Feb. 7, 2020 By Allie Griffin
Two Queens Council Members have accused the NYPD Police Commissioner of creating a “false narrative” by attributing an uptick in crime to the new bail reform laws.
Council Members Donovan Richards and Rory Lancman penned a letter to Commissioner Dermot Shea yesterday asking him to publicly withdraw his comments, adding that the NYPD’s own statistics don’t support his claims.
“Simply put, your numbers don’t add up, and the public and policymakers are ill-served by false narratives that inhibit legitimate conversations about improving the bail reform law,” they wrote.
The letter comes two days after Shea attributed a nearly 17 percent increase in major crimes across the city last month to new bail reform laws that went into effect Jan. 1.
The laws ended pretrial detention and cash bail for most misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies, requiring judges to automatically release people charged with such crimes as they await trial.
Critics of the reforms, including Shea, say that some of the people being released are committing additional offences while awaiting trial — leading to a spike in crime.
However, Richards and Lancman believe that Shea’s logic is flawed and that statistics don’t back up his claims.
“Crime data figures released by the NYPD itself demonstrate no such correlation, and we’re wondering whether there is any other, unpublished data you relied upon to conclude that crime is increasing because of the bail reform law,” they wrote to Shea.
The council members gave a break down of the uptick in crime and determined that bail reform had little effect.
They cited NYPD data, which noted that there were 1,222 more major “index crimes” — such as robberies, burglaries and grand larceny auto — in January 2020 than in January 2019.
The council members, citing NYPD data reported by POLITICO, noted that 84 of those crimes were carried out by people automatically released without the need to post bail.
The 84 major crimes account for only 1 percent of major index crimes, they said. Furthermore, some of the alleged perpetrators would have been able to post cash bail under the previous laws in any case.
Even without those re-offenders, major index crimes would have increased by 15.7 percent last month from a year prior, they said.
“Clearly, something other than bail reform caused our January crime numbers to spike,” they wrote.
.@DRichards13 and I ask @NYPDShea to back up claim that bail reform is driving January's crime spike or stop poisoning conversation on criminal justice reform. Numbers just don't add up. Looking forward to questioning commish @NYCCouncil Public Safety budget hearing in March. pic.twitter.com/aa01GMCZfQ
— (((Rory Lancman))) (@RoryLancman) February 6, 2020