New York, NY – A politician vying to become New York City’s next mayor said the city’s defunded and understaffed police force is responsible for skyrocketing crime rates and needs to be held responsible for not solving more cases.
Andrew Yang, a staunch Democrat and Universal Basic Income (UBI) supporter, said he decided to run for mayor after his failed presidential campaign last year, according to Newsweek.
Recent polls indicate the entrepreneur-turned-politician may already be a frontrunner.
A cornerstone of Yang’s latest campaign focuses on skyrocketing crime rates that he claims police are simply refusing to combat.
According to statistics released by the NYPD in December, shootings have doubled since 2019, and murders are up 45 percent, Newsweek reported.
Arrests have been made in just under 32 percent of the homicides committed in 2020.
Yang said he would correct these issues by making sure New York Police Department (NYPD) personnel who don’t close cases as he sees fit face repercussions.
“First, the NYPD has to actually solve crimes and be held accountable when they don’t,” Yang declared in an op-ed published in the New York Daily News on Feb. 21. “Increased scrutiny of policing practices is no excuse for unsolved crimes. In my administration, lieutenants and captains won’t get promoted if they can’t improve these rates.”
New York Mayor Bill de Blasio and the New York City Council defunded the NYPD by a staggering $1 billion last year, resulting in the loss of 1,163 law enforcement positions as well as other cutbacks.
The department’s plainclothes Anti-Crime Unit has also been disbanded.
When riots broke out throughout the city last year, city official stood back and “allowed looting to take place for over a week…resulting in damage to an estimated 450 businesses,” then-President Donald Trump noted in September of 2020.
Huge numbers of veteran officers turned in their retirement papers over the summer – so many that NYPD had to put a cap on how many could leave per month.
According to NYPD statistics, the department witnessed the mass exodus of approximately 2,600 veteran officers by the end of last year – a whopping 72 percent increase from the year prior, Newsday reported.
NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said the number of retirements this year is already surpassing last year’s rate.
The commissioner said the department is continuing to struggle under the “very aggressive” surge in retirements that have forced him and other department leaders to figure out how to best provide services while simultaneously dealing with a slashed budget and less personnel.
NYPD had 34,184 officers in 2020, down from 36,900 in 2019, the New York Post reported.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio further handicapped his police force when he cancelled a July 2020 class of 1,200 recruits amid calls to defund the police department.
But Yang said the NYPD needs to get more officers out on the streets in areas surrounding bus stops and subways to help deter crime and to increase citizens’ sense of safety – even as countless politicians and protesters demand law enforcement officers make themselves less visible for the same reasons.
“Research shows that the mere presence of police in hotspots can deter crime, without increasing arrests,” Yang wrote in the New York Daily News op-ed.
Yang criticized the department for allowing officers to live outside the neighborhoods they serve, and said that will change if he is elected.
“While short-term increases in police presence should be part of the solution to safeguarding today’s hot spots, they won’t duplicate the benefits of a police force that knows what it’s like to live and work in those same neighborhoods,” Yang said.
“This is why I want all new officers live in the five boroughs — something many other municipal workers, including NYPD civilian employees, already must do, yet officers overwhelmingly do not,” he wrote. “Neighborhood policing requires having police actually live in our neighborhoods.”
Yang said it is also important to have a “civilian police commissioner who will be independent of the culture of the NYPD,” Newsweek reported. “If you’re going to change the culture of an organization it has to start at the top.”
Yang noted that it will take “more than leaning on the NYPD” to combat crime. As such, he would appoint a deputy mayor of public safety to give him daily updates about the “integrated public safety strategy” his administration would implement.
“Amazing programs are being pursued, including violence interrupters and mental health responders, but we need a point person to ensure that every program is coordinated and every resource is scrutinized for efficacy,” he wrote.
Thank you for the support! Let’s get NYC on its feet 👍🗽❤️ pic.twitter.com/sS95oF7Z6A
— Andrew Yang🧢🗽🇺🇸 (@AndrewYang) February 23, 2021
Establishing a “$1 billion basic income program for 500,000 of the poorest New Yorkers” will also help the city to rebound, Yang said.
“I think people know, if Andrew Yang had the ability to do so, I would love to give everyone in New York City $1,000 a month,” Yang recently told Newsweek. “That would be phenomenal.”
He has also touted his relationship with President Joe Biden, as well as his other “strong relationships with folks in D.C.,” Newsweek reported.
“I’m friendly with dozens of people on Capitol Hill,” Yang told the news outlet. “I’m friends with a similar number of people who are working in the administration. It’s not just Joe. I’m friends with Kamala. I’m friends with [Transportation Secretary] Pete [Buttigieg]. I’m friends with a lot of folks who are now going to be in a position to do something really positive for New York City.”
Yang said he plans to be “the evangelist and cheerleader in chief” for the city, Newsweek reported.