7% of those released without bail in Nassau rearrested: Police

7% of those released without bail in Nassau rearrested: Police
At a press conference, County Executive Bruce Blakeman spoke to the media. He and other officials released the second quarter crime statistics for Nassau County on Monday morning. (Photo by Steven Keehner)

In Nassau County, authorities rearrested about 7% of defendants who were released without bail during the second quarter, according to police.

Officials presented the data during a press conference in East Meadow. It was released as part of the county police’s quarterly crime report on bail reform.

A total of 3,019 arrests were made in Nassau County in the second quarter. This is a 9% rise from the 2,767 made in the opening quarter. Of the 2,641 defendants released without bail in the April-June quarter, 195 were rearrested.

County Executive Bruce Blakeman, Police Commissioner Patrick Ryder and other speakers blamed the growing numbers on bail reform. Blakeman said these changes allow for criminals to “prey” on residents.

“These criminals come from New Jersey. They commit the crime and they’re off back to New Jersey,” said Blakeman. “Even if they’re arrested here in Nassau County, they go before a judge, they’re out of state, they’re a bail risk, the judge has to let them go.”

New York implemented its new bail reform legislation in January 2020. Now most misdemeanors and non-violent offenses are exempt from bail. Judges can still set bail for serious and violent offenses, however.

The law aims to reduce the number of prisoners who are incarcerated because of their inability to pay bail. Its supporters claim it reduces unnecessary imprisonment.

Blakeman denounced the legislation’s supporters. He said that behind each of these statistics is a story and a victim.

“These people are back in the community walking around as if nothing happened,” he said. “They’re released the same day, making our residents feel less safe.”

Controlled substances, larceny and assault and related offenses comprised most charges filed against defendants who were released without bail during the second quarter. Controlled substance arrests rose by 77.09%, larceny by 53.56% and assault by 30.56% when comparing the first two quarters of 2021 to the same period in 2022.

Criminal mischief, judicial proceedings, warrants, DWI-related offenses, forgery and related, firearms & weapons and suspended or revoked licenses round out the top 10 charges. These 10 charges together climbed from 1,787 to 2,162 — a nearly 21% increase — when compared to the same time frame in 2021.

The three charges with the highest combined totals against people who were rearrested, however, are larceny (up 51.95%), controlled substances (up 18.52%) and judicial proceedings (68.29%), which includes bribery, compared to the first half of 2021.

The remaining top charges against the rearrested individuals include criminal mischief, assault, warrants, burglary and related offenses, license suspension or revocation, public order offenses and weapons & firearms. Comparing the current period to the same time in 2021, the total combined charges went from 2,299 to 2,449, an increase of nearly 6.5%.

Both Blakeman and Ryder connected Long Island’s ongoing opioid epidemic to issues with bail reform during their remarks.

Ryder said of the 3,019 arrests, 440 were overdoses. He said that before bail reform, they would mandate that a person goes to drug court or to the criminal court. In most cases, he said one would choose drug court.

“In the drug court, we would get them help,” he said. “We’re not getting them help anymore. They still have the same option, but they won’t see that diversion court judge for maybe a month or two months. How many overdoses occurred in that month or two months while they are waiting for that?”

Of the 487 arrested for controlled substance charges, Ryder said 96 were rearrested for drug-related charges. He said the leniency of laws is unsettling for victims as a criminal may return to the same neighborhood.

“We will continue to do our job,” said Ryder. “We’ll continue to make these arrests and we hope that changes come that will keep the bad people where they belong: in jail.”

The victims of a recent incident in East Meadow, where a man was arrested after hurling 27 bricks through residents’ car windows, were also given the opportunity to speak and express their opinions.

“We always felt great and safe and when this happened, I was shocked,” said one resident. “And we need help. We need this law to change, whatever these laws are that help these criminals to be out in the street.”

Legislator Steven Rhoads (R-Bellmore) said the government’s top goal is to ensure the safety of residents. He said the victims who spoke highlighted the importance of this.

“You can have beautifully paved streets. Your garbage can get picked up on time. Mass transit can be operating,” he said. “Nothing else matters if you don’t feel safe in your community, and there’s a direct cause, and that’s bail reform.”

A recent Blank Slate Media analysis of county-wide crime statistics showed major crimes decreased by over 10% from 2017 to 2021. But the number of violent crimes increased by over 16% during that same period.

Statistics provided to the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services by the county police reveal that there were 14,039 significant crimes committed in the county in 2017 compared with 12,535 in 2021.

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