Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez held a town hall meeting last Thursday during which she speculated about why crime is up sharply in New York City. We’ll get to her explanation in a moment, but first here’s the NY Times on the surge in shootings in NYC:
It has been nearly a quarter century since New York City experienced as much gun violence in the month of June as it has seen this year.
The city logged 125 shootings in the first three weeks of the month, more than double the number recorded over the same period last year, police data show. Gunmen opened fire during house parties, barbecues and dice games, and carried out coldly calculated street executions.
More than a dozen people have been fatally shot, including a teenager at her college graduation party and a clothing designer who was washing his car. “You have to go back to 1996 to have a worse start of June,” Michael LiPetri, the chief of crime control strategies, said in an interview on Monday.
So, again, AOC was speculating about why crime is up and here’s what she camp up wth: “So why is the uptick in crime happening? Well, let’s think about it,” AOC said. She continued, “Do we think this has to do with the fact that there is record unemployment in the United States right now? The fact that people are at a level of economic desperation that we have not seen since the great recession.
“Maybe this has to do with the fact that people aren’t paying their rent and are scared to pay their rent and so they go out and they need to feed their child and they don’t have money so you maybe have to—they’re put in a position where they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry that night.” Here’s the clip.
AOC on increased NYC crime: “Maybe this has to do with the fact that people aren’t paying their rent & are scared to pay their rent & so they go out & they need to feed their child & they don’t have money so… they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry.” pic.twitter.com/oHSTWWJZ6a
— The Hill (@thehill) July 12, 2020
AOC is correct that the $1 billion in cuts for the NYPD have not taken effect yet. However, other changes have taken effect including the disbanding of the plainclothes anti-crime units.
In any case, AOC mostly just sounds out of touch here. The crimes that are skyrocketing in New York City right now are murder, burglary and grand theft. The increase in burglary may largely be tied to the looting that happened in New York a few weeks ago.
Over the last month, burglaries have sharply increased, with 1,691 incidents as compared to 759 the year before. Looting incidents that took place during demonstrations earlier in the month are included in the burglaries figure. For the year, burglaries are up 47% compared to this point last year, from 4,480 to 6,595.
Car thefts, known as grand larceny auto, have also increased over 60%, with 3,078 incidents happening this year, up from 1,893 at this point last year. The car theft numbers are part of a national trend as fewer Americans travel and more cars sit idle in driveways and parking garages.
At the same time, comparing this past month to the same period last year, criminal complaints of rape are down 33%, complaints of robbery are down 23%, and complaints of grand larceny are down 44%, according to NYPD.
Remember the crews of looters who were arriving in front of stores in luxury cars and then driving off with the goods?
Looters are literally pulling up in nice cars and cleaning out stores in #Soho. What #Curfew? #RIOT #LootingIsNotProtesting #GeorgeFloyd #NYCPROTEST #NYCRiots #NYPD @NBCNewYork pic.twitter.com/DBnKsEqkpu
— Keith Feldman (@NBCproducer) June 2, 2020
Does this have any connection to people stealing a loaf of bread so they don’t starve? I don’t think so. As for the increase in shootings, here’s what CNN reported about that: “The uptick in murders is tied to gang and drug activity, with drug dealers fighting over territory, another law enforcement official said.” Just this weekend a 1-year-old baby was killed at a cookout:
A 1-year-old baby boy was killed and three men were wounded on Sunday night when two gunmen opened fire on people at a cookout in a Brooklyn park, the latest casualty in a summer of spiraling gun violence in New York, the police said…
The baby, Davell Gardner, was in his stroller when the shooting broke out at about 11:30 p.m. near the Raymond Bush Playground in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood, the police said.
Two gunmen, dressed all in black, approached the group, fired and fled, the police said. Davell was hit in the abdomen and later died at a local hospital, the police said.
To be clear in case AOC doesn’t get it, the shooters weren’t there to steal hot dogs from the cookout because they can’t afford food. They were there to shoot people probably because of some gang issue.
This uptick in crime, which is happening in other cities too, may not be connected to the budget cuts which haven’t taken effect yet, but it could be connected to the sentiment behind those cuts. That anti-police sentiment is why police in many of these cities looking for the exit.
AOC supports defunding the police so she’s not going to consider the possibility that what we’re seeing now is just a preview of things to come.