NEW YORK — As shootings and murders have nearly doubled in Brownsville over the past year, Mayor Bill de Blasio says the city and the NYPD are fighting the surge of violence and take it seriously.
In a special series focusing on the sharp spike in gun violence in Brownsville’s 73rd Precinct, NY1’s Dean Meminger reports that murders in the neighborhood have risen by 72.7 percent over the last year (11 in 2019 through Labor Day compared to 19 by that point in 2020) and shooting victims increased by 95.5 percent (44 shooting victims by Labor Day 2019 compared to 86 this year).
“The 73rd Precinct is a place where there is a real community concern,” he said in his weekly “Mondays with the Mayor” interview on Inside City Hall, “elected officials concerned about the precinct commander. Commissioner [Dermot] Shea made a change there. He actually chose someone who grew up in Brownsville to take over that command.”
The mayor pointed out that the city has faced upticks in violence before but the NYPD fought it back. He believes the department will do again.
“I know there have been serious moves to send more officers in from different parts of the NYPD to support the efforts in that precinct, including members of the Strategic Response Group, to really beef up the amount of resources that precinct commander has available to him,” he said. “So the situation in Brownsville, we are focused on it. We will fight it back.”
He said the coronavirus and the resulting shutdowns to wide swaths of New York City have much to do with the surge in violence.
“We’ve all been dealing with this perfect storm of everything being closed and there is tremendous frustration and pain in our communities. But we are starting to get better,” he said. “Whatever moves we need to make and whatever adjustments we need to make it, we will make it.”
The mayor also talked about the impending opening of schools for in-person classes, set for next Monday, saying it’s likely some classrooms will shut down as teachers, students, and staff test positive for the virus. The city has protocols to shut down classrooms, or even entire schools, if students or staff test positive for COVID-19, but the exact action the city will take in response depends on the situation. Last week, a school in the Bronx temporarily closed due to two positive coronavirus tests.
The mayor also addressed the temporary pause on moving homeless men out of hotels on the Upper West Side and in Queens amid uproar. De Blasio said the city’s goal was never to have homeless people stay in hotels permanently.
“Staying true to the plan we actually laid out three years ago,” he said. “We want to be out of every hotel where we pay by the night for homeless folks. That’s not what we should be doing long term. We should be in specific shelters with support … Get them back on their feet, get them to affordable housing.”
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Watch the full “Mondays with the Mayor” interview above.
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