NY’s disastrous Raise the Age law

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Teen violence continues to spiral out of control, yet Gov. Kathy Hochul refuses to lift a finger when it comes to one of its key drivers: the 2017 Raise the Age law, which prevents anyone under 18 from being prosecuted as an adult.

Before Raise the Age, 16- and 17-year-olds could be charged as adults; now such suspects are likely to be sent to Family Court, where they barely face consequences.

Yet New York is facing an ugly surge of teen violence, including terrifying shootings at city schools. Last week, a 13-year-old was charged with opening fire and wounding two other teens at Campus Magnet HS in Queens.

Gangs, as Mayor Eric Adams (an ex-cop) has pointed out, often make younger members their gunmen, knowing they’ll get off easy if caught — a practice Raise the Age encourages.

And the fallout is already clear: Nearly one out of five perps nabbed for robbery last year was under 18, as NYPD brass fumed this month. Over the past three years, the number of under-18 shooters more than doubled, from 48 in 2019 (when Raise the Age took full effect) to 124 last year. The number of teens struck by gunfire mushroomed at a similar rate, from 64 to 153.

And the future looks even worse, with more kids returning to crime after cushy collars. “Nearly half of 16-year-olds arrested in the first year of Raise the Age were rearrested within 15 months,” including a quarter for violent felonies, former Bronx ADA W. Dyer Halpern warned in City Journal last year. The numbers “significantly outpace similar arrests” a year before Raise the Age, as does “the recidivism rate for 17-year-olds arrested over the same period.”


Gov. Kathy Hochul has refused to address the 2017 Raise the Age Law despite the surge in teen violence in New York City.
Gov. Kathy Hochul has refused to address the 2017 Raise the Age Law despite the surge in teen violence in New York City.
Kevin C. Downs for NY Post

Hochul talks plenty about gun laws, but ignores Raise the Age: She failed to mention it in her State of the State or in her 277-page program book. It seems the gov’s only too happy to let kids run around with guns in their hands, wreaking havoc on everyone (including themselves).

“We can’t normalize this. We can’t continue to ignore the violence that is really engulfing our young people,” pleads Adams. “If we don’t intervene, they are on a pathway of a career in violence, and we have to stop it.”

He’s dead right. Question is: Can he get Hochul and the hard-hearted leftist ideologues in the Legislature to listen?

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