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Council Caucus Demands 1,000 New Officers Amid Shooting Increase

By Colby Hamilton | May 19, 2014 12:16pm | Updated on May 19, 2014 6:32pm
 The city council is pushing the city to address a proliferation of crime.
The city council is pushing the city to address a proliferation of crime.
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DNAinfo/Colby Hamilton

CIVIC CENTER — Alarmed by a rise in gun violence across the city, the City Council’s Black, Latino and Asian Caucus is calling on Mayor Bill de Blasio to do more to keep NYC street safe, including hiring 1,000 more police officers.

“We have a responsibility to call out when things are going off course in our society,” Councilman Andy King, the co-chair of the Black, Latino and Asian Caucus, said in a statement in advance of a noon rally on Monday.

According to the latest crime statistics provided by the NYPD shootings were up nearly 5.5 percent as of May 11. Over the last month, the numbers were even starker: in both categories, shootings are up by more than 25 percent.

Murders citywide remain down 13 percent year to date and overall major crime was down nearly 3 percent.

The caucus cited a series of recent shooting incidents, including the death of 24-year-old Darrell Lynch, who was shot in Jamaica, Queens earlier this month during a fight over a parking space. Last month in Staten Island, 50-year-old Richard Salvia died after being shot in the head during a robbery while he was delivering an order of Chinese food.

The NYPD did not respond to requests for comment. De Blasio's office did not respond to requests for comment.

But de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton have both resisted demands by the City Council to hire 1,000 new police officers, saying they can make do with existing staffing levels, despite the fact that staffing has plunged by 6,000 officers since Sept. 11.

The rally comes two months after Mayor Bill de Blasio credited his administration’s shift in police strategies away from the reliance of stop-and-frisk for bringing crime levels to historic lows.

King, who decried stop-and-frisk alongside de Blasio while running for mayor, flatly rejected the idea that the rise in gun violence was attributable to the reduction of stops.

“It wasn’t about doing away with the policy, it was about how do we improve police and community relationships,” he said of the council’s desire to reshape police interactions with the public.

King said the rally Monday focused not only on getting more police on the force, it's also about boosting greater investments in community-based organizations’ efforts to deter crime.

“This is a bigger problem than just getting cops on the streets,” he said. “There’ll never be enough cops to deter all the crime that happens.”