Hochul must harden her stance on crime


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The Editorial Board

Gov. Kathy Hochul won a full term as governor of New York on Nov. 8, prevailing in one of the tightest races the state has seen in decades.

If Hochul wants to do better for New Yorkers during her first official term than her incumbency, the Buffalo-raised Democrat needs to harden her stance on crime.

According to the NYPD, crime of every nature went up in August by more than 30% in New York City, compared to the same time last year. Felony assault was up by over 18%.

Many are attributing the increase to bail reform enacted by state Democrats. Hochul has maintained that there is no such correlation.

“I will look at all the data,” Hochul said during a question-and-answer session with reporters in Yonkers. “I’ve yet to see data that shows a correlation with a net increase in crime and the bail laws. Because it doesn’t exist in any other city.”

There is currently no data to support Republican gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin’s claim that Democrat-backed bail reform is solely responsible for this spike. Regardless, this very real, palpable uptick in crime was enough to sway many voters toward the Republican candidate.

Crime was among the top issues for voters in the gubernatorial election, according to recent polling from Quinnipiac University.

Of the respondents to the university’s survey, 28% ranked crime as the most pressing issue, followed by inflation at 20%. Zeldin’s strong performance could largely be attributed to voters who lost faith in Hochul’s ability to mitigate crime.

“I’ve always been a Democrat voter, but I am willing to take a chance on Zeldin to see if he can fix the crime,” Rachael Rosado, a 43-year-old medical assistant who lives near Harlem, told The New York Post.

These fears aren’t unfounded. Hochul brushed off New York’s rising crime rate on numerous occasions, leading concerned citizens to believe she will do little policy-wise to fix crime in her coming term.

“He has been hyperventilating, trying to scare people for months, and New Yorkers are onto it,” Hochul said of Zeldin during a campaign stop on the Upper West Side. “All the legitimate media organizations have called him out for what he is doing, fear-mongering.”

Hochul made this remark only hours after a commuter was stabbed at the East 149th Street and Grand Concourse subway station.

Overall, crime in New York City’s transit system is up by 40%. Manhattan dwellers have a 0.58%  chance of becoming a victim of a violent crime, according to data from NeighborhoodScout.

Hochul’s stubborn denial of New York’s crime issue will not only come at the cost of future political victories, but also at the safety of New Yorkers. She must make it a priority to address rising crime rates in her first few months as governor or else she will risk losing the support of a large portion of her voters.