New York City Crime Rates Skyrocket

Cristian Garcia, Editorial Writer

In New York City, on February 13, 2022, Christina Yuna Lee, was fatally stabbed by Assamad Nas in her home in Chinatown. NBC News reported that police were able to arrest Nas a day later. However, Lee’s death is one of the many issues that New York City Police must cover.

Since the beginning of 2022, New York City has been plagued by an increase of crime in just two months. Many community leaders have been worried about these increases. Not even police officers are fully safe from the crime situation.

On January 24, Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora were fatally shot during a 911 response. As of January, Leshawn McNeil, the suspect, was recovering from shots to the head and right arm. “The NYPD will forever work to ensure public safety and will never give up on this city,” said NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, reported by NBC New York.

“This is our solemn vow to New Yorkers and to New York City. It remains critical that all partners come to the table in this shared mission to combat gun violence. It is the purpose-driven work that allows NYPD officers to honor the lives of their two recently murdered colleagues, First Grade Detectives Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora. We will never forget the light they shine for us and we will never relinquish our privileged duty as society’s guardian.”

Subway attacks have been occuring more and more often, despite the creation of a patrol by police in the stations. The Daily Mail reported that six people have been stabbed during the weekend, making these people at least one of the 300 violent incidents in subway stations this year so far. These 6 violent incidents happened as New York City Mayor Eric Adams (Democratic) and New York Governor Kathy Hochul (Democratic) discussed a new safety plan measure for the Subway incidents on Friday 18, along with tackling the issue of homelessness.

“We know it’s a big problem. But shame on us if this moment in time, if we don’t turn over every single stone, find every possible way to deal with this,” Hochul said. According to Eyewitness News ABC report, NYPD officers will be patrolling the subways, enforcing MTA’s code of conduct, escorting passengers in and off the train, with response teams being expanded, along with a joint force of police patrol and mental health professionals.

“We are back again, and it’s imperative we have the right response that has the combination of being humane but clear,” Adams said. However, as of February 18, subway crimes rate about 65%, and it’s not just the Subways that police must be patrolling.

Since the pandemic, gun violence has been rising in New York City. At least seven 16-year-olds were killed in shootings in 2021. Additionally, including Rivera and Mora, 32 officers have been shot on the job in 2022, five of them being fatal. According to Amny reports, citywide shooting incidents increased by 31.6% in January 2022 compared with the same period last year, rising from 76 in 2021 to 100 last month. “No neighborhood is safe,” one Brooklyn cop warned February 15. “At this rate, we will lose the city by St. Patrick’s Day.”

Apart from shooting and murder (which decreased by 15%), grand larceny (theft of personal property) has skyrocketed to 58.1%, from 2,559 crimes in 2021 to 4,047. Auto-theft has also increased from 91-93%, with 1,187 reported crimes comparable to 620 in 2021. Other criminal rates that been rising is sexual assualt (increase by 26.7%), robbery (increase by 33.1%), and felony assault (increase by 12.3%) reported by NBC New York. In total, an increase of 38.5% crime rate has happened in New York City compared to last year. “Near-zero temperatures can’t keep the criminals away,” a Bronx cop told The Post. “It will only get worse as it gets warmer.”

The situation is very dire. So much so that President Biden visited on February 10, to enter discussion about New York City. This is due to the 2022 elections coming up, and Republicans have been taking advantage of Biden’s approach, claiming he is not being “too tough” on crime, self-advocating in being able to take control of the situation. “I think we all agree or should agree that violent crime is a serious problem,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this week. “Our view is that instead of turning this into a political football, we need to be focused from the beginning of the president’s time in office on reducing crime and keeping our communities safe.”

From what I have seen and heard from documentaries and websites, New York City’s present crime rate isn’t as high as the late 1970s and early 90s, when the Big Apple was known as “Fear City” due to the Mafia control, the catapulting crack epidemic, and the infamous Son of Sam Killer. Regardless, the current crime rate statistics is making the City image look as an insecure place to live in. I remember seeing the Subway violent incidents on the news, it made me think about using the trolley for a while. Then the city crime began to be revealed, which started to make me wonder if New York City was safe? My biggest concern is that policemen may start to use excessive force if the crime rate increases.

Since May 2020, there have been protest about police brutality after the murder of George Floyd in which many call for a deescalation to the police. Now, with New York City’s rampant crime rising, it seems that the mayor must now respond with more police presence, that may lead to discrimination towards people.