De Blasio: We're going to flood the city with police officers

AP Photo/Kevin Hagen)

We still have no idea who the next Mayor of New York City will be thanks to their new ranked-choice voting scheme, but we know it won’t be the current City Hall occupant, Bill de Blasio. Hizzoner is term-limited and is not eligible to run in November. But he clearly has some unfinished business on his plate before he packs his things. There was yet another shooting in Times Square on Sunday in broad daylight. Thankfully, the innocent bystander who took the bullet survived, but it was yet another reminder of the spiraling crisis of gang violence in the city and even the normally timid press corps has started asking the Mayor about it. In response, de Blasio did an about-face from his policies of the past couple of years and said that the situation was “unacceptable” and promised that he would “flood the zone” with additional police officers. This no doubt comes as a great surprise to the men and women of the New York City Police Department, who have basically been abused and abandoned by City Hall and have been leaving in droves. (Gothamist)

Authorities are continuing to investigate a shooting that wounded a bystander in Times Square on Sunday. The incident, which follows another daylight shooting in the “Crossroads of the World” last month, prompted Mayor Bill de Blasio to promise that the city would “flood the zone” with police officers.

“It is just an unacceptable state of affairs,” he said during his Monday press briefing. “This is a place that is precious and so important to New York City. It has to be safe, so we are adding additional officers.” …

Fifty more officers will be stationed in the vicinity of the shooting, the mayor explained, as part of a “Times Square Safety Action Plan.” Another measure will be to increase enforcement around illegal vending.

Times Square has never been the safest place for pedestrians and tourists in the best of times, particularly with all of the aggressive panhandlers and “street artists” demanding money and frequently becoming very hostile if they don’t get it. But the situation has deteriorated considerably since the BLM riots began during the “summer of love.” And now that the city is reopening after the shutdown, the pedestrian traffic of all kinds is only increasing, so all manner of badness is being seen. But the spate of shootings has taken things to a new level.

Bill de Blasio is suddenly talking a good game, but these comments have generated plenty of speculation and left observers with questions. First of all, where will these fifty additional police officers come from? It was de Blasio himself who kowtowed to the “defund the police” activists from BLM and slashed the NYPD’s budget while excoriating them in public. They are already well short of their target staffing levels because they can’t replace the retiring cops and those that have simply quit fast enough to keep up their numbers.

If the Mayor orders the NYPD to pull fifty officers from somewhere else, that’s only going to shift the problem’s location. Criminals and gang members aren’t entirely stupid and they know where police coverage is thin. Of course, de Blasio may not care because Times Square is a major tourist destination and source of municipal revenue. A few more gang shootings further out in the Bronx won’t generate as many headlines I suppose.

I’ve seen some other people speculating that the Mayor’s motives may be more complicated, however. He’s nearing the end of his term and that means that he and his family will lose most of their 24/7 armed security coverage. De Blasio may have been a terrible mayor, but he’s not stupid. He doesn’t want to get gunned down in the midst of the violence that he helped create. So perhaps we’re about to see the emergence of the new version of de Blasio that’s the “tough on crime” mayor. It’s really not that crazy of a suggestion.

We should keep in mind that Bill de Blasio can’t do all of this on his own, or at least not in an effective manner. It took the cooperation of the City Council to slash the NYPD’s budget and it will take their cooperation to come up with the funds to restore the police force. The next mayor may have better luck, but if Bill wants fast action, he’s going to need to start twisting some arms. And a public apology to the NYPD would go a long way also, but I somehow doubt we’ll be hearing that any time soon.