Welcome to Mr. Bragg’s neighborhood, where criminals have no fear of prosecution, jail time or having a record.
It’s not going to be a beautiful day in Manhattan. Instead of asking, “Won’t you be my neighbor?” District Attorney Alvin Bragg has asked Manhattanites to be his guinea pig.
It’s going to be a free-for-all as opportunists take advantage of a new era — the decade of the criminal. Thanks to New York’s political elite, we have to contend with: criminal-justice reform, bail reform, prison reform, parole reform, Raise the Age and now another DA who has appointed himself judge and jury.
How much more can the criminal-justice system handle before it collapses? Not much, and I’m starting to believe that this is the intended result.
Just when you thought criminal-justice reform couldn’t get any worse, enter Alvin Bragg. Voting has consequences, and Manhattan residents couldn’t have picked a worse time to elect him. Criminal violence rose an unprecedented 30% in 2020. Murders and shootings were up again in 2021.
What Bragg is going to do should be no surprise. He posted his manifesto on his Web site way before November’s election. Unfortunately, those who voted for him never read it or thought of the consequences, or they ignored it.
He isn’t the first one to think of or try it. Others have before him with disastrous results. This “progressive prosecution” hasn’t worked in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Philadelphia, Chicago and countless other cities, but New Yorkers insisted on trying it here.
What he has done is invite all sorts of criminals from the outer boroughs to join in on the mayhem. Why rob a commercial establishment in Staten Island and face the maximum penalty when you can do it in Manhattan and face a lot less?
Crime will be bad, but the numbers won’t show it. This is known as a “dark figure” in crime statistics — an unknown number of crimes that the public will not report to the police.
In an interview with CNN’s John Berman, Bragg gave a long-winded “Yes” to the question: “If you’re not going to prosecute these crimes, shall [police] stop making arrests for them?” Citizens and business owners will stop calling the cops when crimes are committed since they “don’t do anything.”
And there you have it: By the end of the summer, Bragg will be exclaiming, “Crime is down, violence is down! I told so!” Can you see how this works and how bad it will be for citizens? DAs like Bragg don’t reduce crime, they just reduce people reporting crime.
There is no recall mechanism in New York City like we’ve seen in Los Angeles and San Francisco, and Bragg knows it. Manhattanites own this one. Bragg will endanger the lives of those he thinks he’s saving from prison. Violence begets violence, and if there are no consequences, retaliation will be the order of the day. Instead of focusing on deterrence, he has sentenced victims and their families to a lifetime of pain and misery.
The problem with ideologues like Bragg is that he insists that the “old ways of doing things haven’t worked.” Really? How did Gotham go from recording 2,262 murders in 1990 to 468 in 2020? Social workers?
I’ve had enough of the gaslighting. By denying that policing, incapacitation and, most important, deterrence works, Bragg highlights his lack of compassion for victims and their families. None of this falls under his job description.
Can you imagine if emergency-room doctors started dictating what type of emergencies they won’t handle and told patients to walk it off and rub some dirt on it? That’s effectively what Bragg is dictating to crime victims and their families.
Joseph Giacalone is a retired NYPD sergeant, author and adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan.
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