It could not be more apparent the criminal-justice “reforms” being championed by the liberal majority conferences [of the New York Legislature] are creating a dangerous environment for New Yorkers. One need only read their local newspaper to document the myriad failures and backfires of these policies. Residents in my district were forced to experience them firsthand [recently] as we witnessed one individual terrorizing our neighborhoods and getting arrested four times in less than a day.
That’s right, four arrests … in less than a day.
Bryan Salazar, a 25-year-old man from Del Rio, Texas, was arrested and released on three separate occasions over the course of a 24-hour period before finally being held with bail for felony burglary and grand larceny. Prior to his last arrest, which was the result of Salazar breaking into a construction office in Whitestown, the Texan had been arraigned not 10 minutes prior for another burglary charge.
The many accusations levied against the man include breaking into a car dealership, stealing a mobility scooter from a local Walmart, and trespassing into the home of a nearby resident. Each time Salazar was arrested, he was released back into the community.
I have repeatedly warned my [legislative] colleagues in the majority that the overhauling of the bail system and taking away the authority of judges to hold defendants was going to make New York less safe. Stories like Bryan Salazar’s have become commonplace, and the ugliest parts of criminal-justice reform championed by the liberal lawmakers are being exposed every day. Additionally, another misguided component of Democrats’ reforms — one that called for criminal defendants to have access to crime scenes, including the homes of the individuals they were accused of victimizing — was fortunately struck down as unconstitutional by the New York State Supreme Court.
Simply put, Democrats have created a system that protects and emboldens criminals to continue to repeatedly commit crimes. These so-called “reforms” were pitched to the public as a way to alleviate some of the pressure on the prison system and ensure poor individuals were treated fairly in the courts. These are laudable goals, but unfortunately have no correlation to the illogical and misguided policies currently in place.
New York is less safe than it was just a few years ago, and it is the job of the legislature and governor to protect every single person they represent. Right now, that is not happening. We cannot continue to let New York slip any further. The criminal element here is operating unchecked, and it is long past time for a drastic overhaul of the policies and procedures governing our criminal-justice system. Without that overhaul, I have no doubt we will be reading about another Bryan Salazar terrorizing another community next week.
William (Will) A. Barclay, Republican, is the New York Assembly minority leader and represents the 120th New York Assembly District, which encompasses most of Oswego County, including the cities of Oswego and Fulton, as well as the town of Lysander in Onondaga County and town of Ellisburg in Jefferson County. Contact Barclay at email@example.com.