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Buffalo Police Deputy Commissioner: Bail reform caused pre-pandemic crime increase

Posted at 6:20 PM, Sep 30, 2020

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Shootings in Buffalo have increased 81% compared to 2019. Buffalo Police Deputy Commissioner Joseph Gramaglia says that increase can be attributed to both COVID and bail reform.

“It was beyond the perfect storm,” Gramaglia said.

Pre-pandemic, shootings were up 37% compared to 2019. Gramaglia said this increase can be attributed to bail reform.

“You could potentially see someone being released on a loaded handgun charge on $250 bail,” Gramaglia said.

He said even some shooting victims have been out on bail for loaded weapons charge. It’s not just shooting rates that have increased.

“Back in January, our property crimes were increasing. We saw burglaries jumping. We looked and noticed there were repeat burglaries. There were several of them that were getting arrested and arrested and arrested,” Gramaglia said.

He said crime increase and bail reform would be a bigger conversation if it weren’t for the pandemic.

“Bail reform we think absolutely had everything to do with the first three months of the year seeing all of our numbers going through the roof,” Gramaglia said.

But Erie County District Attorney says it’s just too early to tell.

“We don’t have enough numbers yet. All we have for bail is January and February. We had nothing for March, April, May, June. They just got back into it slowly but surely in July and August now,” Flynn said.

Regardless of the data, the crime rates and COVD, Flynn said he will continue to advocate for changes to bail reform.

“I’m going to continue to advocate you tweak it a little bit more with or without the spike, with or without COVID,” Flynn said.

“The law enforcement community needs to have a voice in the room,” Gramaglia said.