The NYPD is the nation’s largest police department. They’ve got an intelligence branch that supposedly rivals the CIA. It’s really one of the top law enforcement agencies in the nation.
Yet, despite all this, violence is getting out of hand in the Big Apple. While the police are doing what they can, their hands have been tied by a number of factors.
For many, the problem is clearly that there are too many guns in the city. This despite the fact that it’s the most gun-controlled city in the nation.
However, it seems the NYPD has thoughts on the subject.
New York City is experiencing a violent crime surge that’s evolved into a gun violence crisis. Gov. Andrew Cuomo recently announced the declaration of a disaster emergency on gun violence, making New York the first state in the nation to do so.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot F. Shea says the spike in gun violence didn’t come out of nowhere.
Not long ago, New York celebrated historic crime lows, but the conversation has shifted—even intensifying in recent months, weeks, and days. When it comes to the genesis of the growing gun crisis, Shea asks, “What’s changed?”
He said the problem started with recent bail reforms that went into effect in the first half of 2020, and that’s it’s not on his rank and file officers. “Let’s have that discussion about why can’t we keep individuals carrying guns [in jail] and give the judge the right to remand those individuals. You’ll see shootings plummet, you’ll see them plummet almost overnight—when people understand that there’s a consequence for carrying a gun. Let’s start there.”
In other words, bail reform is the problem.
Honestly, it makes sense. After all, you used to be able to keep a suspect locked up for a time until he could make bail, thus keeping him off the streets.
Now, they pretty much throw them out the revolving door and back out on the streets.
Yeah, I get the motivations behind bail reform. People are considered innocent until proven guilty and bail requirements are especially tough on poorer suspects. Those would also be the people most likely to be arrested in the first place. So, these people are apparently kept in jail without conviction simply because they can’t afford to get out.
I get why people wanted to address that.
However, since that happened, we’ve watched violent crime spike to levels we haven’t seen in ages. And this kind of reform happened all across the nation and guess what? All those cities are having the exact same issue.
But the question is, is the NYPD right? Is bail reform responsible for the surge in violent crime? Maybe. But we also need to recognize that violent crime is up almost everywhere, and not every place it’s up had some version of bail reform.
Further, bail reform came months before the surge in violent crime that corresponded with the George Floyd riots.
So, I’m not sure I can say definitively that bail reform is the problem. What I can say, though, is that it sure as hell didn’t help when the problem sprung up. Plus, it may well end up being the problem in the long run.
Luckily, we can trust New York City to do something about it, right? Maybe, but I wouldn’t hold my breath.
Besides, even if they do, what good does that do for the rest of the nation? It seems violence is an issue just about everywhere, so folks listening to the NYPD on why the city is having problems doesn’t mean it’ll make any impact beyond New York City.
That still leaves a lot of questions.