A day after police officials revealed a 17% increase in crime for January, the NYPD disclosed that last month 143 people have committed 230 crimes after being released on previous offenses while they await trial.
Commissioner Dermot Shea has been outspoken on bail reform, indicating that the state legislature has gone too far and judges have no recourse to make their own decisions on whether hold dangerous felons in jail. Current jail reform instead allows many felons to be released without bail because advocates say affordability of bail should not be a factor in deciding to hold a person.
“I stand by my comments on bail reform, and while I favored reforms, there has been a dramatic increase in crime by people who are being let out of Rikers Island – and we will deal with that,” Shea said in a press conference in Harlem yesterday, while sitting next to Mayor Bill de Blasio. The mayor said he is working with the legislature to make changes to the bail reform laws.
Of the 143 people re-arrested, most of those were for crimes that had previously committed, including grand larceny auto, robbery in the third degree and burglary in the second degree.
Five of the 143 people already have five or more re-arrests and 58 of them have a previous felony conviction. Thirty-one of the 58 have more than one previous felony conviction.
The re-arrests include 44 petit larcenies; 36 burglaries; 32 arrested with ‘dangerous drugs’; 19 were arrested for robbery; 19 arrested for grand larceny; 12 arrested for criminal mischief; 12 for felony assaults; 13 for miscellaneous penal law violations and 43 were hit with other violations.
Mayor de Blasio said he does see a correlation of increase in crime due to bail reform, but he said they are working closely with advocates in Albany to tighten the law so that people who present a danger to the public will remain behind bars. However, de Blasio admitted that there needs to be changes to the bail reform laws and he said they are “in dialog with advocates and legislators on changes.”
Both the mayor and commissioner said they were in both at first in favor of bail reform, but they differ implementation and the mayor maintains that a person’s ability to pay should not be a consideration for bail.
“We have raised concerns about the current bail reform and we are now having a dialog in Albany about any changes, but our police officers can handle anything that is thrown at them,” de Blasio said.
Officials released statistics showing that most major crimes including robbery, gun assaults, and grand larcenies were on the rise, while homicides, rapes and hate crimes had dropped.