According to data provided by the New York City Police Department (NYPD), a total of 1,017 people were shot between June 1 and Sept. 20. The NYPD data also indicated that shootings are on an upward trend compared to 2019 figures. Violence in New York City has escalated since May, concurrent with Black Lives Matter riots over the death of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis law enforcement officers.
Shooting incidents during the following months were on the rise.
The NYPD has blamed several policies that complicated its work for the sudden uptick in crime rates, alongside efforts to reduce its budget—a step lower than the total police defunding Black Lives Matter protesters demanded.
A bail reform law passed in 2019 eliminated pre-trial detention and bail for many offenses, which meant that judges were prohibited from requiring cash bail for low-level crimes—and criminals went back to the streets after being arrested. (RELATED: Crime spike in NYC spreads to ultra-wealthy Upper East Side after NYPD disbands anti-crime unit.)
In July, Mayor Bill De Blasio signed a bill that criminalizes police officers’ moves to restrain suspects — such as chokeholds. The bill also outlawed officers from pressing their knees against a suspect’s back or chest, which led to NYPD Chief of Department Terence Monahan branding the new law as “insane.”
Some NYPD officers who wished to remain anonymous said that officers are now hesitating to arrest resisting suspects unless they pose a present danger to law enforcement or the general public.
Given that New York City’s justice system reforms made police efforts seem pointless, many officers simply hang up their boots altogether. Retirement filings for the NYPD increased by more than 160 percent between May 25 and Aug. 11, compared to the same period last year.
Despite difficulties, New York’s Finest continues to do its best to “serve and protect.”
Meanwhile, Mayor Bill De Blasio continues to blame the coronavirus pandemic for the upswing in crime rates. He initially pointed his fingers at the court system’s slowdown, which the Office of Court Administration quickly rejected by saying many of the court proceedings have continued virtually.
Lucian Chalfen, a spokesman for the office, called De Blasio’s remarks “at best factually incorrect and at worst a continued attempt to shift the blame for his inability to manage the increase in New York’s street violence.” Chalfen added that De Blasio’s lack of knowledge in how the criminal justice system works “continues to be in full display.”
Even New York state Gov. Andrew Cuomo called the violence “wholly unacceptable” and urged the city government to “step up and lead.”
“If none of them want to lead it, I will find someone to lead it,” he added.
Before Cuomo’s call to action, more than 150 New York City business leaders urged the mayor to clean up the city and address the crime problems through an open letter published Sept. 10.
The question now is: Will Mayor Bill De Blasio actually address the crime problem, or will he continue turning a blind eye to the truth?