During the funeral mass for murdered NYPD Officer Jason Rivera, his widow, Dominique, speaking from the sanctuary of St. Patrick’s Cathedral, charged Manhattan’s new district attorney, Alvin Bragg, of coddling criminals.
“The system continues to fail us,” she said. We are not safe anymore, not even the members of the service.”
Looking down at her husband’s casket, she said to him, “I know you were tired of these laws, especially the ones from the new D.A. I hope he’s watching you speak through me right now.”
Reacting to those remarks, the men and women in blue sitting in the Cathedral’s pews, rose to their feet and gave Dominique a standing ovation, as D.A. Bragg looked on.
One can only hope that Bragg grasped how many people — police, as well as civilians — hold in contempt the “Soft-on-Crime” Day 1 Memo he released shortly after being sworn in to uphold the law on January 1, 2022.
Frankly, I found the bulk of Bragg’s 11-page memo appalling. Here’s a few of the more salient organizational changes followed by my reactions:
- “Success and promotion will no longer be tied to conviction rates.”
I guess that means assistant district attorneys will be rewarded for losing cases or having criminal charges dismissed.
- “…a new Pathways to Success Bureau will be instituted that will make clear throughout the District Attorney’s office that alternatives to incarceration should be the norm, not the exception.”
In other words, fewer and fewer convicted criminals will go to jail.
- “The following charges will not be prosecuted under any circumstances”: marijuana misdemeanors, fare evasion (turnstile jumping), trespass, driving with a suspended license, consensual sex trade, resisting arrest for any non-criminal offense, and “outdated offenses such as Obscenity.”
This policy effectively gutters the Broken Windows Theory that has guided the NYPD’s police department since the 1990s.
That theory, proposed by the renown social scientists James Q. Wilson and Robert Kelling, maintained that one broken window in a neighborhood “is a signal that no one cares and so breaking more windows cost nothing.”
Hence, they concluded “serious street crime flourishes in areas in which disorderly behavior goes unchecked. The unchecked panhandler is in effect the first broken window. ... Muggers and robbers, whether opportunistic or professional, believe they reduce their chances of being caught or even identified if they operate on streets where potential victims are already intimidated by prevailing conditions.”
Safe and Clean Neighborhood programs, carried out by NYPD Commissioners Bill Bratton and Ray Kelly, adopted “Broken Windows” and crime dropped to all-time lows.
The repeal of those policies began under Mayor Bill DeBlasio, who denounced the calls for “law and order” as racist. He believed that “society,” not individuals, bear responsibility for urban ills, and that minority crime arose from social injustice, and criminals themselves are actually victims.
The result: Crime increased in nearly every category in 2020 and 2021. Murders in 2021 hit 500 — a number not seen since 2011.
And if D.A. Bragg’s newly-minted soft-on-crime policies remain in force — expect crime to skyrocket in Manhattan.
The one person who can do something about Bragg’s reckless plans is Gov. Kathy Hochul. The governor of New York has the authority to remove a district attorney if he fails to carry out the duties of the office.
At a recent New York Post Editorial Board meeting, she said “I have options, but I will be monitoring the situation very closely. ... I’ll be having a conversation very shortly to convey, to let him tell me what his plans are and make sure that we’re all in alignment.”
After the Rivera funeral, at a Hochul-Bragg tete-a-tete in the governor’s NYC office, she reminded the embattled D.A. that “safety and justice must go hand-in-hand.”
But will Hochul follow through? I doubt it.
When she had her first opportunity to side with the victims of crime, she blew it. Hochul came out against Mayor Eric Adams' call for a change in the state’s restrictive bail law that would restore the “dangerous standard” that gives judges the discretion to deny bail to pre-trial suspects convicted earlier of major or violent crimes.
Hochul’s opposition to Adams' request is disgraceful.
The one-time centrist Hochul, who accepted the New York Conservative Party nomination for one of her races for office in Western New York, has sold out to the far-left in her quest to be elected to a full term in November.
Hochul, Bragg and their radical leftist confreres, are more concerned with their fantasyland, ideological formulas than dealing with the reality of crime in the streets.
Should they continue their flawed “social justice” campaign, the quality of urban life will continue to decline, and before long, the Big Apple will be designated — as it was in the 1970s when Limousine Liberals governed — “Fear City.”
George J. Marlin, a former executive director of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, is the author of "The American Catholic Voter: Two Hundred Years of Political Impact," and "Christian Persecutions in the Middle East: A 21st Century Tragedy." Read George J. Marlin's Reports — More Here.
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