FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 12, 2023
The following statement is from Assemblymember Michael Reilly (R,C-Staten Island) in response to the unprecedented rise in grand larceny crime on Staten Island:
“Since their passage by the state legislature in June 2019, I’ve been among the most vocal opponents to the so-called ‘reforms’ of our criminal justice system. As I claimed then, and continue to do so now even after several amendments were made last year, these policies undermine law enforcement and threaten the public safety of communities like those that I represent, on Staten Island’s South Shore.
We know how we got here — this is all the product of a small, out-of-touch group of ‘progressive’ activists who became state lawmakers and have selfishly dictated their agenda, at the expense of everyday New Yorkers, to Albany’s legislative leaders and the Governor. As the next legislative session begins, it is clear that we cannot continue down this path, because doing so would mean ignoring the will of the millions of New Yorkers who said in the last election that they wanted to see an immediate restoration of public safety across our state.
We know what the solution is. As a former Lieutenant with the New York City Police Department, I’m aware of what we’re dealing with and what it’ll ultimately take to drive crime down. In fact, I’ve had the pleasure of serving with several state lawmakers who are former police officers or prosecutors — two groups of experts who were shut out of any and all discussions pertaining to the development and amendment of those criminal justice ‘reforms.’ I’ve been incredibly vocal in advocating for two changes that I am confident will have a positive impact on crime reduction: Expanding judicial discretion based on the dangerousness of an offender so that more crimes can become bail eligible, and reforming the ‘Raise the Age’ law so that 16- and 17-year old offenders caught in possession with a firearm can be tried in criminal court as an adult.
Make no mistake, these two policies alone are not the solution to all our problems — there are dozens of good pieces of legislation active right now that can help to unbind law enforcement and strengthen public safety, but it falls on legislative leaders like Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Senate Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, as well as Governor Kathy Hochul, to find the political courage to get it done. We can no longer kick the can down the road, which is why I am respectfully calling on Albany’s legislative leaders, and all my colleagues across the aisle, to make public safety a priority during this legislative session.
Additionally, I am calling on New York City Mayor Eric Adams to find the political courage to empower our police officers to fight crime in every corner of the city by fully restoring the plain-clothes anti-crime teams, as well as the citywide street crime units. We cannot have one foot in the door and the other out if we ever hope to end this crime crisis — and the Mayor, a former police officer himself, should understand that.
The bottom line is that our community, and those like it around the state, are at a breaking point. As a legislator, as a former law enforcement officer, as a father, and as a private citizen, I say no more half-measures, no more half-baked ‘solutions.’ We need to take action, right now, and I am ready to get to work.”