rate is 43%, then 118 of those 275 people are likely to reoffend–maybe less if they’re older, maybe more if they’re younger.

    The primary legitimate purpose of local government is to protect our rights from criminals, and if they had to release 275 legitimately convicted criminals to comply with the Constitution, then as far as I’m concerned, that’s unfortunate–certainly not something that should make anyone celebrate.

    I support letting rapists and murders walk free if the police bungle an investigation by neglecting to obtain a proper warrant or obtaining a sincere confession after the suspect asked for an attorney and before the suspect’s counsel showed up–but there’s no reason to celebrate when something unfortunate like that happens.

    People willingly forfeit their liberty when they willingly choose to violate someone’s rights. That’s why mens rea is so important to libertarian jurisprudence. To whatever extent they were forced to free criminals who were duly convicted and likely to reoffend, that’s a shame. Even if I support doing so for constitutional reasons–because putting people in a situation where they’re almost certain to be infected with COVID-19 is cruel and unusual punishment–it’s still a shame.

  11. New York City is seeing a spike in shootings and homicides, and New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea blames bail reforms and COVID-19-related releases of inmates for the increase.

    Gee, I wonder what else might be going to explain that. Hmm… it’s a total mystery.

    1. It is just “bad luck”.

  12. its all statistics until the gun is pointed at you.

    1. Come one Ron, only 3% of these people will ever murder anyone. Who could have a problem with that?

      1. only 1% die from covid-19 where is the equal treatment. Lock down the state till there is no more crime.

    2. its all statistics until the gun is pointed at you.

      Then it becomes odds.

    3. I would literally laugh my goddamn ass off if Shackford got fag dragged by some chimping out homophobic BLM activist while he’s cruising for underage ass in NYC.

  13. It is all Trump’s fault

  14. Couldn’t happen to a nicer bunch of people. I suspect once they dump that asshole mayor and get a real one the nightsticks will be cracking heads again. The BLM bowel movement will run its course and like all good marxists find a way to fuck themselves out of popularity.

    1. Everyone supports BLM until they hear what BLM actually wants, then they just kind of nod along and tune out for some reason. I guess it’s wise not to poke crazy with a stick.

      Good luck getting those reparations BLM. It will never happen in a million years, but if it does you can bet it’ll be invented money that’ll be just about worthless.

  15. Yeah, the guy that punched the 82yo lady walking down the sidewalk, who had been arrested over 100 times, and was awaiting trial this month, had nothing to do with Bail Reform

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