New York Mayor Bill de Blasio has said the city is safer with fewer criminals in prison, despite a recent spike in violent crimes.
De Blasio made the remarks on Wednesday during a speech delivered at an event where he signed into law the NYPD Accountability Package. The package is said to be a comprehensive set of police reforms aimed at increasing transparency within the NYPD.
“People said that if we reduced incarceration and ended the era of mass incarceration, we would be endangered,” de Blasio said. “It was the other way around, my friends. We now have fewer people in our jails than any time since World War II and we are safer for it and better for it.”
DE BLASIO: “We now have fewer people in our jails than any time since WW2 and we are safer for it and better for it” pic.twitter.com/isOM3P8yZ4— Poso (@JackPosobiec) July 16, 2020
The Mayor made the comments despite the city reporting an increase in violent crimes, including shootings.
The Washington Examiner reports that last weekend, 15 people were shot in a 15-hour period, “more than triple the number of shootings that happened this time last year. There have been 43 shootings in the last week, compared to 13 during the same time period in 2019. Over Independence Day weekend, there were 10 shootings and one person killed in a nine-hour span.
The Examiner continues: “June saw more of the same, with law enforcement sources telling the New York Post that murders and shootings were much higher than in the same period last June. Thirteen murders and 40 shootings took place between June 1-7, compared to five murders and 24 shootings during the same time period in 2019.”
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez suggested the increase in crime could be because residents don’t have enough money to pay their rent.
“Maybe this has to do with the fact that people aren’t paying their rent and are scared to pay their rent and so they go out and they need to feed their child and they don’t have money so… they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry,” Ocasio-Cortez said.
AOC on increased NYC crime: "Maybe this has to do with the fact that people aren't paying their rent & are scared to pay their rent & so they go out & they need to feed their child & they don't have money so… they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry." pic.twitter.com/oHSTWWJZ6a— The Hill (@thehill) July 12, 2020
Gov. Cuomo dismissed Ocasio-Cortez’s theory on Monday, calling it “factually impossible.”
“It is factually impossible that somebody committed a crime so they could pay their rent,” he said. “If you can’t pay your rent, you cannot be evicted right now.”
New York’s Tenant Safe Harbor Act protects tenants from being evicted for missing rent payments throughout the COVID-19 crisis, specifically from March 7 until all coronavirus-related restrictions are lifted in the tenant’s county.