Tuesday, June 15

New York City’s ‘Safe Summer 2021’ plan faces litmus test to contain ‘epidemic’ of shootings

With just one foot on in the first hot days of this 2021 And with the bloody precedent of last weekend, when 30 shootings were confirmed, New York City authorities are betting all this year on the new program ‘Safe Summer’, to contain the ‘epidemic’ of shooting in the Big Apple in the summer season that is just beginning.

In this opportunity, ‘Safe Summer ‘ handles a very different recipe from previous years, when the main ingredient was to exponentially increase the police presence. Now more resources will be put into community intervention plans and the uniformed men will be deployed at very specific points.

This new ‘shield’ against criminal violence, which traditionally takes force on the hottest days of the year on the streets of the Big Apple, has nothing to do with the ‘All-out-summer’ plan that for more than five years stuffed some neighborhoods with civil servants, that they were even removed from their administrative duties of offices in the New York City Police Department (NYPD).

Mayor Bill de Blasio describes this strategy, which will have its first trial by fire this ‘Memorial Day’ holiday, as a “crisis management system that will engage people in their own communities to combat gun violence and bring our city back ”.

This ‘Safe Summer’ plan carries, that only last April, the action of firearms had an alarming 166% increase with respect to 2020, a year already located in the records of the last two decades as the most violent, also marked by the pandemic, the new bail law, police reforms and racial tensions.

This summer a police presence is emerging only in strategic points. (Photo: F. Martínez)

How to stop the violence?

Specifically, one of the clearest actions of this plan has been to direct more resources to violence interruption organizations led by community leaders, who in many cases have had problems with the justice system in the past. And now they approach young people to persuade them to get away from crime.

The Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice targeted 31 hot spots in the city, but this time not to send more police reinforcements, but to increase the budget for coalitions that claim to have experience in lower the ‘fire pressure’ in the poorest neighborhoods.

For example, Maria Lopez of the organization ‘Down with bullets, Up with Life’ (GDLU) which has its operation center in the Hospital Lincoln from the Bronx, he assured The newspaper that the idea is that the “nightmare of previous years” should not continue to be repeated.

“As community leaders, we approach people, children from violent areas, who do not trust the Police. We know exactly what it is about and how to get them out of that world so that they do not commit misdeeds and know that they have programs where the City helps them, ”shared María of Puerto Rican origin.

With an investment of almost $ 40 million The Municipal Administration has partnered with a network of violence interruption groups, expanding this 2021, to 22 police stations of the five boroughs.

Jessica Mofield, spokesperson for the Mayor’s Office to Prevent Armed Violence (OPGV), argues that this formula has long been shown to “not only reduce incidents of violence in neighborhoods,” but is also an effective way to ensure that the services arrive to those most in need.

María López: “Community intervention is key to overcoming violence.” (Photo: F. Martínez)

Queens on the map

This summer there will be other news in the bulletproof strategy. East Queens is now on the stock map, joining the hot spots of The Bronx, North of Brooklyn and the Upper Manhattan.

There, where the NYPD Police Station 105 has its action, it is located one of the largest geographic areas to cover, with almost 13 square miles and 354 miles of roads. Where in addition, all the alarms have been turned on, before a 50% increase in shootings in the first months of this year.

There are already reactions from local leaderships. Donovan Richards, Queens County President acknowledges that it is extremely difficult to keep the peace in some communities that “are overwhelmed.” But, he has the faith that with the expansion of resources to organizations to “Cure violence” in these neighborhoods, at the end of the summer other accounts could be drawn.

“It is a welcome resource that East Queens needs. We must do everything possible to stop gun violence and invest in our neighborhoods while keeping them safe, ”Richards remarked.

Two organizations like the King of Kings Foundation Y ‘100 Suits for 100 Men’, since the beginning of May they have more financial resources to approach youth at risk of joining gang action or simply being tempted to commit criminal acts.

Listening to the block

The District Attorney from Queens Melinda Katz, showed her confidence in these “multifaceted actions” to stop the criminal escalation.

“The safest district is the one where we work with our youth to make sure they never become part of the criminal justice system. The Mayor’s Office of Criminal Justice has taken an important step to stop gun violence and end the cycle of pain in our neighborhoods”, subrayó Katz.

Uniform Police Station 105 serves communities in Queens Village, Cambria Heights, Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens, Bellerose, Glen Oaks, New Hyde Park, and Floral Park.

In these neighborhoods, NYPD members have organized virtual meetings to hear the fears of the neighbors, under the strategy called ‘Building your Block’. Days of delivery of firearms in exchange for cash are also being promoted for the next few weeks.

The same dynamics of police interaction is ahead in all five boroughs.

NYPD bids for more overtime

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, in the midst of the struggle that continues in the city for the budget of the police institution, has defended the thesis that they need “more cops and overtime pay”To fight crime during the months of pandemic recovery.

The top NYPC chief acknowledged in a City Council hearing that overtime investment It is at a minimum of 15 years.

Last year a total of $ 837.5 million in payment of additional time of officers, and an average of $ 740.4 million in the last five years. Local legislators propose reducing more funds for the Uniformada.

“Overtime is a vital tool in maintaining public safety. It allows us a deployment in neighborhoods with increasing levels of shootings, even in our transit system and housing developments, ”Shea defended.

Sports leader Darío De León believes that police authority must be strengthened. (Photo: F. Martínez)

Criminals are ‘raised’

While the news about violent acts involving gunpowder They continue to abound in the Big Apple, some commercial sectors demand more police presence in the neighborhoods, especially the poorer ones.

Such is the case of Radhames Rodríguez, president of the Union of Bodegueros de América (UBA), who comments that his union is at the extreme of those who demand more strength and presence of officers in the streets.

“We who are in every block of this city, we are witnesses and we suffer from day to day what happens with crime. Need triple more official in the Bronx, for example. I understand that there are programs to help boys get ahead and give them opportunities, but that will not be achieved in a few months ”, estimated the leader of this union.

In Rodríguez’s opinion, almost all winemakers experience situations uncomfortable and threatening, because many young people lost “respect for authority.”

“The days of violence are coming and we as a union continue to demand more action, so that the officials fulfill their function. We see how they enter young men raised with guns to our businesses every day. There are many weapons on the street. We are going back to the 80s, ″ he said.

In addition, Darío de León, Dominican community leader and sportsman from Upper Manhattan comments that he is on the side of more authority and law in the city.

“My humble opinion is that you can’t be very flexible because people abuse. We have to support the police more ”. concluded.

2020 has already been surpassed in violence

  • 552 shootings this year compared to 309 between January 1 and May 16, 2020, when gun violence soared during the pandemic.
  • 44 homicides in the Big Apple through April, up from 38 homicides in April 2020.
  • 78.6% It’s the increase in shooting records in all five boroughs this year through May 16, according to NYPD CompStat data.
  • 23% They have increased the percentage of murders this year until last Sunday compared to the same period last year.
  • 1 in five voters The Big Apple is currently “concerned about public safety,” more than anything else amid the pandemic, according to a Manhattan Institute report.
  • 77% has been the increase in arrests for illegal possession of weapons in the first days of 2021, based on the NYPD balance sheets.

More of the formula ‘Safe Summer 2021’


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