Republican candidate for Governor of New York, Rep. Lee Zeldin (R-NY), appeared recently on Fox & Friends. Much of the interview focused on the rising crime stats in the Big Apple and criminal justice’s political climate.
Zeldin is unabashedly pro-police. Many politicians espouse messaging that includes ‘reimagining’ policing and defunding departments. The candidate correctly stated that these movements are being ‘empowered, elevated, and embraced.’ He urged a return to traditional policing and repealing recently enacted laws.
For example, he talked about the cashless bail law, where criminals are arrested and put right back on the street without restriction. There has been a remarkably high re-offend rate among criminals of serious crimes released under this new framework. Along the same lines, defendants in prison for crimes are released early under ‘less is more’ legislation. The system itself is being restructured to ensure that instead of keeping criminals off the streets, it puts them back into communities sooner than in previous years. The impact has been immediate and distressing.
To add insult to injury, the current Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg has pledged not to enforce lower-level crimes. Actor Michael Rapaport recently videotaped a suspect brazenly shoplifting on the upper east side of New York without consequence. The store where it happened is closing on February 15 of this year because of the sad state of affairs. It is not an isolated incident across the seven boroughs of the city.
Zeldin claimed that the Governor has the constitutional authority to fire Manhattan DA Bragg for failing to follow the law and stated he would do so if elected to New York’s highest office. Unfortunately for the people of New York State, the current Governor Kathy Hochul is crushing Zeldin in fundraising by almost a four-to-one margin. It remains to be seen when the people of New York will stop electing leaders whose failed policies make the state less safe for everyone. If the polling is correct, it will not be anytime soon.