Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg was elected on by promising to be soft on crime.

POLITICS: Who gains from NY’s pro-crime culture? Kathy Hochul and drug cartels

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Two-plus years into New York’s war on public order, it’s clear who the victims have been: Blood-spattered city sidewalks from Brooklyn to Buffalo speak for themselves.

But cui bono — who are the beneficiaries?

Gov. Kathy Hochul, for one. And the Mexican drug cartels.

  • Hochul because she’s soaring politically as the titular head of a Democratic Party that elevates post-George Floyd ideology over common sense and public safety. She’s Andrew Cuomo’s cynical little sister in this regard — not so bombastic as her predecessor but equally invested in the criminal justice “reforms” that have turned so many urban neighborhoods into combat zones.
  • The cartels because they are commercial enterprises making bank off the post-“reform” falloff in law enforcement. Doubt it? Drug busts are way down and overdose deaths are way up; just do the math. The symbiosis is shocking and shameful. And its beneficiaries are not limited to Hochul and the drug lords.
  • The Democratic Party at all levels has embraced the post-Floyd ethic — cops are bad; criminals are victims — because it seems to pay politically. They’ve been stacking bodies like firewood in the Bronx, for example, even as borough native son and Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie prospers.
  • And transnational drug dealers — from the Mexican wholesalers to New York’s street-corner retail trade — are cash-flush like never before. The fentanyl pipeline is one supply chain that never even hiccupped during the pandemic.

And why should it have?

By most accounts, quarantine-driven demand for illegal drugs was way up — while police tolerance for potentially kinetic confrontation was way down. Following the George Floyd rioting, who would expect otherwise?

Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg was elected on by promising to be soft on crime.
Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg was elected by promising to be soft on crime.
Photo by ALEX KENT/AFP via Getty Images

In New York, the now-infamous cashless bail and related pro-criminal laws already were making effective policing increasingly pointless. And progressive district attorneys like Manhattan’s Alvin Bragg prospered at the polls while promising to be as soft on crime as they can get away with.

(New York is not unique here, of course. Chicago, as sanguinary a city as any to be found in America, just prohibited pursuit of felons fleeing crime scenes, an insane policy not the least bit surprising given the political climate in most American cities.)

So what’s a conscientious cop to do? In many cases, as little as possible — to entirely predictable ends. New York’s chaotic streets and subways are one result. Its rising drug-overdose body count is another.

As The Post reported in July, arrests for felony drug sales in the city fell by 27% between 2019 — when the criminal justice “reforms” were passed — and 2021. And felony convictions cratered during the same period, down an eye-popping 57%.

New York City has experienced a decrease in drug busts and a rise in fatal overdoses.
New York City has experienced a decrease in drug busts and a rise in fatal overdoses.
Stephen Yang for the New York Post

Unsurprisingly, OD deaths spiked too — up 37% from 2019 to 2020.

These truly are happy times for New York’s illicit narcotics commerce. Beyond the numbers, the evidence is present in public spaces across the five boroughs: Nodding-out junkies and drug-scene detritus are everywhere.

So too is the collateral social damage ubiquitous to the trade — turf war-driven homicide topping the list. While it’s often difficult to distinguish between drug-related shootings and more secular score-settling, no one seriously doubts that the city’s flourishing drug trade is also driving its gun-crime epidemic.

The fact is that progressive Democratic criminal justice “reforms” have made it far less risky to carry illegal guns in public; ditto peddling drugs.

That constructive pushback seems possible is suggested by Mayor Eric Adams’ one-man anti-gun campaign. He’s focused the NYPD on the issue, and there has been a slight drop in fatal shootings in the city. Whether that’s a blip or a trend remains to be seen — but it is interesting.

That’s because Adams’ modest success demonstrates that political leadership can indeed reduce civic disorder — especially crime. This should be obvious, but these are crazy times. And as it is, Adams stands pretty much alone among Democratic leaders.

So it’s certainly fair to ask who benefits from all this. It’s very circular, but — again — the symbiosis is clear: Politicians prosper from gutting the penal law, and so does the narcotics trade.

The ultimate winners: Kathy Hochul and her ilk — and the cartels.

The loser: New York.

This should be kept in mind as Election Day approaches.

Email: [email protected]



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