Amid anti-police protests and demands to shift resources away from law enforcement, there has been an alarming crime surge in New York City — specifically violent offenses like robberies, shootings, and murders.
Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-NY) doesn’t see the linkage between the spike in crime and anti-police animus, however, and instead bafflingly suggested that the “uptick” in crime was attributable to high unemployment and people needing to shoplift bread for starving children, as Breitbart reported — further eroding her already shaky credibility.
The way she sees it
That rather obtuse version of “her truth” came during a recent virtual town hall meeting online where the congresswoman downplayed and ignored the impact on the city’s crime rate of the defund and police reform movements and the veritable free-for-all on the streets by criminals and opportunists.
“So why is this uptick in crime happening? Well, let’s think about it,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “Do we think this has to do with the fact there’s record unemployment in the United States right now? The fact that people are at a record-level of economic desperation that we have not seen since the Great Recession?”
“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 you maybe have to — they’re put in a position where they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry that night,” she continued.
“Maybe its the fact that unemployment provisions have not been given to everyone. Maybe its because the fact that people have — some people haven’t gotten their stimulus check yet,” the congresswoman added.
The problem is that the crime rate isn’t surging because people are shoplifting bread and other groceries to feed their families, unless Ocasio-Cortez assumes the stolen sneakers, flat-screen TVs, and bottles of liquor taken by looting protesters, for example, are being converted into grocery money for the benefit of starving children.
In reality, the rising crime in New York City, and the justifiable concern it has caused, largely stems from a huge increase in shootings, which are up more than 130% over last year, according to the Daily Mail. To wit, while there were 89 shooting deaths at this point in the city last year, that toll has already reached at least 205 so far this year.
Budget cuts and bail reform
Prior to her out-of-touch remarks about shoplifting bread, Ocasio-Cortez first dismissed the recently announced $1 billion budget cut for the NYPD as having no measurable impact since it hadn’t gone into effect yet and also suggested that New York’s bail reform measures — which allow most criminal arrestees to be immediately released with no bond — as having no relation to the increase in crime citywide.
While she may be correct that the NYPD’s budget hasn’t officially been slashed by one-sixth just yet, it has already spurred consequential changes in the department, such as the disbandment of its 600-member plainclothes anti-crime unit, all officers from which were reassigned in mid-June.
At that time, local CBS affiliate WLNY reported that Pat Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association offered harsh criticism of the move, saying:
Anti-Crime’s mission was to protect New Yorkers by proactively preventing crime, especially gun violence. Shooting and murders are both climbing steadily upward, but our city leaders have clearly decided that proactive policing isn’t a priority anymore. They chose this strategy. They will have to reckon with the consequences.
Based on the aforementioned statistics, it seems that those consequences are sadly already coming to fruition.