New York Passed 'Revolving Door' Bail Reform. Now, a Handful of Thieves Are Committing a Third of All City Retail Crime.

New York City police cordon off a bodega in Brooklyn / Getty Images
April 17, 2023

Just 327 people were responsible for a third of all retail crime arrests in New York City last year, the New York Times reported Saturday, a statistic that raises new questions about the repercussions of New York State's far-left bail reform law.

Those 327 thieves, some of whom use "shoplifting as a trade," were "arrested and rearrested more than 6,000 times," according to New York Police Department commissioner Keechant Sewell.

The thieves were likely able to keep stealing because of New York's 2019 bail reform law, which banned judges from setting bail for almost all misdemeanors and nonviolent felonies. While the state in 2020 changed the law so that judges could set bail for some additional crimes, it still prohibits bail in most instances of retail crime.

Shoplifting complaints have nearly doubled since New York passed the bail law, making for "one of the main drivers of the city's overall crime rate."

The Times report comes as "organized shoplifting crews" target stores in primarily Democrat-run cities across America. According to a retail association official, "organized retail crime is more than petty shoplifting, and the economic impact has become alarming," the Washington Free Beacon reported last year. "Professional thieves and organized criminal rings are building a business model by stealing and reselling products," the official said.

New York Republican representative Elise Stefanik, who has said that bail reform created a "revolving door of criminals," directly blamed the reform laws for the Big Apple's crime spike. Stefanik also pointed the finger at far-left Manhattan district attorney Alvin Bragg (D.), who has announced that his office will not prosecute many nonviolent crimes.

The Empire State is "the epicenter of the catastrophic crime crisis happening across our country," Stefanik told the New York Post.

Stefanik's fight against bail reform has garnered some bipartisan support from Democratic New York mayor Eric Adams. The mayor has called on the State Legislature to toughen the law and said that "we are not going to stand by and let criminals undermine our economy."

Most Democrats, however, want "no changes to the state's bail laws," the Times reported last month. At the same time, one California Democrat went so far as to wave aside burglaries as "basic city life experiences," the Free Beacon reported.