NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York City officials want to beef up the punishment for people who break the law during city emergencies.

As WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported, City Council Speaker Christine Quinn on Monday announced support for a measure to increase penalties against criminals ripping off people during a state of emergency.

Due to Superstorm Sandy three months ago, New York City remained in state of emergency as of Monday.

The bill especially goes after looters.

“How could you look at somebody in need, who just lost their house, and think, ‘You know what I’m going to do? I’m going to pick through what’s left of their life and find the few things that cost a few bucks, and then I’m going to go to the pawn shop,’” Quinn said. “You just have an empty soul.”

City Councilman James Oddo (R-50th) wrote the bill, saying crimes of opportunity during an emergency deserve real and harsh additional penalties.

Do you think this bill is a necessary step? Leave your comments below…

Watch & Listen LIVE