The NYPD, with the help of Mayor de Blasio, is continuing its disinformation campaign against the reforms enacted in New York State. Commissioner Shea once again stated that bail reform is to blame for the NYPD’s claimed rise in certain crimes, and the Mayor has denounced public defender organizations that have questioned the veracity of the NYPD’s data. These falsehoods epitomize negative fearmongering.
Public defender organizations have released a joint statement demonstrating that the NYPD’s crime statistics simply do not match the number or types of cases being prosecuted. The police, who alone control arrests, arrest charges, and reporting, may charge a person with a certain crime but then a prosecutor may downgrade or even decline to prosecute because the charges cannot be substantiated by the allegations. However, the original arrest charges are still reported as part of the NYPD’s data.
Despite the statistical backing of the public defenders’ statement and the NYPD’s demonstrated history of crime data manipulation, Mayor de Blasio told WNYC’s Brian Lehrer that “public defenders should be ashamed of themselves” for questioning the NYPD’s claims.
Statistics have simply not borne out the doomsday predictions that pro-police groups have been making about the implementation of discovery and bail reforms. What has in fact happened is that prosecutors and police are being asked to share evidence the way other states have long required, while people without financial means are experiencing the same rights extended to the wealthy pre-trial. Reform is working, and the real shame here is that the Mayor, the police, and prosecutors want to roll it back.