BRONX, New York (WABC) -- Small-business owners gathered in the Bronx Wednesday to call on state lawmakers to take action to tackle violent crime.
The rally comes days after a bodega worker was shot and killed on the Upper East Side.
Police have linked the accused gunman to four robberies in Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx.
"How many small businesses don't want to do business in New York? It's because of this! It's because of the way we treat repeat offenders," United Bodega of America spokesman Fernando Mateo said. "I commend our legislators in Albany for making sure social Justice is happening but we need to tweak it."
The plea from bodega owners also came just a day after Gov. Kathy Hochulspoke on bail reform, pushing to change a standard that requires criminal defendants get the least restrictive conditions ahead of trial.
"It became an absurd standard that that's all you could look at. You can't look at whether or not they're going to go out and hurt someone again," Hochul said.
But criminal justice reform advocates say it's unfair to blame any and all crime on bail reform law.
"We're just releasing folks and not bolstering the kinds of support and services people need to remain stable in the community that's where we need to improve bail reform," Greater Justice New York program director Jullian Harris-Calvin said.
This week, Mayor Eric Adams directed shop owners to have customers remove any face masks in the meantime, to help police catch criminals. Bodega owners don't have much confidence they'll feel safe anytime soon.
"Not safe at all. Even the police, when you call them they take time to come in. Even the last time I called them - we had. Look, like I lost my teeth," Ahmed Sahli said.
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