Mayor, New York City's police commissioner call for changes to stop recidivism

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Thursday, August 4, 2022 3:24AM
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Mayor Eric Adams and the NYPD are calling for changes to bail reform law to stop recidivism and career criminals. Jim Dolan has the story.

NEW YORK (WABC) -- Officials are calling for changes to be made to stop recidivism, erase the perception among criminals that there are no meaningful consequences for crime and restore the government's focus on the victims.

They released new statistics that show a small group of career criminals are apparently behind hundreds of crimes across NYC. Many of them were arrested and then released back onto the streets after the state passed its bail reform law.

Mayor Eric Adams and Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell say 10 criminals have been arrested a combined 485 times since bail reform went into effect back in 2020.

NYC's mayor and police commissioner want the state to reform a specific aspect of bail reform, and that's the part that doesn't allow judges to consider whether someone is a threat to public safety.

If they could do that, they could consider whether that person is committing the same crimes over and over again. The mayor and police commissioner say because a few people are doing that, the system is failing to protect their past and future victims.

"New York remains the only state that prevents judges from considering the threat to public safety when making custody determinations," Sewell said. "That doesn't serve the next innocent victim, it doesn't serve our officers and it doesn't serve our quality of life."

The NYPD is comparing non-bail-eligible crimes like burglary, grand larceny, car theft and petit larceny in 2017 versus the last year and pointing out sharp increases in instances of those crimes being committed by the same people: recidivists.

And without naming names, they pointed to the arrest records of what they called the 10 worst of the worst recidivists -- arrested a combined 485 times in the last couple of years, and let go again and again.

While the Legal Aid Society is warning the city about scapegoating bail reforms, the mayor pushed back, saying some reforms do need what he called alterations where they're not working as intended.

"As soon as we mention those alterations, people believe we are attacking the true reform that was needed," Adams said. "And that is not what we're doing. We have a relatively small group of people who are recidivists, and they are exploiting these reforms every day."

The NYPD Crime Control Strategies chief says while it's important to have credible messengers encouraging violent crews to stop the violence...

"The credible messenger today in New York City is the crew member that was arrested with a gun yesterday that's out today that's telling that crew, 'well look at me,'" Chief Michael LiPetri said.

The department says more than 80% of those arrested on gun crimes in the last year are not in custody.

A spokesperson for New York's court system released a statement saying in part, what the mayor wants judges to do would require a change in state law.

Eyewitness News asked the mayor what does actually work to stop recidivism and he listed a number of educational strategies, but he said there still needs to be consequences that fit the crimes.

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