Yonkers police sound alarm on correlation between crime increase and state's bail reform

Crime has risen since the state's bail reform laws went into effect, which also coincided with the start of the pandemic.

News 12 Staff

Feb 15, 2023, 1:27 AM

Updated 460 days ago


Yonkers police are sounding the alarm on what it says is the correlation between an increase in crime and the state's bail reform - right as state lawmakers decide on how to adjust the law during ongoing budget negotiations.
This time, police tell News 12 that retail robberies are on the rise, including at the Yonkers Gateway Center where stores there have been recent theft targets. 
According to police, two people were arrested for allegedly stealing merchandise from the Burlington store on Tuesday just hours after officials released a video showing two other robberies taking place in the same spot.
Officials say a video released shows several people walking out of the Burlington on Central Avenue with stolen merchandise.
In both cases, the police were not called.
Local business groups say it's becoming increasingly difficult to deal with.

"The businesses are asking for an increased police presence," says Sara Brody, of the Yonkers Downtown Waterfront BID.
Police say there's only so much they can do and blame bail reform.
"It's the same people doing the same thing knowing there aren't going to be any real ramifications from it," says Yonkers Police Benevolent Association President Keith Olson. 
Crime has risen since the state's bail reform laws went into effect, which also coincided with the start of the pandemic.
Advocates who believe in alternatives to incarceration say the latter is why the law isn't to blame.
"The safest communities are the communities with the most resources, not the highest incarceration rates," says Katie Schaffer, of the Center for Community Alternatives. 
Research from the Brennan Center for Justice published in March of last year found no evidence to tie bail reform to increases in violence.
Police on the streets say the incidents they're dealing with point to the opposite. 
While News 12 was at the Burlington store, two Yonkers officers met with a loss prevention officer at the store with two bags that appeared to be filled. 
Some Democrats have been pushing mandatory training on the law for judges instead of changes to the law.
Gov. Kathy Hochul has proposed giving judges more discretion for violent cases and with repeat offenders.  

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