Bail Reform Increases Crime According To Utah Professors As Utah Legislature Looks To Implement New York Style Bail Reform
As the Utah legislature considers HB 206 to reform Utah’s bail system, which is another bail reform bill in what seems a like an endless yearly tinkering effort in Utah, the public and policymakers might want to be aware that this legislation is very likely to increase crime.
In a landmark national study looking at the economic effects of bail reform in Illinois, two University of Utah Professors concluded that the bail reform measures in Chicago, which resulted in larger number of violent defendants being released, increased crime. Said the Professors: “Our findings suggest that as bail reform increases the number of defendants who are released, there appear to be corresponding increases in danger to public safety.”
The research pointed out that if reforms were to significantly increase the number of violent defendants released – than an increase in crime could be expected. HB 206 will absolutely increase the number of violent defendants who are released whether the present offense is a violent crime or where the present offense is a non-violent crime but the defendant has a previous record of violent crime. In fact, in all criminal cases, according to HB 206, “the court shall order that an individual charged with a criminal offense be released on the individual's own recognizance, on condition that the individual appear at all required court proceedings.” The only exception is the limited circumstances under which prosecutors can seek a remand order which denies bail altogether.
This reform is strikingly similar to the one enacted in New York State, and the results have been nothing less than horrendous. Democratic Mayor Bill DeBlasio has blamed the state law for a dramatic increase in crime in New York City since January 1. In fact, across New York, crime has increased due to bail reform.
In Buffalo, burglaries are up by 57%, theft is up by 41%, and auto theft is up by 73% when comparing January, 2019 to January, 2020 after the new bail reform law took effect. In Syracuse, burglary increased by 76%, while robberies increased by 37% in New York City. We can expect similar results in Utah.
In fact, don’t take our word for it. Legal writer and noted commentator Horace Cooper recently penned an op-ed on this very point:
“Today, the efforts to end bail have simply made our neighborhoods more dangerous and signaled to criminals in our midst that they wouldn't be held accountable. Moreover, all of this ignores the truth: Cash-based bail actually works. The progressives won't tell you that peer-reviewed studies show that not only is bail is a very taxpayer friendly mechanism to see to it that defendants show up for trial, it also prevents them from re-offending while they wait. This progressive scheme to end bail isn't a reform, it is a license to commit crime.”
It’s time for policymakers to realize that these soft on crime policies simply fuel increases in recidivism and threaten public safety. Instead, policymakers should turn to making smart investments in either crime prevention or making reasonable changes to the bail system.
Should HB 206 pass, Utah can expect a dramatic increase in crime on day one.