Gun violence has been on the rise since the start of the pandemic last March. Mayor Bill de Blasio attributed the surge to a confluence of several situations brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic: people out of work, schools closed, churches, restaurants and cultural institutions shuttered.
In other words, life was unprecedentedly difficult and it was starting to make people snap.
But with the vaccine rollout, the city has been increasingly on the road to normalcy. Kids are back in school, people are going back to work, and there are more outlets for people to blow off steam and relax.
But that hasn’t slowed the shootings. In fact, New York City had its most violent week of the year, with 50 people shot in 46 different incidents over a seven-day period that ended Sunday night.
Nearly two dozen shootings over the weekend alone put an exclamation point on the violent week.
Last week, the mayor announced a plan to try and curb the violence, the hallmark of which is reassigning 200 cops to areas with surges in gun violence. But that’s been tried before.
In last year’s “Summer All Out” initiative, the city reassigned 300 cops to neighborhoods with upticks in gun violence with few tangible results. How can we expect different results this year with 100 fewer officers?
The mayor’s office also said it would increase the number of gun buyback programs and anti-violence fairs to try and address the issue.
We certainly don’t have the answers, but perhaps it’s time the NYPD and de Blasio administration start to look outside their own department and office for help.
Perhaps an independent commission consisting of community organizers and experts on curbing gun violence could be convened to help the city find solutions.
We just know that what’s been tried so far is not working.