Last year, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio made a show of de-funding the NYPD to the tune of $1 billion, which included dismantling the department’s plain clothes Anti-Crime Unit. Now, with crime and shootings skyrocketing throughout the city, Harlem business owners and residents want the street crimes unit to return.
“With the business establishments having outside events, the concern is one of these bullets, like we see in the city so many times, actually striking a patron,” community advocate Alpheaus Marcus said.
Store owners on the strip said they’ve also seen an increase in drug dealers and gang members who use gun violence to solidify their territory.
“In the area there’s a lot of gang violence. A lot of young kids are getting shot. Honestly speaking, it’s over nothing and it’s putting a lot of lives in danger,” Donnell Van Duyne said.
In the 32nd Precinct, so far this year there have been 31 shooting incidents compared to 19 at the same time last year. That’s a 63% increase.
That’s why business owners and community leaders are demanding the NYPD put in place more comprehensive police policies.
“What we want is, especially de Blasio with his last four months to stop playing politics. We want them to reactivate the plainclothes unit, because, again, these shootings are reckless and senseless,” Marcus said.
— Natalie Duddridge in Troubled By Gun Violence, Many In Harlem Neighborhood Want To See NYPD Bring Back Plainclothes Officers