Nassau County Executive Bruce Blakeman attributed New York’s bail reform laws to the 75% increase in major crime Nassau County saw in the first quarter of 2022 compared to last year during an interview with Blank Slate Media.
Blakeman, who has been outspoken in his displeasure with the bail reform laws since he launched his campaign for county executive last year, said there is a “state of lawlessness” throughout New York and it has resulted in repeat offenders coming back to Nassau County to commit crimes.
“We have to get serious about changing the laws so that we don’t give criminals more rights than victims,” Blakeman said. “Unfortunately, that’s the way it is now. We’ve got people committing crime after crime and judges are not given the discretion whether or not to hold these people and I think it’s a huge mistake.”
Until the laws are modified, Blakeman said, police departments throughout New York will have a more difficult time doing their jobs.
“These criminals are allowed out without having to post bail, without any accountability for their actions and the number of crimes they have committed,” he said. “It’s dangerous and its made us all less safe.”
Statistics showed that 1,662 major crimes were committed throughout Nassau County from Jan. 1-March 31, up from 950 crimes during the same time frame last year.
In Nassau’s 3rd and 6th Precincts, which make up a majority of North Shore communities, 645 major crimes occurred during the three-month span this year, compared to 333 last year, an increase of 93%.
The list of major crimes includes murder, rape, criminal sexual acts, sexual abuse, commercial robberies, other robberies, assault felonies, residential burglaries, other burglaries, stolen vehicles and grand larceny.
Blakeman signed an executive order earlier this year which cites a need to “increase transparency by disclosing in daily reports of the pending criminal case data and bail status of those rearrested” by the Police Department.
The order also said more than 2,000 repeat offenders across the state were subsequently arrested for a violent felony while another case was pending. More than 400 of those repeat offenders were rearrested for a violent felony involving a firearm, according to the executive order.
The county has yet to release the daily reports or a monthly or quarterly summary of the pending criminal case data and bail status of those rearrested.
Blakeman said there are some “isolated instances” where defendants have been held on bail for an “unusually long period of time,” but said those are outliers of a trend of individuals released on cashless bail and becoming repeat offenders.
The county executive said a potential solution could be to give discretion back to the judges but also monitor the defendants and the judges. Every 30 days, if someone is not released on bail, they would have to go back before a judge.
“That way there would be some accountability and that would solve the problem,” Blakeman said. “Instead, our lawmakers in Albany made these crazy and bizarre laws that take away the discretion the judge has had for over 100 years.”
Some of the main increases came from stolen vehicles, which increased by more than 250% throughout the county over the past year.
The 3rd Precinct reported 35 stolen vehicle incidents in 2022, nearly a 170% increase from 13 last year, while the 6th Precinct saw a 750% increase in stolen vehicles with 51 this year, compared to six last year, according to the statistics.
Blakeman said the issue with the state’s bail reform laws is that bail is not required regardless of how many cars someone steals.
While judges throughout New York have the option to set bail in almost any case involving a violent felony, they may also release individuals in almost all other cases on their own recognizance or enact certain terms to make sure they ultimately return to court.
What judges cannot do, under the new bail reform laws, is consider an individual’s “dangerousness” when setting those terms.
An article by the Brennan Center for Justice, a policy institute that “works to strengthen democracy, end mass incarceration and protect liberty and security,” said there is no evidence that links bail reform to the 2020-21 crime increase that occurred throughout New York.
The article referred to a Times Union analysis, which was cited in the county’s executive order Blakeman signed earlier this year, says findings were too “preliminary” to have any concrete connection between bail reform and a crime surge.”
Other increases in the Nassau’s major crimes this year included nearly 400 more grand larceny incidents, according to the statistics.
During the first three months of 2021, a total of 592 grand larceny incidents occurred throughout Nassau County.
That number rose by nearly 65% to 972 cases this year. The 3rd Precinct reported a 78% increase of grand larceny incidents with 296 this year, while the 6th Precinct reported a nearly 90% increase of grand larceny incidents with 113 in 2022.
During the first three months of 2022, Nassau County saw a 55% increase in all robberies, a 45% increase in all burglaries and a 34% increase in assault felony incidents, according to the statistics.
The 3rd Precinct reported 12 residential burglaries this year, compared to 12 last year, while the 6th Precinct reported 20 residential burglaries this year, 12 more than last year, according to the statistics.
Nassau County spends $1,148 per capita on police and fire protection while the national median is $359, according to U.S. News & World Report finding in 2020 that named Nassau County the safest community in America. Public safety professionals account for 1.26% of the county’s population, compared with the national median of 0.70%.
The county again received that distinction as the safest community in America from U.S. News & World report in 2021.
Blakeman lauded the work of Nassau County Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder and the entire department for their work and believes that the money is being appropriated effectively for law enforcement officials to continue making Nassau one of the safest counties in America.
“I think Nassau is in a much better position than many places in the United States, but we have a crime wave going on statewide,” Blakeman said. “I think we’re doing a great job in Nassau County, but if the judges are forced to let these criminals out, all we can do is keep arresting them.”
A total of 5,230 major crimes were reported throughout Nassau last year, with 3,201 being grand larceny incidents, according to numbers obtained by Blank Slate Media from a Freedom of Information Law request submitted to the Nassau County Police Department.
More than 16,000 “other crimes” were reported throughout the county in 2021, according to the statistics.
While grand larceny accounted for more than 60% of the county’s reported major crimes last year, more than 1,000 assault felonies and misdemeanor incidents were reported in 2021.
A total of 10 murders, 11 sexual abuse instances, 10 criminal sexual acts and 19 rapes were also reported in 2021, according to the county police.
Additionally, more than 640 burglaries were reported, nearly 300 of which were residential, along with more than 320 robberies. The police department’s numbers also showed that 560 stolen vehicles were reported.
Ryder and former County Executive Laura Curran announced last July that major crimes throughout Nassau decreased by more than 10 percent from 2020, which reflected a decade-long decline in major crimes throughout the county.
The police commissioner said last year that major crime in Nassau had dropped 36 percent since 2011. A decade ago, Nassau saw 7,191 reports of major crime compared with 4,983 last year, he said.