Staten Island District Attorney Michael McMahon blames his borough’s rising crime rate on Albany lawmakers who are more focused on helping criminals than victims, and a shrinking contingent of cops.
In 2019 Staten Island had record-low levels of crime.
Then, Albany’s legislative malpractice struck.
Their fatally flawed discovery laws began to clog our courts and diminish the morale of my team.
Their inexplainable bail laws meant violent offenders and recidivists were let out through our turnstile criminal justice system.
“Raise the Age” laws meant youth crime spiked while accountability disappeared.
And more recently, their bungled rollout of legal recreational marijuana has led to illegal smoke shops sprouting up like weeds, bringing violence and theft along with it.
Despite these crippling challenges, any analysis of the recent increase in crime on Staten Island must begin with this fact: we remain the safest community of our size in the entire nation.
However the trend is unacceptable, and I join my fellow Staten Islanders in their outrage, unease, and frustration.
Much must be done to reverse these terrible developments, starting first with a long-overdue and desperately needed significant increase in the number of police officers and detectives assigned to Staten Island.
There are currently fewer uniformed NYPD personnel assigned here than there were in the 1960s, despite our population more than doubling in that time.
In just the last four years, there are 100 fewer cops in the North Shore’s 120th Precinct than just four years ago.
Without sufficient NYPD manpower to deter, investigate, and apprehend lawbreakers, and the necessary prosecutors to finish the job in the courtroom, we simply cannot do our best possible work in fighting crime.
More attention and tougher punishment must also be handed down in cases of juveniles who engage in acts of violence, wield firearms and steal cars.
We need our legislators and policymakers to deal with reality and get tough on these young people by restoring consequences for their actions to show them that a crime-free life is not only possible but desirable.
Our state’s Raise the Age laws, the NYPD’s Juvenile Report policy, and the Department of Education’s Discipline Code all must be revisited to restore accountability and consequences for young people who are acting in a more brazen and lawless manner than ever before.
Lastly, we continue to see crews and individuals, often juveniles, targeting residential communities and commercial strips to steal cars, and the contents of personal and commercial vehicles, and to burglarize and rob small businesses.
We firmly believe that New York must finally join the rest of the nation in allowing judges to consider criminal history and a defendant’s risk to public safety when setting bail, so those who commit these offenses remain off the street after the NYPD catches these wrongdoers.