NEW YORK, NY – Former NYPD Captain and current NYC mayor Eric Adams just said the quiet part out loud.
Only seven months into 2022, and the number of gun-related arrests in the nation’s largest city have already hit nearly 2400.
But that number, while alarming, is not the actual issue.
The number that should be angering everyone is 1,921.
“When it comes to guns, this year, 2,386 people were arrested with a gun. Of those, approximately 1,921 are out on the street,” Adams said. “Arrested with a gun. Out on the street. Gun arrests in custody: 19.5. Out of custody: over 80%.”
One could wonder if he was perplexed by those numbers or bragging about them.
Mayor Adams went on to ask:
“How do you take a gun law seriously when the overwhelming numbers are back on the streets after carrying a gun?”
Adams’ comments came during a news conference on bail reform and recidivism.
“If…officers arrest someone for a violent act on Monday, and they are out on Tuesday, it is like an endless flow. Our criminal justice system is insane,” he said. “It is dangerous, it is harmful and it’s destroying the fabric of our city.”
Without saying any names, the mayor was taking shots at the city’s chief prosecutor, Alvin Bragg, who seems to have taken the doors off jails in the city and given every violent offender a stack of “get out of jail free” cards.
“Time and time again, our police officers make an arrest, and then the person who is arrested for assault, felonious assaults, robberies and gun possessions, they’re finding themselves back on the street within days, if not hours, after the arrest,” Adams continued.
“And they go on to commit more crimes within weeks, if not days.”
Amidst the mayor’s pleas to roll back the bail reform statutes, politicians in both the city and across the state are balking at his claims.
The surge in violent crime and the increase in recidivism is lost on policy makers who espouse a soft-on-crime and criminals first mentality.
According to the New York Post, Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins opposes everything Adams has called for regarding bail reform. Her office issued a statement saying, in part:
“Everything the Mayor cited is something that we have addressed, especially his concerns regarding repeat offenders and gun offenses.”
The statement did not say how they had addressed these issues.
The mind-boggling opposition he is facing hasn’t stopped Adams from continuing to highlight current statistics in the city.
Of the individuals whom were charged with a gun crime, 165 of them were arrested after being released on a second, separate gun charge. Of those 165, eighty-two of them are back on the street. With two open cases pending for gun-related offenses, they are back on the street.
Speaking to the overall impact of recidivism under the current system of policies, Michael Lipetri, NYPD Chief of Crime Control Strategies, pointed to one individual to exemplify the problem that lawmakers like Stewart-Cousins and DAs like Bragg have created.
Lipetri referenced Harold Gooding.
“He’s hit one location 20 times. The same location, 20 times. And again, we’re talking about arrests here. We’ve arrested that individual 100 times. How many crimes do you think he really committed? Two hundred? Three hundred? A thousand? And guess what? He’s walking around the streets of New York City today, probably committing another crime as we speak.”
As all of this is going on, the finger-pointing and blame-shifting continues to worsen.
New York Governor Kathy Hochul blames activist judges for exercising too much discretion in deciding who to release and why. Judges blame the politicians for giving them the ability to exercise so much discretion. Police blame the politicians and the judges.
“Judges have received extensive training on the bail reform legislation, including all of its amendments,” Hochul spokesman Lucian Chalfen said.
But the robed individuals on the bench throw it right back at her and other elected policy makers.
Per the Post:
“A city judge called Hochul ‘disingenuous,’ telling The Post that crimes once eligible for bail no longer are ‘because her former boss passed these changes that she supported.’
‘We’re the one branch of government that does not speak openly in the press so we’re the easiest scapegoats,’ the outraged jurist said.”
The head of the New York State District Attorneys Association, Washington County DA Anthony Jordan, told the Post:
“‘The risks posed to public safety by this law will remain’ until Hochul and the state legislature give judges the ability to consider the danger posed by releasing defendants when weighing bail.
Denying judges the ability to make bail decisions using the very discretion they are expected to exercise in every other task of their job has likewise resulted in the release of too many defendants returning to the communities and victims they have been tormenting.”
Even Lee Zeldin, a Republican running to replace Hochul in Albany weighed in on the argument.
“Instead of giving New York judges the ability to do their jobs, to weigh dangerousness, flight risk and, yes, the ability to afford bail, Kathy Hochul is spitting in the face of our judicial system in an effort to appease her far-left base.
Hochul’s pandering to pro-criminal supporters is resulting in the handcuffs getting slapped on our judges and law enforcement, rather than getting tough on criminals.”
Hazel Crampton-Hays, another of the governor’s spokespersons, issued a statement concerning this argument.
“Judges have and use their broad discretion under the law every day. This is clear from the data that the courts themselves post, which show that judges outside New York City release people at lower rates for the same types of crimes. This was true before the 2019 law changes, and it is true now.”
There many involved in this argument who point to Crampton-Hays’ statement as disingenuous, given that she did not also clarify that these crimes are also committed outside the city at far lower rates.
The information she provided did not identify this “data” proportionally. She simply said that releases elsewhere in the state happen less frequently.
While technically true, it evades the reality that there are fewer cases in which judges have the opportunity to cut reoccurring offenders loose.
You want to talk “gun control”? Let’s talk “gun violence by repeat firearm offenders” first, shall we?
Firearm offenders are generally younger, have a more extensive criminal history, and are more likely to commit a new crime than other offenders. 93.6 percent had at least one prior conviction. It’s a crime that increased by 45% since FY 2015.
Firearm offenders are more likely than other offenders to engage in violent criminal behavior.
Gun violence fills our news headlines. Data on violent or firearm offenders is hard to come by which makes the research below from the US Sentencing Commission focusing on federal inmates important.
Please note that federal and state correctional systems vary considerably. Federal offenders are principally imprisoned for major drug and immigration offenses. State incarcerations are mostly for violent offenses.
Regardless, in this era of rising violence and fear of crime, the more we know about firearm offenders, the better equipped we are in dealing with them. There are few differences between federal and state firearm offenders; the federal experience is instructive for state justice practitioners.
Most federal firearm offenders have prior convictions for a violent offense-61 percent. Most have long or complex criminal histories. Most will recidivate via new arrests at higher levels than other offenders. Their involvement with stolen or altered or prohibited firearms is considerable.
US Sentencing Commission
Published July 14, 2022.
This report provides in-depth information on federal firearms offenders sentenced under the primary firearms guideline, §2K2.1. The Commission has published reports on various aspects of firearms offenses, including reports on armed career criminals, mandatory minimum penalties, and firearms offenders’ recidivism rates.
The Commission’s prior research shows that firearms offenders are generally younger, have a more extensive criminal history, and are more likely to commit a new crime than other offenders (emphasis added).
The Commission’s previous research also shows that firearms offenders are more likely than other offenders to engage in violent criminal behavior (emphasis added).
Firearms offenses are among the most common crimes prosecuted and sentenced in federal court and a crime type that has increased by 45% since FY 2015.
89% of federal firearms offenders were prohibited from possessing a firearm.
Federal firearms crimes often involved weapons that were stolen (32%) or prohibited (24%), such as a sawed-off shotgun or machine gun.
When firearms are discharged, physical harm resulted in about one-quarter of such cases (18% injury to another, 4% death, 4% injury to self).
Federal firearms offenders have more serious and more extensive criminal histories than other offenders. Firearms offenders are more than twice as likely to have violent prior conviction compared to other offenders (61% vs. 29%).
The average sentence for federal firearms offenders was 42 months, on average, but varied depending on the presence of aggravating factors.
In more than one-quarter of cases, the firearm facilitated, or had the potential to facilitate, another felony offense (most commonly drug trafficking).
In 11.0 percent of cases, an offender or co-participant discharged a firearm. In these cases, death resulted in 4.1 percent of the cases and injury to another person in 18.3 percent of the cases.
Approximately one-third (32.4%) of the offenders prohibited from possessing a firearm committed an offense involving a stolen firearm or firearm with an altered or obliterated serial number.
Nearly one-quarter (23.6%) of the offenders prohibited from possessing a firearm committed an offense involving a prohibited weapon (such as a sawed-off shotgun or machine gun).
Firearms offenders have more extensive criminal histories than other federal offenders. Of the felony offenders sentenced in fiscal year 2021, 93.6 percent had at least one prior conviction.
Firearms offenders differ from the general federal offender population with respect to multiple demographic factors. In fiscal year 2021, a majority of firearms offenders were Black (54.5%) and U.S. citizens (96.1%). Nearly all were male (96.2%). In contrast, a majority of all other federal offenders were Hispanic (56.5%), 60.8 percent were U.S. citizens, and 85.2 percent were male.
While there are endless discussions regarding the efficacy of incarceration, it seems that we have a category of offenders that clearly meets the definition of dangerous. They need to be incarcerated.
Violent firearm offenders are destroying cities and economies with mayors begging for arrests. Unsolved shootings dominate the urban landscape. Only 50 percent of homicides are solved-cleared. If not caught, it’s almost certain they will shoot-murder again.
Per data from the US Sentencing Commission, long prison sentences dramatically reduce future re-offending. The odds of recidivism were approximately 29 percent lower for federal offenders sentenced to more than 120 months of incarceration compared to a matched group of federal offenders receiving shorter sentences.
It seems obvious that the focus of our crime reduction efforts must be violent firearm offenders.
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