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NYC Shootings Soar As NYPD Eliminates Plainclothes Anti-Crime Unit

New York, NY – Shootings in New York City were up 342 percent compared to last year following news that the NYPD will do away with 600 plainclothes anti-crime unit assignments in exchange for “community-based efforts.”

New York Police Commissioner Dermot Shea announced on June 15 that approximately 600 plainclothes officers will soon be reassigned to cover a variety of other roles, WNBC reported.

In order to get guns off of the streets, the NYPD will rely more heavily on intelligence, data, video and ShotSpotter technology, Commissioner Shea said.

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“This is 21st century policing,” he declared. “I think it’s time to move forward and change how we police in this city. We can do it with brains, we can do it with guile, we can move away from brute force.”

Just days later, 28 shootings took place in a span of 72 hours, leaving 38 people wounded, WCBS reported.

In fact, the total number of people shot in New York City last week alone was up a staggering 414 percent compared to the same time last year.

While simultaneously axing anti-crime units and vowing to defund the NYPD as a whole, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced that hundreds of additional officers are being deployed to the streets to help handle the uptick in gun violence, WCBS reported.

“It’s really important to remember, job one is always to keep people safe,” de Blasio claimed. “We are not going to allow gun violence to continue to grow in this city. We’re not going to go back to the days when there was so much violence pervading our communities.”

Despite the mayor’s assertions, 125 shootings took place in the city in the first three weeks of June alone, the likes of which hadn’t been seen since 1996, WCBS reported.

“We’re going to use new strategies and approaches in policing, new strategies and approaches at the community level,” de Blasio declared. “We’re going to do whatever it takes to fight back gun violence.”

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While the mayor vowed to fight gun violence by slashing the NYPD’s budget and funneling funds into community “strategies,” City Council Chairman Daniel Dromm criticized police for not solving the problem on their own.

“It makes me wonder exactly what’s going on with the NYPD,” Dromm told WCBS. “Same as with the fireworks. I mean, is there no enforcement? Are they slowing down? What is happening gives me great concern.”

Former NYPD Chief of Department Joseph Esposito said that the weeks of riots and anti-police demonstrations have taken their toll on the NYPD and have had a negative impact on proactive policing.

“They’re all looking over their shoulders and in the back of their mind, whether consciously or subconsciously, they’re saying, ‘Why should we bother? We don’t get the support. Why should we bother?’” he told WCBS.

Police Benevolent Association (PBA) President Pat Lynch said that city lawmakers are the ones to blame for essentially tying law enforcement’s hands.

“Anti-Crime’s mission was to protect New Yorkers by proactively preventing crime, especially gun violence,” Lynch told WNBC in a statement. “Shooting and murders are both climbing steadily upward, but our city leaders have decided that proactive policing isn’t a priority anymore. They chose this strategy. They will have to reckon with the consequences.”

Former Chief Esposito said he agrees that axing the plainclothes units was a huge mistake.

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“Anti-crime (cops) are the crime fighters,” he told WNBC. “These are the folks who get the guns off the street, who get the robbers while the robberies are happening. There is a price to pay here — we’re eliminating all the tools that got us to be the safest city in the county.”

Commissioner Shea said that it was his call to eliminate the unit – a move he equated to “closing one of the last chapters of stop-question-and-frisk,” WNBC reported.

On June 12, the New York City Council announced that they plan to defund the NYPD by a staggering $1 billion.

“We have identified savings that would cut over $1 billion dollars, including reducing uniform headcount through attrition, cutting overtime, shift responsibilities away from the NYPD, finding efficiencies and savings in OTPS spending, and lowering associated fringe expenses,” the council told WNBC in a statement.

The city’s budget is due to be finalized on June 20, WCBS reported.

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Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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