The NYPD is launching a new citywide initiative in response to the increased number of shootings and thefts as well as the rise in quality-of-life offenses that contribute to crime.
In response to the public safety concerns of New York City residents, the NYPD will deploy officers across all boroughs and bureaus to rapidly identify and respond to crime trends and to address the conditions that fuel them.
“As I stated on my first day as Commissioner, after visiting an officer who was shot two hours and thirty-nine minutes into the New Year, there are too many people carrying illegal guns and too many people willing to use them,” said NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell. “That has to change. Now.”
This new community-driven initiative is a direct response to the victims of violent crimes. Uniformed officers will augment the mission of the newly-deployed Safety Teams by expanding their focus beyond 911 calls and performing a proven best practice for reducing violent crime: proactive engagement with offenders who commit violations that lead up to an act of violence.
The Neighborhood Safety Teams will work with the Neighborhood and Youth Coordination Officers (NCOs and YCOs), as well as with the Field Intelligence Officers (FIOs) who focus on identifying the locations and individual drivers of violent crime in each command. This effort will require the support of the city’s District Attorneys’ offices, our federal and local law enforcement partners – including the Gun Violence Strategies Partnership, and all the people we serve.
“To be clear,” said Commissioner Sewell, “this is NOT a return to Stop, Question, and Frisk – nor is it ‘policing for numbers.’ This enforcement will be responsive to community complaints and concerns, and will address the violent crime patterns officers and detectives are confronting. This is precision-policing aimed at reducing violence in the neighborhoods seeing disproportionate numbers of shootings – and it is what the public is demanding.”
Over the last weekend, including Monday, March 21, New York City saw 31 shootings where people were struck by bullets. The community often brings complaints that can be precursors to violence, including the open-air selling of narcotics, including marijuana; public drinking; public urination; dice games that lead to disputes and shootings; and the dangers of unlicensed, unregistered, or uninsured drivers operating on the most crowded city streets in the nation.
“These are the things that people are calling to complain about,” said Chief of Department Kenneth Corey, “and the NYPD owes them a response. And while most encounters begin with a warning, when our officers see someone ignoring those warnings there will be enforcement.”
“We know from experience, as the weather gets warmer, that thirty-percent of all shooting incidents are preceded by multiple reports of other lawbreaking and violations leading up to that violence,” said Chief of Crime Control Strategies Michael LiPetri. “Engaging in proactive enforcement can be the difference that prevents that next shooting, and prevents the next child from being harmed.”
According to the NYPD, calls about groups drinking on the street have doubled to 3,193 from 1,452 in 2019, and that calls about loud parties in public spaces increased to 9,013 compared to 3,338 in 2019. In that same time period, calls reporting people with knives in the transit system increased by 139%, while reports of drug sales in the subway have increased by 71%.
“We have increased police presence and we have increased enforcement,” said Transit Bureau Chief Jason Wilcox. “As a result, we have increased ridership. We are back to an average of 6.3 index crimes a day on a system carrying between three and four million people – but our enforcement efforts in partnership with the MTA will not slow down”.
The first wave of this new initiative will focus on the Bronx and Brooklyn, where there were the most shooting incidents reported, specifically in the Brownsville, East New York, and Cypress Hills neighborhoods. Together, the NYPD precincts in these areas account for nearly half of the city’s shootings.