NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Hundreds of cops were reassigned Monday to fight the spike in shootings across New York City.
“Operation All Out” is taking officers away from desk duty and putting them out on patrol for 90 days. Most are believed to be headed to Brooklyn and the Bronx, which have seen three-quarters of the shootings reported this year.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said shootings are up about eight percent citywide in 2014.
“We do notice, with concern, the fact that shootings have been up slightly,” he said. “We had 521 shootings for the first half of the year.”
The 313 additional officers hitting the streets are coming from important posts in internal affairs, counterterrorism and intelligence.
NYPD officials said the officers will be sent to the 10 precincts where gun violence is the highest.
“The residents of New York City will see more police officers on the street visible during the summer months,” said NYPD Chief of Department Philip Banks.
For example, the 103rd Precinct in Queens — which includes the neighborhoods of Jamaica, Hollis and Lakewood — will receive 82 more cops, some from the pool of desk officers and others from a group of 600 rookies also being dedicated to the crime spike.
Another high crime area, the 47th Precinct in the Bronx, has seen a 142 percent increase in shootings and a 900 percent increase in murders. That precinct is expected to receive an additional 40 officers, some of whom will be assigned to patrol the troubled Edenwald Houses public housing development.
“The police have a lot of work,” Dinorah Rodriguez, of Edenwald, told CBS 2’s Tony Aiello. “These people just keep shooting each other. I don’t understand that.”
While he acknowledged shootings are up, NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton noted that crime overall is down in the city.
“The idea that the sky is falling and the good old bad days are coming back again — not at all,” he told reporters, including WCBS 880’s Marla Diamond. “This is an incredibly safe city.”
Nevertheless, criminal justice expert John Eterno, a retired NYPD captain, said more cops will reassure residents, but reducing gun violence is a complicated task.
“I know, as a citizen, I feel better when I see that officer out in the field,” said John Eterno, a criminal justice professor at Molloy College.
“It’s better than nothing,” he added. “However, you need a far more targeted approach — where are the shootings coming from, are they gang-related, are they narcotics-related? You need far more information than ‘we have a bunch of shootings and we’re sending a bunch.'”
But Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association, is critical of the campaign. He said the NYPD is down 7,000 officers from its top patrol strength.
“Without the staffing, the job won’t get done,” he said. “This is a Band-Aid approach. They need to start hiring New York City police officers so we have enough to go out and battle crime that is on the street.”
The City Council recently floated a measure to hire 1,000 more police officers, but de Blasio has said he believes the current NYPD headcount of 35,000 officers is adequate to keep crime low.
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