Following a dispute that resulted in the shooting of a 21-year-old man in Times Square on Sunday afternoon, Mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday a new safety plan that would “flood the zone” with increased police presence.
Under the Times Square Safety Action Plan, the city will provide 50 additional officers to the tourist hotspot while also increasing the enforcement of illegal vending related to gun violence, said the mayor at his June 28 daily briefing. The officers would be a mix of both visible and undercover law enforcement.
“This is a place that is just so precious and so important to our city. It has to be safe,” de Blasio said.
The shooting happened around 5 p.m. on June 27 in the vicinity of the Marriott Marquis Hotel, just about six weeks after another Times Square shooting back in May.
According to NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison, the plan would focus on engagement with street vendors and cooperation with other agencies including Consumer Affairs, DOT and the Time Square Alliance.
“After this shooting and the shooting we had a couple weeks ago, it’s important that we put a lot more of a police presence over there trying to engage some of the issues we’re seeing with the soliciting or aggressive panhandling of CDs,” said Harrison.
He added that the motive for the shooting is still unknown but the investigation is ongoing.
Back in April, the New York Post reported the mayor’s plan to deploy 80 uniformed NYPD officers to Times Square as part of the newly created Business Improvement Unit, which aimed to make the area safer for workers coming back after COVID-19.
But the mayor said that the city needs to make “further adjustments” in policing following the recent shootings in the area.
“When you see something develop, you make further adjustments. We think that the adjustments we need to make now [are] more overt policing more undercovers, more work on the vendor issue. So we’re going to expand it further, especially given that Times Square is getting busier and busier. It’s night and day compared to April,” the mayor said.
At the briefing, Chief Harrison said that the new safety plan was put in place on June 27, immediately following the recent shooting.