The New York City Police Department (NYPD) is preparing for a crime surge in the aftermath of the Chinese coronavirus crisis as city officials have freed nearly 1,700 inmates from prison.
In interviews with the Wall Street Journal, law enforcement officials said a surge in crime may be on its way to New York City as Gov. Andrew Cuomo (D) considers reopening plans and the New York Board of Corrections continues freeing hundreds of inmates from prison.
The Journal reported:
The department’s commissioner, Dermot Shea, said in an interview that crime could rise in part because of the mass release of inmates from city jails to stem the spread of the disease among incarcerated populations and jail staffers. More than 1,600 people were released from city jails during the coronavirus pandemic, according to city Board of Correction records. [Emphasis added]
NYPD Chief of Crime Control Strategies Michael LiPetri said he is wary of an uptick in certain crimes, including violent acts, as residents return to public spaces. Thefts of personal belongings may increase as well, Mr. LiPetri said. [Emphasis added]
[Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams], a former NYPD captain, predicted an increase in crimes such as domestic violence because there will be few public places of leisure open. [Emphasis added]
Since March 16, when Cuomo first requested that the Board of Corrections free inmates considered “non-violent” offenders, about 1,657 inmates have been released into New York City over fears that the coronavirus will spread in prison, according to state records.
In the first two weeks of New York’s stay-at-home orders, the Board of Corrections freed 925 inmates into New York City — meaning that city officials released about 462 inmates each week in the early days of the stay-at-home orders.
Before the stay-at-home orders, about 5,557 inmates were in the custody of the Board of Corrections. Today, that number has been cut to just 3,900 inmates. This indicates a nearly 30 percent reduction in the New York City prison population in less than two months.
At the beginning of the year, Cuomo implemented bail reform laws that eliminated bail for suspects accused of second-degree manslaughter, aggravated vehicular assault, third-degree assault, promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child, criminally negligent homicide, aggravated vehicular homicide, and about 100 other crimes.
In March, NYPD officials said that in the first 58 days of the year, close to 500 suspects who would have been kept locked up in jail if not for the new bail reform laws had been rearrested for committing an additional 846 crimes. Nearly 300 of these crimes included murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny, and grand larceny auto.
Over the last month, even with strict stay-at-home orders, murders are up 36 percent in New York City compared to last year. The city has also seen a 37 percent increase in burglaries and a 56 percent increase in grand larceny auto.
In the last week, alone, New York City has seen a 110 percent increase in the number of shooting victims and a 90 percent increase in the number of shooting incidents compared to the same time last year.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.