NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — The rash of scary knife slashings in New York City continued unabated this week, and now, even police officers are being attacked.
CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer was demanding answers from Mayor Bill de Blasio about what he plans to do to stop it.
The corner of Saratoga Avenue and Marion Street in Brownsville, Brooklyn does not look particularly dangerous in the bright light of sunshine. But it was the very spot where a plainclothes NYPD Anti-Crime officer was slashed from her neck to her cheek with a box cutter as she tried to break up a quarrel early Sunday.
The officer, whose name has not been released, was taken to New York Methodist Hospital where she was treated and released.
A suspect – Xiomora Velez – 27, was arrested. Velez faces charges of assaulting an officer, menacing, resisting arrest and weapons possession.
The slashing was just one of at least four this weekend. Police released surveillance video of two suspects stabbing and slashing a woman in the Bronx.
Since the beginning of the year, the NYPD said there has been more than 530 slashings or stabbings across the city compared to just over 440 during the same period last year. That amounts to a 20 percent increase, and New Yorkers are on edge.
“It’s very scary to know that, you know, violent people are really out here, trying to hurt people for really no good reason,” said Laura Cummings of Washington Heights.
“It definitely puts me on edge,” said Sara Bravmann of Chelsea. “It’s scary. It’s scary because you never know who’s going to be targeted or when it’s going to happen.”
Benny Masondo of Washington Heights said he does not think the city is doing enough.
“I don’t think so – I think the city could be more diligent in their efforts,” Masondo said.
Kramer took the questions and concerns to the mayor, since they were not in a position to talk to him directly.
Kramer: “Even a plainclothes cop was slashed. My question to you is very simple – what are you going to do to stop the slashings, stop the stabbings, and make New Yorkers feel safe?”
De Blasio: “We are adding 2,000 cops. In the course of this year, there will be 2,000 more cops on the beat in this city. Nothing is going to contribute to greater safety than that.”
Echoing earlier remarks by police Commissioner Bill Bratton, the mayor said the slashings do not represent a pattern, WCBS 880’s Rich Lamb reported. But Kramer said regardless, the new officers the mayor mentioned are not on the street right now.
Kramer: “Mayor, the cops are coming sometime later this year.”
De Blasio: “No, they’re coming in waves, but go ahead.”
Kramer: “But the stabbings are happening now and people are afraid. What can you say to them?”
De Blasio: “More police are coming, which is the best way to address this problem. And they’re coming regularly, Marcia – it’s not just the end of the year – and the police we have are targeting any area where we have a problem.”
To the mayor’s point of putting more officers on the street, the NYPD said a class of 1,200 graduated from the Police Academy about four months ago. But even with them on the street, the number of slashings has spiked.
Another 681 officers are expected to graduate next month, and there will be an undisclosed number of officers in a police class that starts in April. They will not be on the street until at least October.