The mayor’s office is combating some harsh crime numbers and spent most of Thursday’s press conference discussing tactics to secure a safer city.
Since June 13, shooting incidents are up to 634 compared to the previous 386, though August was a much safer month. “I am proud to report, the last 14 weeks we have cut that increase down to 30,” said NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison.
In the hopes that September and October will look a bit better, he and Mayor Bill de Blasio began a discussion centered on community involvement, with Renita Francois, executive director of the Mayor’s Action Plan for Neighborhood Safety, joining to discuss her work through NeighborhoodStat.
In Queensbridge, Francois’ resident stakeholder team planned to meet with residents to vote on solutions to gun violence and the physical conditions of the development.
“NeighborhoodStat is a critical step towards the power sharing with community that has to happen in order for us to sustain the safety outcomes that we want to see for our city,” Francois said.
So far, Queensbridge is down 20% in index crimes, she said. “At this point in 2019, there were five shootings in Queensbridge. So, we are doing better,” Francois continued.
De Blasio asked the executive director what the residents tell her team during these meetings. “If there are activities happening in their communities that they think decreases the wellbeing and the quality of life, they know that better than anyone, they’re there 24/7,” Francois said.
She mentioned that many Queensbridge residents speak different languages and come from different cultures. “All of these really hands-on things are just ways for them to strengthen their connections to one another,” she said, adding that this should in turn strengthen the connection between them and the police.
De Blasio applauded the NYPD for its work in reducing crime. “We’ve got a lot of work to do, but it’s important to recognize the ways the NYPD continues to improve its approach, continues to make an impact,” he said. He sees an uptick in gun arrests as a positive sign. “Gun arrests, year-to-date – this is such a powerful figure – 23 percent up year-to-date, one of the highest, best years for gun arrests in the history of New York City,” he said.