Reviewing Lee Zeldin’s focus on crime in New York City
Ahead of the upcoming gubernatorial election, Republican candidate Rep. Lee Zeldin has surged in the polls — placing himself inside placing distance of incumbent Gov. Kathy Hochul. Zeldin has encountered an actual concern in New York that has helped him get a lot nearer to Hochul than pollsters initially predicted. Many say that is largely because of its focus on crime – particularly in New York City.
The ongoing speaking level generally is a profitable strategic transfer. After all, crime in New York City is up this yr by most measures, and voters persistently rank it amongst their high considerations in polls. But Zeldin’s frantic focus is exaggerated, at finest — New York City remains to be actually protected, in comparison with most locations in the nation.
Crime statistics from the New York City Police Department recommend that there was a marked improve in total crime in town over the previous two years. Some police precincts noticed crime reviews greater than double on a year-over-year foundation. Overall, the variety of the highest seven crimes tracked by the NYPD is up 30% year-over-year, and all classes are actually greater than pre-pandemic ranges. There had been extra crimes reported in the primary ten months of the yr than the identical interval in any yr since 2006. This is a transparent upward pattern, pushed largely by financial uncertainties associated to the COVID-19 pandemic, however hardly that it’s exponential progress. that the Republicans have suggested.
Not all crimes are equal, and the numbers are down in key classes: Homicides are down 32% yr over yr. Shootings have decreased by 33% in comparison with final yr. However, these classes elevated in the previous two years, and New York City has seen extra murders and shootings this yr than in the previous few years earlier than the pandemic. The NYPD attributes the most recent lower to the protected seizure of unlawful firearms.
It is necessary to check crime information over time. The metropolis’s crime fee has been on the decline for the previous three a long time, and regardless of Zeldin’s rhetoric, New York City remains to be in a comparatively protected interval, traditionally. In 2021, metropolis information confirmed that main crime reviews had been just about in line with the numbers in 2010. That’s when Michael Bloomberg, who was elected as a Republican, mentioned NYC was the most secure massive metropolis in America. Even amid a 30% spike in the previous yr, crime remains to be considerably decrease than it was in 1990.
“Violent crime was twice the rate in the mid-’90s than it is now,” Jeffrey Butts, analysis professor and director of the Center for Research and Evaluation at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, informed City & State.
The Economist, in its Safest Cities Index report, even identified that town stays one of many most secure cities in the United States and the world. Comparatively, Kansas City, Missouri has the best murder fee anyplace in the nation. Other cities with excessive crime charges embrace St. Louis, Missouri, Jackson, Mississippi, Detroit and New Orleans. New York City was rated among the many most secure.
Butts factors out that in response to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which tracks deaths because of violence, New York’s deaths per 100,000 individuals are a lot decrease than different smaller rural and suburban communities. “In the Bronx, the average rate of those violent deaths over the past few years is 7 deaths per 100,000 residents. In Queens, it’s 3 per 100,000,” he informed City & State. “Now, let me take you to Jefferson County, Arkansas, inhabitants 70,000. They have a fee of 38 – 10 occasions the speed in Queens. In Robeson County, North Carolina, which has a inhabitants of 130,000, the speed is 24 per 100,000.
“Why aren’t we speaking about small counties in Arkansas and North Carolina once we discuss violent crime and violent dying? Because they endure it at a fast fee in comparison with New York City,” Butts added.
Where this GOP talking point actually rings true is with the Metropolitan Transportation Authority. According to the NYPD, crime on the city’s transit system has increased by about 40% during 2021. The increase has raised safety concerns amid stories of commuters being pushed in front of trains — often unprovoked.
Zeldin’s political stances have also undermined the efforts he is campaigning for. He has asked for less funding for the MTA, which means less money for public safety measures. Plus, Zeldin has opposed basic gun safety laws, voted against the latest legislation banning assault weapons and opposed the state’s gun-free zones established in sensitive areas, including Times Square.
Zeldin voted against the American Rescue Plan, which would have helped fund public safety measures as part of the MTA’s operating budget, including funding for transit police. In 2011, he opposed a proposed payroll tax that would have funded the MTA and covered the cost of subway transit cops.
Republicans — and many Democrats, too — point to parole reform for causing the rise in metro crime. “It’s only a tactic that is not primarily based on proof,” says Rachel Eisenberg, Senior Director for Criminal Justice Reform at the Center for American Progress for City & State..
According to data compiled by the Brennan Center, this is not the reason for the escalation of crime. It shows that the increase in crime is a national problem. It is not isolated to New York, nor is there any significant difference between jurisdictions that do or do not have bail reform laws on the books. A report from the New York City comptroller’s office found that “pretrial rearrest charges remained about the identical earlier than and after parole reform.” Indeed, there has been a slight decrease in rearrests. In 2019, only 5% of those awaiting trial were rearrested, and after the introduction of bail reform, the total was 4%. Virtually none of these arrests were for violent crimes. While the conservative-leaning media has supported Zeldi, some have still pointed out that there is no connection between parole reform and the increase in crime in New York City.
So far, the race remains a toss-up. The most recent Quinnipiac poll has Zeldi within four points of Hochul while a Siena poll had Hochul with an 11-point lead.
Andy Hirschfield is a freelance writer based in New York. In addition to City & State, his work has appeared in The Daily Beast, Al Jazeera English, Observer, CNBC, The Daily Dot and TYT Investigates, among other publications.