“A lot will be done preparing for this weekend to change the reality on the ground,” Mayor de Blasio vowed Tuesday, while offering not a hint of concrete detail on how he aims to end the surge in violent crime.
Thursday, he made noises about redeploying cops (as the NYPD has always done) plus bringing in community leaders to change attitudes. That’s it?
Last weekend saw nearly 50 people shot, 10 fatally. Murders this year are running 27 percent over last year; shootings are up a stunning 54 percent. Burglaries and auto thefts are likewise off the charts.
What’s driving the surge? The mayor and NYPD brass chalk it up to a “perfect storm” of factors: The lockdown and “what’s happened in recent weeks” (the fallout from the George Floyd killing) play “a particularly central role,” says de Blasio, while cautioning not to “minimize” fallout from Albany’s botched bail reform.
Figuring out which of these factors matters most is a pointless game, especially since arrests are way down. But the big picture is all too clear: Everything is turning against the policing that New York City needs.
Lawmakers and other politicians have been adding restraints on cops for a decade now, while also reducing risks for lawbreakers. Some of it has made sense — but some doesn’t, and they keep piling it on.
Decriminalizing low-level offenses, “Raise the Age,” the no-bail law, disbanding the anti-crime units: The likely price for disorder and crime keeps going down.
Criminals are emboldened, and much of the general public feels justified in challenging and even harassing cops as they go about their work.
NYPD brass deny that police officers are shirking from their duties. But the morale problem is plain in the rash of police retirements — so heavy that there’s a waiting line to put your papers in.
The trend’s been building for years, and it’ll take a lot more than hand-wringing to turn it around.