Tuesday, October 21, 2014

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Bratton Dismisses Talk That City is Slipping Back to Crime-Ridden Past

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Police Commissioner William Bratton is hotly dismissing talk that the city is slipping back to its crime-ridden past. NY1's Josh Robin filed the following report.

Police Commissioner William Bratton says some are sewing "terror" by making it seem like New York is back to the bad old days.

"I'm sorry. One squeegee person is not an invasion," Bratton said. "I'm sorry. Elmo problems in Times Square are not being overrun by Elmos."

Still, there are complaints of aggressive performers, and police say shootings are up this year but far below historic highs.

Bratton says they're blips on the big picture. To drive home his point, aides flanked him with charts detailing plunging crime.

Some aren't convinced. The head of the sergeants union is all but warning national Democratic Party officials that delegates may be mugged if their convention is in Brooklyn. He and other critics say the de Blasio administration is handcuffing police officers.

There's flak from the other side, too, after Eric Garner's choking death at the hands of police.

Taken together, a new poll shows the New York City Police Department isn't as popular as it was under Mayor Michael Bloomberg. Nor is Bratton as prized as Bloomberg's commissioner, Ray Kelly.

"Polls relative to my popularity, etc. are really not of any great consequence to me, being quite frank with you," Bratton said.

He's doubling down on going after quality-of-life crimes and hinted that New Yorkers should soon expect to see officers with body cameras.

Meanwhile, two upcoming high-profile events has counterterrorism teams preparing. The first is the U.S. Open. The second is the United Nations General Assembly.

It comes amid concern that Americans are receiving terrorism training from a radical Islamist group controlling much of Iraq and Syria.

"We know for certain that there in excess of 100 Americans over there. We know for certain that there are people from this region over there," Bratton said.

Terrorism isn't suspected in recent security breaches at the Brooklyn Bridge. On that end, there are no reports of arrests for raising white flags last month, but officials are working to make it harder for the unauthorized to climb.

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