Mayor Bill de Blasio is finally announcing a few anti-crime initiatives, but nothing that has any chance of getting the crisis under control.
The number of shootings in the city skyrocketed last year — doubling 2019’s figure. And so for this year, as The Post’s Larry Celona reported last week, the city has seen 64 percent more shootings than during the same period in 2020, 328 vs. 200.
In the previous week alone, shootings spiked a full 250 percent over the same week last year, from 8 to 28. Rapes rose 15 percent, felony assaults 42 percent, grand larcenies 81 percent and hate crimes 500 percent. Spring must be in the air.
Murders are up, too, year-to-date. Yes, “only” 6 percent, but that follows a year when killings spiked 45 percent, to 462, nearly 60 percent more than 2018’s slayings.
Just this month, a 5-year-old was shot in Brooklyn, a tourist caught a bullet in Manhattan and a 66-year-old Asian man was sucker-punched in The Bronx. On Wednesday, a 51-year-old woman was executed in broad daylight on a Brooklyn street.
For months, de Blasio has offered the same pabulum about the crime jump: “Everything’s interconnected, bringing back the city, bringing back the jobs, bringing back the schools,” he says.
That is, it’s all COVID’s fault, nothing will change until the pandemic’s gone — and too bad about all the pain and lives lost until then.
Yet the mayor now finally seems at least to understand the problem: Last week City Hall ordered some 80 uniformed cops to crack down on violent vagrants in Midtown. That followed desperate pleas from business groups (Vornado Realty Trust, Brookfield Properties, the Times Square Alliance) that workers and tourists won’t return, even post-COVID, unless the area’s safe.
He also says he’ll build a new NYPD precinct in southeast Queens — a project he canceled amid last year’s “Defund the police” madness, outraging the mostly black neighborhood that’s sought it for years.
Yet getting the message is one thing; taking the right steps quite another. For example, he’s rolling out several initiatives to address gun violence, with 200 cops focusing on hot spots. That’s fine, but he tried that last year with 300 officers — with little success.
Ditto for his gun-buyback programs, “Saturday Night Lights” basketball games and anti-violence fairs, which he’ll revive this year, despite their failure in 2020.
Among the many measures he won’t take: truly re-funding the NYPD, demanding Albany fix bail reform (properly, this time), restoring broken-windows policing, redeploying anti-crime units that got guns off the streets and removing legal handcuffs slapped on police.
Heck, he’s even leery about dispatching Digidog, the $70,000 robotic mutt equipped with lights, two-way communication and video cameras — and no weaponry. It might “undermine trust,” he says. Uh, hello? What does he think a 250 percent spike in shootings will do?
Looks like New Yorkers will just have to pin their hopes on the next mayor to rein in crime, because de Blasio surely won’t.