Manhattan’s new district attorney is following in the footsteps of other progressive DA’s around the country whose soft on crime stances have led to an alarming rise in crime, instructing prosecutors to not seek incarceration for most crimes.
Trespassing, resisting arrest, and prostitution are all crimes for which Manhattan’s DA will no longer seek charges. Even crimes such as armed robbery and drug dealing will be downgraded as Bragg claims that reducing incarceration will make New Yorkers safer. Bragg will only seek prison time for homicide, domestic violence felonies, public corruption, and some sex crimes. Bragg claims to be seeking justice and fairness while citing “data and experience” to support the idea that “reserving incarceration for matters involving significant harm will make us safer.”
As an example, armed robberies will be downgraded from felonies that carry a maximum 25-year prison sentence to petty larceny, which carries a maximum of 364 days in prison and a $1,000 fine. Drug dealers who are thought to be “acting as a low-level agent of a seller” will only be prosecuted for misdemeanor possession. Bragg also ordered his office to seek no life sentences without parole and to only seek 20-year prison sentences.
Prosecutors must now consider the “impacts of incarceration,” including barriers to employment, housing, cost of incarceration, and racial disparities.
Critics claim that the order will make the city less safe. NYPD Detectives’ Endowment Association President Paul DiGiacomo said, “Bragg gives criminals the roadmap to freedom from prosecution and control of our streets.” He added, “In Bragg’s Manhattan, you can resist arrest, deal drugs, obstruct arrests, and even carry a gun and get away with it.”
Patrick Lynch, head of the Police Benevolent Association, said he has “serious concerns about the message these types of policies send to both police officers and criminals on the street.”
He added, “Police officers don’t want to be sent out to enforce laws that the district attorneys won’t prosecute. And there are already too many people who believe that they can commit crimes, resist arrest, interfere with police officers and face zero consequences.”
One Manhattan cop said, “This is outrageous. He was elected to enforce the law. If he wanted to change them, he should have run for a state office.”
A police supervisor said, “The identical platform has not worked out in San Francisco, Chicago, Philadelphia and Baltimore.”
Those cities have seen surges in violent crime after left-leaning DAs implemented similar measures.
Philadelphia saw its number of murders double from the yearly average in 2021. In December, DA Larry Krasner said, “Basically, we don’t have a crisis of lawlessness, we don’t have a crisis of crime, we don’t have a crisis of violence, and that is a category that includes gun violence.”
San Francisco DA Chesa Boudin implemented similar measures, leading San Francisco residents to 1 in 16 odds of becoming a victim of crime. Boudin now faces a recall effort.
Los Angeles DA George Gascon also faces a recall effort after his soft stance on crime led to a 46 percent increase in homicides during his first year in office. After facing criticism from the L.A. County Sheriff Alex Villanueva, Gascon responded by referencing a slur frequently used against law enforcement officers: “My dad used to say that when you wrestle with a pig, you both get muddy and the pig likes it.”
Conservatives are not against prison reform or second chances. What conservatives oppose is eliminating consequences for crime and politicizing the legal system. In every city where officials try to promote “fairness” or “equity” over justice and safety, violent crime soars — and the poor and minority populations suffer more than anyone else. What is equitable or fair about that?
Being tough on crime deters criminals from harming civilians. Letting criminals know that they can run roughshod over law enforcement emboldens them while demoralizing the brave officers who put their lives on the line.
Progressive DAs value the rights of criminals over the rights of victims. As a result, Manhattan and New York City will see a continuing rise in crime just like other cities who value progressive slogans rather than real solutions.