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NYPD: Many suspects freed under bail reforms go on to commit major crimes

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Rocco Parascandola and Leonard Greene
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — Mayor de Blasio and the city’s top cop unveiled stats Thursday they say show many suspects freed under new bail reforms are going on to commit major crimes.

During the first two months of the year, 482 people charged with a felony were released without bail only to rearrested for new crimes 846 times, according to officials.

Of those 846 arrests, 299 were for one of the seven major crime categories, nearly triple the 109 times someone was arrested in the first two months of last year for a major crime after being released for an earlier arrest.

“There’s a direct correlation to the change in the law," de Blasio said of the uptick. "We need to address it and we will address it.”

De Blasio and the NYPD have been pushing for changes to the statewide reforms that went into effect Jan. 1 that mandate most suspects accused of non-violent crimes be released without bail.

According to the NYPD, overall major crime in the five boroughs was up 22.5% in February compared to the same month the year before.

While murder is down 20% over that period, the biggest spikes were in grand larceny, burglary and robbery, officials said.

But a coalition of public defenders said crime spikes should be viewed with “great skepticism.”

A statement from the Legal Aid Society, the Bronx Defenders, New York County Defender Services, Brooklyn Defender Services and Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem points out that docketed complaints in the city’s courts were down almost 20% throughout the city in the first two months of 2020 compared to the same period last year.

The groups claim the NYPD is trying to instill fear in the public to rally support for modifications to the reforms.

“They’re wrong," de Blasio said of the accusation the NYPD was inflating numbers. "I just don’t buy it.”

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea also blasted back at the accusations that the NYPD stats were anything less than accurate. He said that prosecutors are deferring or declining prosecution in many cases because of changes to the bail law and that many more suspects are getting desk appearance tickets and so have yet to appear in court. Other crimes never result in an arrest.

“It really makes no sense," Shea said of the legal groups’ analysis. "They lost credibility with people who have any knowledge of the criminal justice system. Clearly, the crimes are occurring. We have victims every day that we’re seeing.”