NYC: Crime Spikes After Police Reform
Violent crime is surging in New York City this year, with shootings and shooting victims up more than 100%. According to police records, there have been 1,359 shootings so far this year, 1,667 shootings victims, and 405 homicide victims.
“Shootings are doubling what they were last year. That’s not what we in the field would say is ‘a spike in crime,’” says Christopher Herrmann. Herrmann is a former Crime Analyst Supervisor with the NYPD. “We’re in uncharted waters.”
New York City’s public transportation system has also grown more dangerous this year. This is likely a result of budget cuts, fewer passengers, and a reduced police presence.
“Less riders can certainly give way to certain crimes,” says former transit police chief Edward Delatorre. “A barren station or a shutdown could be inviting for certain crimes.”
Homless people shoved at least two pedestrians onto subway tracks last week.
Last Tuesday, an elderly woman was hit in the face by a stray bullet while riding a city bus in Brooklyn. Later that day, two individuals on parole broke into a home and held a family hostage for several hours. On Wednesday, cops arrested a rapper after climbing on top of a city bus and shooting a flamethrower into the sky.
Even celebrities are falling victim to the violence. Alex Weisman, a member of the original cast of Broadway’s “Harry Potter and the Cursed Child” was punched so hard in the face after stepping off a train in Manhattan that he had to get surgery to fix a torn retina. Days earlier, actor Rick Moranis was attacked in the city’s Upper West Side.
Officials say the violence is a result of COVID-19, the election, anti-racism protests, police reform, economic troubles, and the presidential election.
“It’s almost like a perfect storm,” says Alfred Titus Jr., a former NYPD homicide detective. “We had bail reform, then defunding the police, which cut the amount of officers on the streets and the overtime that could be made, and now we have COVID-19.”
Recent changes to policing in New York:
- Bail reform laws that sometimes force judges to release suspected criminals back into the public
- Abolishment of anti-crime units (plainclothes officers that operate in high-crime neighborhoods)
- Cuts to police budgets
- A law that prevents cops from using chokeholds.
- A policy that directs EMTs and social workers to respond to mental health emergencies instead of cops.
“The City Council pretty much took away the ability of the NYPD to make arrests,” argues Ed Mullins, President of the Police Benevolent Associations. “We have cops out there right now that are hesitant to grab anybody simply out of fear that if it goes bad we may get ourselves arrested.”
Earlier this month, a local karate instructor used a chokehold to stop the attempted kidnapping of a baby in Madison Square Park. If he had been a police officer, he would be facing criminal charges.