Thursday, February 23, 2012
NYPD Commissioner says NYC has come far but needs to do more in the fight against crime
As shocking as it may be to some, the shooting of a little 8-year-old boy in the Bronx on Tuesday is an unacceptable reality in the poorer neighborhoods in the city, where young men of color are far more likely to be the victims of shootings than their white counterparts.
An examination of shootings last year showed that 94% of all shooting victims in the city were black or Hispanic, often targeted by other youths, or accidentally shot as bystanders like the little boy in Soundview.
Disputes that were settled generations ago with fists are settled with guns, which were often manufactured before the shooters were born. In most cases, the guns were purchased outside of New York State — in Pennsylvania, Virginia, and other points south — and then resold on the streets of New York at triple their retail value.
Mayor Bloomberg has led the effort nationally to address the problem of the iron pipeline and loopholes in gun laws generally, and he has supported the NYPD in its efforts to reduce crime to record lows.
A relatively new phenomenon of the “community gun” has arisen, where neighborhood youths agree to keep a gun in one hiding place for mutual use. It’s a phenomenon that has grown out of concern about individuals being caught with a gun in their possession on the street by police.
Through innovative police strategies like Operation Impact, in which we flood areas where shootings have spiked with additional police officers, as well as policies of engagement, like stop, question and frisk, murders have been driven down to record lows.
Over the past 10 years, there have been 5,430 murders in the city, compared with 11,058 in the decade before the current administration took office. That’s a 50% reduction, or 5,628 lives saved. During the same decade, violent crime in schools fell by 50%, because of the great work of school safety agents and police officers .
In Brooklyn last year, murders fell below 200 for the first time since President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. There was also a 33% reduction in the number of young black men who were killed in the neighborhoods with churches whose African-American clergy are working in collaboration with the police. They have helped.
As safe as New York has become, the shooting of an 8-year-old is a reminder it’s not always safe enough. Three New York City police officers were shot, one fatally, in the past two months confronting criminals armed with illegal handguns. But we won’t be deterred.
The NYPD is in it for the long haul, and we will continue to do all we can to keep New Yorkers as safe as possible wherever they live.