Even before the weekend, shootings were already on the rise. According to NYPD data, as of June 21, shootings were up 42 percent compared to the previous year.
There are all kinds of reasons why gun violence has increased, compounded by the coronavirus pandemic, protests against police brutality, and economic strife and massive unemployment.
But if you listen to the NYPD’s top brass, there’s basically one explanation: criminal justice reforms. The bail reform laws, some of which have been rolled back, have “emptied out” jails, putting “bad people” back on the streets.
This reasoning is sorely misguided, and simply doesn’t take into account an array of other factors afflicting the city.
As Councilman Donovan Richards pointed out Monday, summer youth funding has been cut, playgrounds were closed until recently, and people have been cooped up in their homes for months.
Mayor Bill de Blasio attributes the rise in violence to the poor economy and a court system not functioning at full capacity.
When asked about a rise in shootings last week, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams spoke about the proliferation of handguns in Black and brown communities.
All of these reasons, and more, likely play a role in the uptick. City officials should study further, and provide evidence to back their claims.
If the NYPD wants people to take their explanation seriously, they should have data to prove it. So far, we have seen no evidence that criminal justice reforms have led to a rise in shootings.
Until we do, the police department should stop blaming hard-earned reforms that only seek to make cops more accountable for their actions.