“This is about all of us together: Republicans, Democrats, Independents as New Yorkers to make sure our streets are safe again to make sure our subways are safe again.”
That was New York Republican gubernatorial nominee U.S. Rep. Lee Zeldin in his Oct. 25 debate against incumbent Democratic Gov. Kathie Hochul, raising crime as an issue in the governor’s race with election day on Nov. 8 fast approaching and promising to “take back our streets and to support unapologetically our men and women in law enforcement.”
Zeldin’s crimefighting campaign against Hochul comes amid a 3.7 increase in violent crimes in the state since 2018 reported via the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting (UCR) Program, as violent crimes increased from 350.8 per 100,000 to 363.8 in 2020.
Zeldin also blasted New York State’s cashless bail reforms, enacted in 2020, calling for it to be overhauled. And with good reason, as the state and city governments were unleashing a crime wave upon their own people.
According to a Times Union analysis of New York crime data, from July 2020 to June 2021, about 4 percent, or almost 3,500 of those 98,145 released under the law went on to commit violent crimes: “there were 3,460 cases in which adults were rearrested on violent felony charges, including 773 with a firearm.”
These included “cases in which adults were released after being charged with offenses for which judges previously could have set bail or ordered them held in custody.”
Even before the law’s implementation in 2020, New York state judges were letting criminals go in 2019, with 25,000 estimated to have been released beforehand according to PIX 11.
It’s only been two years since the law has gone into effect, and Zeldin warned that things would only get worse if the state continued on its path, declaring, “we can continue with the status quo where they believe they haven’t passed enough pro-criminal laws or we could take control of our destiny and make sure law-abiding New Yorkers are in charge of our streets again.”
That’s not much of a choice, but restoring law and order might be one of the issues on New Yorkers’ minds when they go to vote in November.
The question is whether Zeldin can get enough votes from across party lines, in a state long dominated by one-party rule as Democrats possess about a 1 to 1 registered voter advantage against independents and Republicans combined, according to the New York State Board of Elections. To prevail, Zeldin would have to garner the vote of almost every single Republican and independent, and a lot of Democrats on top of that.
Or, New Yorkers might just vote for Hochul again, and they’ll just have to wait and see what the crime numbers are like in another four years as criminals keep getting set free, if nothing else, serving as a cautionary note for other states.
Robert Romano is the Vice President of Public Policy at Americans for Limited Government.
Cross-posted with The Daily Torch
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