Photo Credit: NYC Mayor's Office / YouTube
NYC Mayor Eric Adams and Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell on August 3, 2022

NYC Mayor, NYPD Demand Changes to Bail Reform, Cite Recidivists Freed Under Law

New York City Mayor Eric Adams and Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell expressed frustration Wednesday with the state’s “bail reform” law as they described the top 10 recidivists awaiting trial on multiple charges, not one of them in a jail cell.

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Speaking to reporters at One Police Plaza, the two released new data highlighting the increase in recidivism in New York and charging criminals believe there are no meaningful consequences for crime.

Those on the NYPD’s Top 10 recidivist list have between them a total of 485 arrests since New York State’s bail reform laws took effect, 75 percent of their total 642 arrests, according to NYPD data.

Number one on the list is an offender with 101 career arrests, including 88 that took place since 2020, when bail reform went into effect. Where is he? Out on the streets.

There have been 2,400 shootings in the city since the start of 2022, despite a reduced and demoralized force of NYPD officers having made more arrests this year. Firearms arrests are at a 27-year high, and police have taken more than 4,300 guns off the streets so far this year alone.

More good news: The numbers of murders and shootings are both on the decline through the first seven months of the year, compared to the same period in 2021.

But here’s the bad news: Currently nearly 25 percent of those arrested for burglary go on to commit another felony within 60 days, a sharp increase compared with 2017, when 8 percent of accused burglars were arrested for another felony within 60 days.

Analyses for the offenses of Grand Larceny, Grand Larceny Auto, and Petit Larceny, show nearly identical increases for 2021 compared with 2017. The recidivism rates for those crimes did not improve in calendar 2022.

In addition to other reforms, Adams and Sewell said they believe judges must be allowed to remand defendants at arraignment when they are deemed a risk to public safety based on the severity of their alleged crimes or their history of recidivism.

“Let’s be clear: Nonviolent, first-time offenders deserve a second chance, as the spirit of the state’s 2020 criminal justice reforms envisioned,” Sewell said.

“However, judges should be given the ability to hold career and violent criminals in custody pending trial. We need to maintain the reforms we all agree on – yet at the same time, pull together to keep New Yorkers from being harmed. Our collective focus must be on the victims of crime.”

New York State is the only state in the country where a judge is barred from considering the danger an offender poses when deciding whether or not to set bail.

“The hardworking women and men of the NYPD are doing the work, but the overall system is failing New Yorkers by allowing repeat offenders back out on the streets over and over again,” Adams said.

“Time and time again, our police officers arrest someone who has multiple charges, but no matter how many times this person may have been arrested before, they are often walking free hours later. There is almost no accountability, and that makes us all less safe.

“This is not attacking some of the needed reforms that we have. This is about a small number of people that are taking advantage of the existing laws to endanger out city.

“We are seeing tragedies every day on the streets of this city we love and serve,” said Sewell. “People are suffering, and more and more are unnecessarily becoming victims — victims of repeat offenders who have shown that their criminal behavior is given no consequences.”

Adams and Sewell urged “all forces of government” to “pull together to fix the laws, return our system to pre-pandemic functionality, and continue to make our city and its people safer.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.