Rotten Apple: Mayor Flailing (And Failing) As Crime Surges In NYC

Shootings in New York City have more than doubled compared to the same time period in 2019, and there’s no shortage of finger-pointing about who and what is to blame. CBS New York reports that some city residents are accusing the NYPD of apathy in their investigations, the city’s top cop is blaming a “perfect storm” of coronavirus-related court closures and cuts to the NYPD budget, and Mayor Bill de Blasio? Well, he’s doing his best to ignore the spike in shootings and homicides completely.

Amazingly, this was the only crime that de Blasio tweeted about on Monday, as shootings and homicides continued to soar across the city. One of the latest murders was caught on camera, as a man was gunned down in cold blood as he walked his daughter across a city street, but the mayor seems incapable or unwilling to acknowledge the scope of the problem.

Meanwhile, gun control groups holding a rally on Monday were interrupted by protesters who have set up camp outside City Hall. Public Advocate Jumaane Williams had to give up the microphone to one protester, who apparently believed the focus of the rally needed to be on police brutality, not the street violence that’s surging in the five boroughs.

You don’t speak for us,” Shermain Laster, 45, shouted. “I’ve been down here for fourteen days protesting against police brutality… you haven’t been here.”

The momentarily tense situation was de-escalated by Williams, Bronx/Westchester Congressional candidate Jamaal Bowman and Iesha Sekou from Street Corner Sources.

As things settled one protester, Laster, was invited to speak at the podium alongside Williams.

The passionate exchange, Williams said, was interconnected to the recent surge in violence occurring across the city, and he said it was representative of its solution.

“We need leadership, the violence is too much, the police will play their part, the groups will play their part, electeds will play their part, we need the resources, we need the funding, we need the political courage and political will to address the pain we heard today,” Williams told reporters outside of 1 Centre Street.

Two things are desperately needed to quell the violence. First, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea is right when he talks about the impact that largely shutting down the city’s criminal justice system since March has had on violence. The city needs a functioning criminal justice system if it’s going to attempt to hold violent criminals accountable for their actions. That starts with the NYPD and ends with the court system, but right now leaders like de Blasio are far more likely to see the criminal justice system as part of the problem, not part of the solution.

The city also needs to recognize the fact that its gun control regime is doing nothing to stop these shootings. The state’s SAFE Act isn’t keeping people safe, and the city’s draconian licensing laws are doing far more to keep New Yorkers from legally owning a gun than in keeping guns out of the hands of criminals. As crime spikes, more residents, particularly those in high crime neighborhoods, are going to be more likely to illegally acquire a gun for self-defense simply because they have no legal way of exercising their Second Amendment rights.

Given the lack of leadership from the mayor on down, I don’t see these needed changes happening anytime soon. That “perfect storm” is likely to linger over the city for some time, and a deluge of more violence should be expected in the weeks to come unless and until de Blasio and other public officials are willing to acknowledge their own failures in addressing the crisis.