"It’s absurd to suggest that a change in New York bail practices somehow led to the shooting surge we’ve seen in cities across the country, not only New York City," said Jeffrey Butts, research professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice. "I doubt the officials posing this explanation even believe it. It’s just an opportunity to score political points against a law they would oppose whether it was effective or not."
Jeffrey Butts interviewed by N.J. Burkett of ABC7 New York on June 10, 2021 about the rise in shooting incidents across New York City.
Experts caution that while law enforcement is a vital part of public safety, police should be one part in a larger package of solutions. There are well-tested methods that decrease violence, but implementing them at scale will require patience, nuance, and a willingness to think past political narratives.
"Researchers can at least eliminate possible explanations. So, you can look at data and test hypotheses. One hypothesis that has been around (you alluded to it) is that it’s somehow related to Defunding the Police. So, there have been researchers who have looked at police budgets, and changes from year to year... and there’s really no relationship there.”
There appears to be little, if any, organized opposition to raising the age of delinquency. But those who resist say doing so would hamstring the legal system, according to Jeffrey A. Butts, the director of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice’s Research and Evaluation Center. In rare cases involving a particularly dangerous child, he said, incarceration may prevent them from being a risk to others.
Police often say the criminal justice system is a revolving door but Jeffrey Butts of John Jay College of Criminal Justice said his research proves otherwise. "The vast majority of people who are released pretrial do not get arrested again while they are waiting for trial," he said. "About 5%, at most, of people who are arrested and waiting trial and then released get rearrested prior to their trial."
Some experts have detected some promising signs in recent crime data. In New York City, more than 500 people have been shot this year — the highest number in a decade and up more than 50 percent over the same period in 2020. But Jeffrey Butts, director of the research and evaluation center at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said that percentage was better than the 158 percent increase in shootings reported last fall in the city, suggesting that the surge in violence, while still up, may be declining.
Shootings in New York City grew sharply in 2020 and remained elevated in 2021, but the degree of increase may have been in decline.
Our first guest is Jeffrey Butts, the director of the Research and Evaluation Center at John Jay College Of Criminal Justice. Butts discusses the causes of recent increases in gun violence.