More than two months have passed since the Mayor Eric Adams announced his master plan to combat rampant crime that is being lived in the city of New York, and this Wednesday, the city Council called officials of the local administration and the NYPDto answer harsh questions about the implementation of initiatives that had been wiped off the map, such as the Crime Unit and the increase in the prosecution of minor infractions, a tactic known as “broken windows”.
The consensus of the political leaders of the Committee on Public security of the legislative body, was that these practices not only do not serve to reduce crime, which has increased considerably in 2022, but also have resources that could be better used in housing, employment, education and violence interrupter programs. . They also point out that by the way it puts back on the road, the risk of acts of police brutality and actions based on racial profiling.l against Hispanics and blacks.
In the hearing in the Council, which lasted more than five hours, members of the Public Safety Committee rebuked the City spokesmen, especially for the start-up of the newly baptized Neighborhood Safety Teamsa patrol plan in more than 30 neighborhoods, where 80% of shootings occur throughout the Big Apple, which politicians and activists describe as the new version of the Anti-Crime Unit, which in the past has committed serious police abuses, including the death of civilians.
councilors they also questioned in the diligence the increase in actions to minor crimes, as evidenced by more than 16,000 citations for fare evasion, more than 1,200 fines for smoking, and 700 for drinking, among others, while crime continues to overflow, as corroborated a total of 27,336 serious crimes so far in 2022, according to NYPD data. Last year there were 18,909 crimes in that period.
Statistics from the Uniformada show that between January and March of this year, there have been 93 homicides in the Big Apple, 386 rapes, 3,631 robberies and 5,215 violent assaults, which represent an increase of almost 50% compared to the first quarter of 2021.
“The rhetoric does not match the reality. Whenever there is talk of crime, people are emotionally manipulated into asking for more police, and the truth is that with an $11 billion budget and more than 50,000 employees in the NYPD (36,000 of them in uniform), crime has gone up. The week before the plan (for neighborhood patrol) was installed, there were 13 people shot and the week after there were 28: that plan is not working,” he assured. Councilman Charles Barron.
The Brooklyn politician, who assured that the Anti-Crime Unit was reactivated, but with a different name and the same police officers, also criticized Mayor Adams’s position of requesting changes to the bail laws and the age of criminal responsibility of minors and assured that he would What is urgent is to invest in the communities and not promote tactics that they have shown that they are useless.
“98 percent of the people benefiting from bail reform do not commit another crime. Stop using that to rationalize over-policing… poverty is the root of crime, unemployment is sheer violence. You have to invest in violence breakers that are doing a great job of reducing crime,” said Barron. “We need every community to have $100 million programs to stop violence, since this current security plan is 75% police and 25% services. The dollars don’t add up. It is useless to change the name (to the tactics) if they do not change the way of directing things”.
The Officer Kenneth E. Coreyhead of the Department of the NYPD, defended the effectiveness that the recent launch of the Neighborhood Safety Teams has had so far, not only in curbing firearm violence, but also in respecting dignity and rights of the communities.
“The success in reducing crime we are measuring it in the interaction with people. The metrics we use are not just based on how many arrests officers make but we focus on who is handling weapons. The efforts go beyond arrests, but rather who is being arrested and the follow-up that the Prosecutor’s Office gives to the cases,” said the officer, warning that the new neighborhood plan has nothing to do with the Anticrime Unit and prioritizes special training. to its members so that past mistakes are not made.
“We have levels of management that did not exist before, such as the use of body cameras that we always review, we have removed police officers from training, who we see do not have the temperament for this assignment,” added the NYPD Chief, who showed inside of the list of results in the last two weeks, 84 arrests, of which 24% are gang members and the seizure of 20 firearms.
One of the most tense moments of the hearing occurred when Councilwoman Tiffany Caban questioned the NYPD Commissioner on Keechant Sewell, on why if research like one from the National Academy of Sciences found that “broken window policing” has little or no impact on crime, the NYPD is picking up that “doesn’t work” approach. At the same time he criticized the NYPD for lack of transparency.
“I am saying what works for this city and what we focus on in this police department and the mayor’s plan,” said the commissioner, who warned that although the NYPD continues to believe that curbing minor infractions prevents eventual major crimes, in that type of cases are serving citations and not making arrests, as their priority is violent criminals. “The NYPD is doing its part to ensure that those who victimize our communities, particularly with the use of illegal firearms, are quickly identified and arrested.”
The Washington Heights Councilwoman, Carmen de la Rosa, He questioned the type of special training that the agents who are part of the neighborhood watch program are receiving and stressed that work must be done to find strategies that improve relations with the communities and not end up fracturing them.
“All of us want to reduce gun violence, but the broken trust that communities have, must be repaired, everyone must feel safe, even those traumatized by past behavior by the police, and therefore there must also be accountability for abusive officers“, assured the policy of Dominican origin.
The Councilor Chi Osséassured with concern that despite the fact that Mayor Adams and the NYPD have assured that they will bring abusive police officers to heel and that they will be held accountable for their violent acts, a few days ago in his district in Brooklyn, a woman was arrested and violently attacked after skipping the train turnstile without paying.
“As they were holding her down and banging her head against the wall, one of their officers said… ‘I’m going to blow your fucking mouth up,’” Ossé said. “What happens to those officers…they stay on the streets of the city and continue to beat the heads of my constituents against the walls?“.
The Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banksmentioned that the City is committed to ensuring that the tactics against crime that have been implemented in the city do not go against the population and stated that if there are particular cases they are ready to handle them, but said that if there were a policy of tolerating abuses in the Adams Administration, “I would never have agreed to be part of” this government.
The tough hearing within the Municipal Council took place just when a Legal Aid Society report uneasily revealed that 91% of the more than 1,500 arrests that were done last year with the broken windows tactic, were New Yorkers black and Latino, in blatant disproportionate surveillance of communities of color.
legal aid insured that the arrests were mostly for charges including driving without a valid license, MTA fare evasion, carrying open liquor containers, public urination, and other misdemeanors, showing that those types of strategies that have been apply, put vulnerable communities at risk of being targeted for racial and unfair treatment.
“The New York Police Department’s enforcement of the broken windows law raises serious concerns about whether the Department can carry out this new Quality of Life Initiative legally and without further alienating residents of predominantly Black and White neighborhoods. Latinos who are targeted by the most aggressive enforcement of the law,” said Molly Griffard, Attorney at The Legal Aid Society. “The NYPD should not duplicate this discredited policing strategy that doesn’t make us safer and only further exacerbates racial disparities in New York’s criminal legal system.”
Senior Policy Advisor to the New York Civil Liberties Union, Michael Sisitzky, He also criticized the return of tactics that label marginalized communities as criminalized.
“Mayor Adams is doubling down on the failed and racist policies of broken windows and stop and search, which all New Yorkers know they do nothing but devastate black and brown communities. The mayor’s plan is riddled with fear-based misconceptions about what keeps communities safe,” the activist said. “New Yorkers will not be intimidated by law enforcement and politicians in their pockets into confusing bail reform with an increase in gun violence. The safest communities are those with the most resources, not those with the largest prison population.”
councilors Robert Holden and Joann Ariola they were the only members of the Public Safety Committee to take a less harsh stance against Mayor Adams’ safety plan.
The Queens councilman mentioned that having taken 20 weapons off the streets in two weeks and having captured more than 80 suspected criminals by the NYPD is a sign that the initiatives are working, while the Republican policy asked that Mayor Adams be given the opportunity to show more effectiveness with his plan in a longer period of time.
Crime in New York in figures
- 58% increased crime between February 2021 and 2022
- 50% has almost increased crime between 20021 and 2022
- 75% have increased crimes on public transport
- 27,336 serious crimes have been reported so far in 2022
- 93 homicides have been recorded in the Big Apple this year
- 386 sexual violations have been reported this 2022
- 3,631 thefts have been reported this year
- 5,215 violent aggressions have happened this 2022
- 91% of “broken windows” arrests last year were Black and Latino
- 16,000 fines for fare evasion have been recorded this year in the metro
- 1,900 fines for smoking and drinking