As of this week, the death toll from the coronavirus in New York City has passed 2,400, with more than 65,000 other cases being tracked. Whether or not the “peak” has been reached remains a matter of debate, but the epidemic does appear to be running its course. Sadly, even once the virus has burned itself out in Gotham, there’s another epidemic on the way, at least according to one law enforcement official with plenty of experience in the matter.

Bill Bratton has twice served as the Police Commissioner of New York City, most recently leaving the office in 2016. He’s credited with originally instituting the “broken windows” policy that massively reduced crime in the Big Apple starting in the mid-90s. He’s also served as Chief of Police for Los Angeles. In other words, the guy knows a thing or two about urban crime. Now Bratton is back in New York and he’s warning that the next virus after the current pandemic will be a “crime virus” caused by the recently passed bail reform laws. (NY Post)

Former NYPD Police Commissioner Bill Bratton warned that New York could face a “crime virus” thanks to the state legislature’s bungled overhaul of the controversial bail reform bill.

“They are not doing enough,” Bratton told host John Catsimatidis on his AM-970 radio show “The Cat’s Roundtable” in an interview that aired Sunday. “I’d expressed a concern when the initial reforms came out, they were poorly written, poorly conceived and being poorly implemented.”

“I worried that if they started tinkering with it once again and needed to ‘reform the reforms,’ that they would make even more of a mess of it — and they’ve done it,” Bratton said.

If nothing else, Bratton has managed to keep his sense of humor over the years. He went on to say that the New York State legislature needed to be renamed the New York Department of Sanitation, because “they put so much garbage in, they basically generate a lot of garbage coming out.”

One of his chief concerns is, of course, the new guidelines for determining which suspects are released on bail and which aren’t. Even people being accused of non-felony violent crimes are being put back out on the streets as soon as they’re booked. And when you come from a “broken windows” background as Bratton does, that’s a recipe for disaster. Letting the criminals know that the city is going to go easy on them and will be reluctant to lock them up removes most of the incentive to obey the law.

But it’s not just the bail reform bill that’s on the former Commissioner’s mind. He’s also raising a red flag about the city’s decision to start releasing large numbers of prisoners from Riker’s Island and other jails and prisons. It’s supposedly being done to stop the spread of the coronavirus inside those facilities and protect both the prisoners and the staff members working there. But some of the people being released are behind bars for violent crimes.

Bratton is asking where these criminals are supposed to be put next. Some of them are being put in hotel rooms on the taxpayers’ dime, after being given free cell phones and money for cab fare. Yeah, that must be a really big incentive against recidivism, eh? Maybe if they go out and commit twice as many crimes, next time they’ll get the penthouse suite.

The streets of New York are largely empty at the moment, but they’ll be filling back up soon enough after the lockdown is lifted. Is this really the moment when you want to be increasing the number of known or suspected criminals roaming around in the public square? Under Bill de Blasio’s administration, New York City is acting more like a town with a suicide wish than any sort of beacon of hope and prosperity. And if he lets things slide until the murder rate starts climbing back up to where it was in the 90s, Gotham will have more than a couple of pandemics to worry about.