New York City appears to have experienced a surge in shootings this week after the New York Police Department announced that it was eliminating its plainclothes anti-crime unit.
The New York Post reported that since Monday, there have been 28 incidents and 38 victims reported, compared to a total of 12 shootings for the entire week at the same time last year. The Post added, “There have been 97 shootings this month so far, compared to 89 for the whole month of June last year.”
“This is what the politicians wanted — no bail, nobody in Rikers, cops not arresting anyone,” a law enforcement official told The Post. “All those things equal people walking around on the street with guns, shooting each other.”
The apparent increase in shootings comes after the NYPD announced at the start of the week that they were disbanding their plainclothes anti-crime unit, and would reassign the approximately 600 police officers in the unit to other positions.
“When you look at the number of anti-crime officers that operate within New York City, and you look at a disproportionate, quite frankly, percentage of complaints and shootings — and they are doing exactly what was asked of them,” NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said. “It will be felt immediately throughout the five district attorney’s offices, it will be felt immediately in the communities that we protect.”
Shea noted that the decision came from him and that he thought “it’s time to move forward and change how we police in this city.”
New York City Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio praised the announcement as being “very powerful” during a press conference the following day.
“It’s permanent,” de Blasio said. “It’s a decision – look, Commissioner Shea and I have talked for a long time, literally for six and a half years about all the changes needed in this department and we’ve been steadily implementing them, and what we find is that these reforms work, they help us fight crime in a better way, and they bring community and police closer together.”
“So, this is a permanent change,” de Blasio continued. “The personnel will be using new and different ways to fight crime more effectively and in a way that creates a better relationship with the community, and that’s the way forward for this city and for the NYPD.”
“From the very beginning of my time as mayor, I’ve been working closely with Dermot Shea,” de Blasio later added. “The announcement he made yesterday is a very, very meaningful one and that is an announcement made by someone who truly believes in reform and truly believes we have to do things differently. What he has said about re-orienting the NYPD towards youth is profoundly important. I don’t think it’s gotten the attention it deserved and we’re going to put it into action.”
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