Newsday — Murder, Auto Theft Increased Statewide as Pandemic Played a Role


By Michael Gormley
June 16, 2021

ALBANY – The number of murders statewide increased 48.7% last year compared with 2019 and auto thefts rose 53.6%, according to annual statistics released Wednesday.

Overall crime, including violent and property crimes, rose 1.2% statewide in 2020, while violent crimes alone rose 0.7%, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services report.

… Police unions and Republican officials have blamed the rise in violent crime in recent months on the 2020 bail law adopted by the State Legislature. That law ended cash bail for most defendants, although judges still have some discretion in holding suspects determined to be most dangerous.

Assemb. Mike Reilly (R-Staten Island), a former New York City police officer, said Democratic policies, including the bail law, have “created what has essentially become a revolving door for criminals to commit crimes repeatedly with no repercussions.”

But others challenge that argument. “It’s absurd to suggest that a change in New York bail practices somehow led to the shooting surge we’ve seen in cities across the country, not only New York City,” said Jeffrey Butts, research professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. “I doubt the officials posing this explanation even believe it. It’s just an opportunity to score political points against a law they would oppose whether it was effective or not.”

[ read the article at Newsday ]

Nassau County crime scene investigators probe shell casings near scene of shooting at Luigi’s Italian Deli at 95 Unqua Rd. in East Massapequa that occurred on March 6. Credit: James Carbone