New York City has experienced a surge in violent crime in recent weeks, including a 200% increase in shootings between June 15 and July 2 of this year, compared to the same time in 2019. Over the July 4th holiday weekend, 64 people were shot, and 11 died from their gunshot wounds. In the last four weeks, New York City has seen an increase in shootings compared to last year.
There was one especially heartbreaking shooting caught on video of a father gunned down in broad daylight while walking hand-in-hand with his 6-year-old daughter in the Bronx.
Following the George Floyd protests against police brutality, the New York Police Department disbanded its plainclothes unit, which has been involved in a disproportionate number of fatal officer-involved shootings.
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Last week, an NYPD cop shared a video mocking the new and overly cautious policing tactics being implemented in New York City following the nationwide protests against police brutality.
In early June, NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio announced he is moving “resources from the NYPD to youth and social services as part of our City’s budget.”
Mayor de Blasio proposed cutting nearly $1 billion from the NYPD. Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) scoffed at the proposal, calling it a “disingenuous illusion.” She said, “Defunding police means defunding police.”
On Thursday during a virtual town hall, Ocasio-Cortez talked about the “uptick in crime” in New York City. She pointed out that the cuts to NYPD hasn’t happened yet, and there is still an increase in crime.
AOC proposed some theories for the crime wave, and asked: “Do we think this has to do with the fact that there’s record unemployment in the United States right now?” Ocasio-Cortez continued, “The fact that people are at a level of economic desperation that we have not seen since the Great Recession.”
The Democratic socialist hypothesized that the increase in NYC violence could stem from rent demands and people shoplifting bread.
“Maybe this has to do with the fact that people aren’t paying their rent and are scared to pay their rent,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “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… they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry that night.”
According to the NYPD crime data, petit larceny, stealing of personal property that has a value less than $1,000, was down 7.5% compared to last year. However, murder was up 27.1% and shooting incidents were up 53.5%.
Ocasio-Cortez also speculated that the skyrocketing crime could be caused because “unemployment provisions have not been given to everyone.” She also suggested that the crime may have increased because “some people still have not been given their stimulus check yet.”