With the midterm elections only a month away, crime is a major concern in New York and across the nation. Republican Lee Zeldin is running against current Gov. Kathy Hochul (D) for the Empire State’s top spot. While the GOP hopeful is unlikely to win the governor’s mansion, he has not only hammered the issue of crime in public appearances, but even pointed to violent incidents that have affected him personally.
The Politics of NY Crime
Hochul is polling far ahead of Zeldin, but when it comes to crime, she’s had to backpedal a couple of times, as was explained by Liberty Nation Political Columnist Joe Schaeffer. There was the Sept. 16 incident where an axe-wielding man scared the bejesus out of McDonald’s customers and was “promptly released without bail, forcing Hochul to awkwardly demand an explanation.” And, as Mr. Schaeffer pointed out, “Just one month earlier, Hochul had insisted that bail reform had nothing to do with rising crime in the state.”
Zeldin, on the other hand, is adamant about getting tougher on crime and has himself been a victim or near victim in just the last couple of months. In July, while he was on stage during an event, an Army veteran assaulted the congressman with a sharp keychain. The man later said he’d been drinking and didn’t even know who Zeldin was. And then, just this week, two people were shot outside his residence. Although the political contender and his wife were not home at the time, the couple’s 16-year-old daughters were. “They ran upstairs, locked themselves in the bathroom, and immediately called 911,” the candidate for governor said.
But then, as Mr. Zeldin expounded on crime in the city, a reporter asked if this was an appropriate time to discuss politics. “At what point are we supposed to talk about the crime on our own streets?” Zeldin demanded. “I’m standing in front of crime scene tape in front of my own house.”
New York Crime Defined
Although there has been a slight decrease in New York City homicides, five major-index crime categories have seen an uptick in their numbers. The NYPD released its September report, which showed an increase of 15.2% in the overall index compared to the same time last year. Of the major categories, burglary went up by 22.7%, grand larceny auto saw a 21.5% rise, and grand larceny rose 21.3%.
“For the first time in ages, polls suggest, New Yorkers are wary of crime as they walk down the street or ride the trains,” The New York Times reported. In the Big Apple, nearly 30% of the people “live below the city’s poverty line,” which only adds to the fear and frustration in certain neighborhoods.
Recent media coverage of horrible instances happening in the city, especially in the subway system, has garnered fear among residents. Some of the latest stories include a man who was pushed onto the subway tracks, another man trying to commute home to Brooklyn who was stabbed to death, and a gang of women who attacked and robbed two other women near Times Square. Even former New York Democratic Governor David Paterson said he felt less safe than ever before:
“For the first time in my life—even in the late eighties and nineties when the crime rate was killing 2,000 people a year, I never felt as unsafe as I do now just walking around and God forbid, sometimes we take the subway home from WABC, and you’re hearing about an assault on the subway almost every other day.”
During a recent radio interview on The Cats Roundtable with John Catsimatidis, Paterson said that when it comes to crime, Democrats have a “blind spot,” especially regarding repeat offenders. Even though it is a small percentage of people in the jail system, he explained that offenders are getting arrested “20, 30, 50 times.”
Many critics blame the state’s catch-and-release program for the increase in criminal activity, while others say there’s no proof that this is causing a change in the numbers. Back in July, when serious New York crime was up by 40%, Mayor Eric Adams lambasted the procedure, saying, “Catch, release repeat’ cannot be a criminal justice mantra.” He added, “They’re repeated offenders, and if we don’t stop that flow, we’re going to have a harder time of getting these numbers under control.”
Last month, the mayor was criticized when he seemingly insulted Kansas, saying, “We have a brand. New York has a brand. And when people see it, it means something … Kansas doesn’t have a brand. When you go there, okay, you’re from Kansas. But New York has a brand.” Paterson, however, thinks Adams needs to be careful when talking about the ‘brand’:
“Mayor Adams says that New York City has a brand—it does have a brand if we don’t start adjusting to some of the situations that we’re in right now. That brand is not going to carry the weight and the tremendous allure that New York City has always offered to the country.”
Adding to this problem is Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg, who has refused to prosecute anyone who hasn’t committed a serious offense. While he claims this will help ease the instances of lawbreaking, critics are appalled and demand that crimes must be prosecuted.
So, if the left’s idea of fixing criminality is so grand, why is the Empire State seeing more violent activity?
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