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The Assembly Minority Conference

In Albany, Public Safety Must Be A Priority In 2022

Column from Assembly Minority Leader Will Barclay

The start of 2022 offers us many opportunities to change the way we do things. In New York, there are a number of issues that need to be addressed as we begin the New Year, and at the top of that list are the dangerous criminal justice policies that continue to put the public and the law-enforcement community at risk.

During last week’s State of the State Address, Gov. Hochul again failed to acknowledge that years of misguided liberal policies have made life easier for career criminals, and more difficult for law-enforcement agencies. Most recently, the newly-sworn-in district attorney in Manhattan, Alvin Bragg, has announced his office will no longer prosecute certain crimes. Among the crimes now permissible in his jurisdiction are resisting arrest, theft of services and obstructing governmental administration.

Alvin Bragg should not be allowed to hold his office. It’s that simple. Police officers in New York now must carry out their jobs with the knowledge that crimes won’t be fully prosecuted and laws won’t be enforced. A suspect they are trying to arrest is allowed to fight back. It is unacceptable by any legal standard.

At a time when New York state is becoming less safe, we should be doing everything in our power to protect the officers who protect us. The near elimination of bail, lowering thresholds for criminal responsibility, and lackadaisical parole policies were bad enough. Now we have prosecutors refusing to prosecute crime.

Consider the rise in violent crime that has taken place since the liberal wing of the state Legislature has taken control of the criminal justice system. In Albany, for example, the number of individuals killed by gun violence between 2019 and 2021 has risen 700 percent. In Rochester, the number of those killed by gun violence during that same time period is up 174 percent. The number of shooting victims in New York City has doubled, while gun incidents causing injury in Buffalo rose 105 percent.

Further, according to recently-released statistics, in the first year of New York’s new bail policies, there were thousands of people who were arrested on criminal charges that normally would have been held with bail who were instead released and immediately rearrested on violent felony charges. Consider individuals like the person cited in a Times Union article who broke into a woman’s home, multiple times, violated an order of protection, assaulted her, struck her with a pan and choked her and was released after each incident until finally being held on bail nine months later. What do you call an order of protection that doesn’t protect anyone?

Record numbers of New Yorkers have left in the past year, and when the quality-of-life is compromised by issues like crime, it only accelerates the exodus. The decision-makers in the Majority have shown a willful disregard for the importance of public safety. These laws need to be changed immediately. New Yorkers simply should not be subjected to the level of danger liberal politicians have put them in.

If you have any questions or comments on this or any other state issue, or if you would like to be added to my mailing list or receive my newsletter, please contact my office. My office can be reached by mail at 19 Canalview Mall, Fulton, NY 13069 and by email at