As Shootings Spike, 300 NYC Police Sent to Patrol
With shootings rising, more than 300 officers working desk jobs and other duties from across 30 divisions inside the nation's biggest police department are being redeployed for 90 days to patrol the most high-crime streets, police officials said Monday.
The 313 officers from non-enforcement divisions of the New York Police Department - such as medical, the training academy and the personnel bureau - will man posts in 10 city precincts and five public-housing divisions with the largest volume of shootings, the officials said.
There have been 562 shootings so far this year compared with 514 such incidents this time last year, NYPD statistics through Sunday show.
Commissioner William Bratton told reporters that overall crime is still down by 3.3 percent and cautioned that the spike in shootings was not reflective of a larger trend toward lawlessness.
"I know there's been a lot of attention paid to the increase in shootings, that somehow or another our city is in crisis, somehow or another that this has started to get out of control," he said. "Not at all."
Shootings and homicides continue to decline historically in the nation's most populous city even though some years they may rise, Bratton said. In 1993, there were 966 homicides and 2,680 shootings, the statistics show.
The reassignment of officers, combined with a new class of rookies and the allocation of overtime, will result in about 1,000 extra officers walking the beat in the hot spot areas, Bratton said.
Asked if the officers, some of whom may have been working desk jobs for years, would be fit for duty, Chief of Patrol James O'Neill dismissed any concerns.
"They have to remember from where they came," he said, adding that they will get a two-day refresher class. "They have a gun and they have a shield, they'll remember how to do it."