NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With gun violence continuing to skyrocket, Mayor Bill de Blasio on Tuesday finally unveiled his “Safe Summer NYC” plan. It focuses on putting more cops in high-crime areas and convincing gang members to trade in violent behavior for jobs and sports.
The NYPD says there has been a huge increase in gun violence in the 48th Precinct in the Bronx, including a deadly double shooting two weeks ago. It’s just one of several precincts scheduled to get more cops as the mayor struggles to make the city streets safe again, CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported.
“The 75 Precinct in East New York, we have a big spike in shootings, 67%. Brownsville, Brooklyn up 67% in shooting incidents as well,” Chief of Department Rodney Harrison said.
Harrison named some of the violence-plagued precincts that will be getting more cops to curb the spiraling-out-of-control gun violence. The 48th Precinct has seen a 116% spike in shootings.
The NYPD is shifting 200 cops from administrative jobs to street patrols, a dramatic decrease from the 300 cops who got anti-gun assignments last summer.
De Blasio was on the defensive.
“We’re going to make sure that the officers are where we need them to be and we’ll make adjustments. We’re going to be adjusting not just to the precinct level but down to the block level,” he said.
The major target will be gangbangers, like two rival Brownsville gangs alarmingly caught on video in a shootout last year.
But the city’s plan is not just about making more arrests. Officials hope to stop youth violence by offering positive alternatives, including:
- 2,000 summer jobs
- Night basketball games at 100 sites
- Gun buy-back programs
- The reactivation of Operation Ceasefire, which focuses on sending members of the community to talk to gang members
“In order for us to stop the violence, we have to get these young men and women in the right direction, get them out of the gangs, teach them a trade,” Harrison said.
It’s a tall order. The number of shooting victims was up 262% for the week that ended two days ago — 29 compared to eight last year.
Manny Gomez, a security expert and former NYPD sergeant who focused on violent crimes, said offering positive alternatives might not be the answer to getting gangbangers off the streets.
“They’re not very likely to break off from their gang culture and ethos to go play basketball or have other kinds of friendly activities with police officers,” Gomez said.
Gomez said the mayor needs to send a message to his police force that even in these defund-the-cops times, he supports them and wants them to take decisive action.
“If these violent criminals feel comfortable that the police are not really going to interact with them, are really there just to be a uniform presence, the violence will continue,” Gomez said.
Ending the violence is key to the city’s recovery from the coronavirus pandemic. As Gov. Andrew Cuomo has said repeatedly, the economy won’t come back unless people feel safe.