Gowdy: NYC’s Crime Spike Not Due to Poverty, But ‘Culture of Lawlessness’

By Melanie Arter | July 15, 2020 | 11:58am EDT
Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina and Chairman of the House Select Committee on Benghazi, speaks to the media before the committee interviews former CIA Director David Petraeus about the attacks on a US compound in Benghazi, on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, January 6, 2016. (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)
Former Rep.Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) (Photo by SAUL LOEB/AFP via Getty Images)

(CNSNews.com) - Former Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) said Wednesday that “a culture of lawlessness” is what’s causing the surge in crime in New York City.

“I think it’s a couple of things, number one, it’s a culture of lawlessness. I mean you can’t have people berate the police for months and months. You also can't have a list of crimes that are worth enforcing and ones that are not,” he told Fox News’s “America’s Newsroom.”


“Look at the message being sent over the last couple of months: Arson is okay. Destroying public property is okay, but God forbid that you lie to Peter Strzok or Adam Schiff. So it's a culture of lawlessness.I can also tell you this, Sandral. I was in a criminal court room for almost two decades,” Gowdy, a former prosecutor, said.

“There’s a really limited number of people that are going to hurt you, Sandra, really limited number of your fellow citizens that want to hurt or kill you. So the best thing for you is to separate them from you whether that be in prison or in jail awaiting trial,” he said.

“So when you have bail reform or bond reform you are letting people out that otherwise in the past would have been detained until their trial date. So if 95% of our fellow citizens are good people and law-abiding and people of good conscience, just identify the 5% and separate them from society. That's the way to get crime to go down,” Gowdy said.

According to the NYPD, there has been a 130 percent increase in the number of shooting incidents across New York City between June 1 and June 30 compared to the same time last year. The number of people murdered increased 30 percent, and the number of burglaries rose 118 percent. The number of auto thefts rose 51 percent.

Gowdy disputed the notion on Wednesday that the uptick in violence in New York City is because of poor people shoplifting bread to feed their children as Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) stated.

“God forbid my two decades in a courtroom compare with her experience as a bartender. Was the 1-year-old holding the loaf of bread? Was the 1-year-old killed in New York because that child was holding a loaf of bread?” Gowdy asked, referring to the fatal shooting of Davell Gardner Jr., while sitting in his stroller at a barbecue with his family near a playground on Sunday night.

As CNSNews.com previously reported, the police believe the family was ambushed by a group that jumped out of a car, fired shots and drove away. 

“I mean, poor people are no more likely to cause you harm than rich people are. That is not the line of demarcation. It is not whether you are rich or poor. It is whether you are law-abiding or not law-abiding. So the spike in murder cases, the spike in auto theft, the spike in burglaries, what in the hell does that have to do with people being hungry?” Gowdy asked.

He suggested that the crime spree is being committed by career criminals, not first-time offenders.

“I”ll give you one other one. Go check the criminal histories of the people committing these murders. See how many of them are committing their first criminal offense since the pandemic started and see how many of them are career offenders where this is just a culmination of a lifetime of crime that resulted in murder. I bet you they are not first-time offenders,” he said.

Ocasio-Cortez claimed that the spike in crime in New York City might have to do with “the fact that people aren’t paying their rent and are scared to pay their rent and so they go out, and they need to feed their child and they don’t have money, so they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry.”

Gowdy said that “anyone that believes in logic will take issue with her stance.” He pointed out that there is currently a moratorium on evictions in New York because of COVID-19.

“You can't be evicted in New York, so how can you be killing people because you are being evicted? This is a state and a city run by Democrats. So if they are having a hard time getting bread, she needs to take a look at her own party and not blame Republicans. We don’t run New York. She does,” he said.

As far as the debate over defunding and/or abolishing the police, Gowdy said, “I think reasonable-minded people are here. We want a justice system that we respect and one that is worthy of respect, and if that means getting rid of bad cops and bad prosecutors and bad judges, I'm all for that, but it also has to mean getting rid of the people who want to do violence and harm us, so that's 5% of the population, max, 5 %. Let's identify that five. 

“Let’s prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law, and oh by the way, you’re going to need cops and prisons to do that. I am all for improving our justice system. I spent two decades trying to do it, but the notion that we’re going to be safer by getting rid of police is just a non sequitur,” he said. 

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