Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) claimed on Sunday that the surge in crime in New York City is happening because people are “scared to pay their rent” and because of high unemployment numbers due to the pandemic.
Ocasio-Cortez made the remarks and other misleading statements during a Zoom video call that was posted to Twitter by The Hill.
Ocasio-Cortez claimed without evidence that the recent $1 billion budgetary cut by the New York City Police Department wasn’t “really real.”
The approved budget includes nearly $484 million in cuts and will reallocate $354 million to other agencies “best positioned to carry out the duties that have been previously assigned to the New York Police Department, like the Department of Education, the Department of Health & Mental Hygiene and the Department of Homeless Services. Another $162 million was slashed through “associated costs,” the council said in a statement.
The approved budget also moves about $500 million of the department’s capital budget to other “badly needed infrastructure,” the City Council said, and reduces overtime spending by $352 million.
“So why is this uptick in crime happening?” Ocasio-Cortez asked. “Well, let’s think about it. Do we think this has to do with the fact there’s record unemployment in the United States right now? The fact that people are at a level of economic desperation that we have not seen since the Great Recession. Maybe this has to do with the fact that people aren’t paying their rent and are scared to pay their rent, and so they go out and they need to feed their child and they don’t have money so you maybe have to, they’re put in a position where they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry that night.”
“Maybe it’s the fact that unemployment provisions have not been given to [everyone],” Ocasio-Cortez claimed. “Maybe it’s because the fact that people, some people still haven’t gotten their stimulus checks yet.”
Ocasio-Cortez’s suggestion that the increase in crime is simply people stealing bread to try to feed their families ignores the widespread looting of luxury stores that happened in the city during the recent riots. It also ignores the fact that New York City Democrat Mayor Bill de Blasio resisted calls from top Democrats and Republicans to deploy the National Guard to restore order and stop the violence and looting.
Ocasio-Cortez’s remarks about the increasing crime rate also fail to address the fact that a lot of the increase in crime that is garnering headlines is an increase in violent crime, including murders and shootings. For example, shootings last month skyrocketed 130% compared to June of 2019.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said that the increase in crime around the city was causing the city’s justice system to implode. The NYPD also cut their plainclothes unit of 600 officers, and have seen a massive increase in officers retiring – which is likely due, at least in part, to the current anti-police climate that is being pushed by the political Left.
Ocasio-Cortez’s sudden apparent concern for people not having jobs may ring hollow as she previously celebrated a crash in oil prices, which critics said meant that she was “cheering job losses.” Ocasio-Cortez also suggested that low-income Americans should boycott going back to work after the pandemic shutdown was over.
Ocasio-Cortez was one of the people who helped stop Amazon from bringing tens of thousands of jobs and billions of dollars of economic activity to New York City.
The New York Times reported that polling showed that the deal was popular across the state and that the majority of New Yorkers, including Democrats, said that the cancellation of the deal was bad for the state. Ocasio-Cortez was also credited with being the top “villain” in why the deal fell apart. It’s also worth noting that as a company, Amazon had to hire an additional 175,000 employees to keep up with the demand that was created during the pandemic, although it’s not clear how many of those jobs would have been created in New York City.
Also, for all her apparent concern for people not having jobs in the current economic environment, Ocasio-Cortez last week reportedly promoted a boycott of Goya Foods – the largest Latino food company in the U.S. – because the company’s CEO said positive things about President Donald Trump.
AOC on increased NYC crime: "Maybe this has to do with the fact that people aren't paying their rent & are scared to pay their rent & so they go out & they need to feed their child & they don't have money so… they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry." pic.twitter.com/oHSTWWJZ6a
— The Hill (@thehill) July 12, 2020