October 25, 2022

New York and Crime

“After a series of violent deaths on the subway raised concerns about safety in New York City, Gov. Kathy Hochul and Mayor Eric Adams on Saturday announced a plan to increase the presence of police officers in the transit system… Ms. Hochul, for her part, is facing a stronger-than-expected challenge from Representative Lee Zeldin, the Republican candidate for governor, as she runs for her first full term. Two recent polls showed Ms. Hochul’s lead over Mr. Zeldin shrinking.” New York Times

In a recent national poll, 68 percent of voters said crime was a “very important” issue. The Hill

See past issues

From the Left

The left argues that criminal-justice reforms are not causing the increase in crime, and criticizes Zeldin.

“[During the Oklahoma gubernatorial debate Democratic candidate Joy Hofmeister] addressed Kevin Stitt, the Republican incumbent… ‘The fact is the rates of violent crime in Oklahoma are higher under your watch than New York and California,’ she declared. Stitt responded by laughing, and turned to the audience: ‘Oklahomans, do you believe we have higher crime than New York or California?’…

“But Hofmeister was completely correct. In fact, when it comes to homicide, the most reliably measured form of violent crime, it isn’t even close: In 2020 Oklahoma’s murder rate was almost 50 percent higher than California’s, almost double New York’s, and this ranking probably hasn’t changed…

“Americans aren’t wrong to be concerned about crime… [But] the perception that it was all about big cities run by Democrats is false. This was a purple crime wave, with murder rates rising at roughly the same rate in Trump-voting red states and Biden-voting blue states. Homicides rose sharply in both urban and rural areas. And if we look at levels rather than rates of change, both homicides and violent crime as a whole are generally higher in red states.”

Paul Krugman, New York Times

“In response to [data showing higher violent crime rates in red states], Republicans often blame blue cities in those red states. So let’s just look at Oklahoma. There were 4,326 violent crimes in Oklahoma City in 2021, according to city data. In a population of 688,000, that’s a rate of 666 violent crimes per 100,000 residents. That’s far higher than the rate in New York City. Oklahoma City is also the largest U.S. city to vote for Donald Trump in 2020. Its mayor is a Republican, as is the state’s governor, Stitt… On Stitt’s watch — in 2020, that is — Oklahoma had a higher violent crime rate than those two large blue states.”

Philip Bump, Washington Post

“Check out Jacksonville, Florida. It has a Republican mayor – and a murder rate almost twice the rate of Democrat-run New York City. Kevin McCarthy’s hometown of Bakersfield, California also has a Republican mayor. Its murder rate is much higher than Nancy Pelosi’s beloved San Francisco…

“In my many years in politics, I have never seen a more destructive slogan than ‘defund the police.’ In fairness to my beloved Democrats, only a tiny slice of the activist left supports defunding. This election season, I can’t find any Democrats – actual Democratic candidates – running on that nonsense. The overwhelming majority of Americans – including most Black Americans and most Democrats – oppose defunding police. Still, the political damage from that slogan has been real… The facts on crime are on Democrats’ side. Democrats now have to move from defense to offense on the issue.”

Paul Begala, CNN

“Mr. Zeldin speaks passionately about the fears that New Yorkers have about crime, but his ideas don’t stand up to scrutiny — they won’t improve safety and they amount to an undemocratic power play, such as his plan to declare an emergency for crime. He told the Times editorial board this week that he would remove from office the elected district attorney of Manhattan, Alvin Bragg, who has continued the work of criminal justice reform that the state and city have pursued… A governor who would consider removing an elected official over a policy disagreement is nullifying the will of the people of New York.”

Editorial Board, New York Times

“[Republican] attacks assume that the changes in criminal-justice policies that some states and many cities have pursued over the past few years are undermining public safety and fueling higher crime rates. But an exhaustive new study released today by the Center for American Progress refutes that allegation. Conducted by a team of seven academic researchers, the study compares cities that have elected so-called progressive prosecutors with places whose district attorneys continue to pursue more traditional approaches…

“The study found that homicides over recent years increased less rapidly in cities with progressive prosecutors than in those with more traditional district attorneys. It also found no meaningful differences between cities with progressive or traditional DAs in the trends for larceny and robbery… The political problem for progressive prosecutors is that there’s no clear alternative explanation for rising crime. And so long as that’s true, the authors write, criminal-justice reforms will remain a tempting target.”

Ronald Brownstein, The Atlantic

From the Right

The right criticizes Hochul, and argues that Democrats are to blame for the increase in crime.

The right criticizes Hochul, and argues that Democrats are to blame for the increase in crime.

“New York has a state budget that’s twice as big as Florida’s, despite a smaller population. Yet it’s failing its most basic duty, to protect citizens from a Hobbesian state of nature. ‘This isn’t brain surgery,’ Ray Kelly, the former longtime commissioner of the New York Police Department [from 2002 until 2013], told a radio host recently. ‘You go back and look at the things we were doing then and you re-implement them.’ The state’s 2019 bail ‘reform’ is a particular point of contention…

“A disturbed man this summer who broke a subway worker’s collarbone had 41 prior arrests, including after he randomly punched an Asian woman in the face last year. A woman with a history of brandishing blades finally earned a $500,000 bail last month that will presumably take her off the streets. All she needed to do was attack an 82-year-old man with a machete and fracture his skull. Some of these people probably belong in mental institutions, not prisons, but either way the system doesn’t work.”

Editorial Board, Wall Street Journal

“In black communities, collective efficacy had increased in recent decades due to law-enforcement policies aimed at signaling and enforcing good behavior, which fundamentally builds community-wide trust. Proactive policing made it clear that, if necessary, bad actors would be removed from neighborhoods through arrest, prosecution, and incarceration. As a result, more black Americans lived on streets that felt wealthier and free of signs of disorder like drug dealing and prostitution…

“Following a host of criminal-justice reforms that shrunk policing capabilities and constricted consistent and effective prosecution, however, black communities’ social capital has broken down, with blacks bearing the brunt of rising violence. Since 2019, shootings in New York more than doubled and murders have risen by 30 percent. And though only one-fifth of city residents are black, they account for more than 72 percent of shooting victims and 67 percent of murder victims.”

Hannah E. Meyers, City Journal

“On Saturday, Hochul finally came out with a plan to fight crime on the subway. Along with New York City mayor Eric Adams, she announced the ‘Cops, Cameras and Care’ initiative. To be clear, Hochul has been governor of New York for well over a year, and in that time subway crime has been atop the list of concerns regularly expressed by New Yorkers, but she refused to act…

“To anyone even vaguely paying attention, it is absolutely clear that what is motivating Hochul is not a desire to fight crime — she could have already been doing that — but the very real prospect that she is going to lose

“Zeldin, of course, had a field day with the announcement, quipping, ‘Why is Kathy Hochul waiting until the day after the first poll that says we’re in the lead — and two and a half weeks before the election — before she’s doing this?’ The reason the point is so poignant is that Hochul has very obviously downplayed the crime issue for months now. She still supports bail reform that lets criminals roam the streets, as well as the ultra-liberal and soft-on-crime Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg, whom Zeldin has promised to fire on day one.”

David Marcus, Spectator World

“Third Way does not provide city-by-city data for 2020 in its report, perhaps because this would undermine its red state murder narrative…

“But the Manhattan Institute’s Rafael Mangual gathered data on the 2020 murder rates in the 50 largest U.S. cities — 34 of which had Democratic mayors, while 14 were led by Republicans (two were led by independents). ‘The homicide rate in the blue cities was 15.8 per 100,000, compared to 9.4 per 100,000 in the red cities,’ he found…

“And in a May report, his Manhattan Institute colleagues Robert VerBruggen and Christos Makridis examined the growth in the homicide rate per capita in the largest U.S. counties between 2019 and 2020 — and then compared the rates in GOP-leaning and Democratic-leaning counties. They found that ‘counties with higher shares of GOP voters have a much lower homicide death rate and a lower number of deaths in 2020’ and ‘also a lower growth in homicide rates.’…

“To argue, as Third Way does, that ‘murder rates are actually higher in Republican, Trump-voting states’ — without pointing out that those rates are driven by the slaughter taking place in Democratic-voting blue cities — is intentionally misleading.”

Marc A. Thiessen, Washington Post

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