The violent crime rate in New York and around the country has fallen by about 50% since 1993, but a recent study from the RAND Corporation reveals that more Americans than ever are being arrested. Researchers from the California-based think tank looked at arrest and conviction data from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics, and they discovered that young people today are about 3.6 times more likely to have a brush with the law than their parents or grandparents.
People in New York who are accused of drug trafficking may have some of their property seized, but according to a study by the Institute for Justice, there is no correlation between the proceeds law enforcement receives from forfeiture and a drop in drug use or a rise in solved crimes. The study also found that when economic conditions worsened, forfeitures increased, and it suggested that economic gain and not crime reduction is behind law enforcement's use of the law.
Some New York motorists who have acid reflux or diabetes or even those who are in ketosis might cause a false positive on some types of breath tests used by law enforcement to determine blood alcohol content. These conditions can cause a person to breathe out isopropyl alcohol, and some say not all breath tests can distinguish between this and ethanol alcohol.
Facial recognition is widely used across the world in everything from phones to checking in on airplane flights. While it can be used for safety purposes, such as identifying stalkers at popular music concerts, people are raising concerns about its wide use in stores. Shops in New York may be using facial recognition technology to spot and mark shoplifters without any regulation.
In New York and other states, a new study shows that 45 percent of adults have a close relative who was arrested and sent to prison. The high percentage breaks previous records. Cornell University experts did not expect these astonishing results. As part of this study, one statistic shows that a person's brother or sister gets sent to prison more often than other family members. The African-American community has a higher number of family members in prison, reaching approximately 60 percent. The same percentage applies to adults who have low educational backgrounds.
The scales of justice are a well-known symbol used to represent the ideals of fairness. Everyone can have faith in a system if bias, privilege and corruption do not determine guilt or innocence. The First Step Act, signed into law in December 2018, is a federal law designed to initiate the start of removing inequities in federal sentencing guidelines. While this is a much-welcomed change for reform advocates, it applies only to federal criminals and felonies. Recent evidence has suggested there is a more widespread problem affecting many New York residents.
A study published recently in the Quarterly Journal of Economics suggests that the average bail set for black defendants in New York and around the country is more than $7,000 higher than for white defendants. The research team from Princeton University and Harvard Law School also suggests that white as well as black bail judges treat black defendants unfairly and make decisions based on racial stereotypes that exaggerate the dangers of releasing them prior to trial.
Eyewitness testimony might not always be reliable in cases in New York. A man in California, who was identified both by the victim and witness in a rape case, was exonerated when DNA evidence indicated he did not commit the crime. He had spent eight years in prison.