The fallout from last summer’s violent protests following the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis continues all over the nation in the form of rising murder rates and sharp increases in crime in general.
New York City was a place hit particularly hard by the crime wave. But as for the looting and rioting, it appears as though most won’t have to pay any price for their crimes.
In just the Bronx, out of 118 arrests for rioting and looting, 73 of those cases have been dismissed. Eighteen of those cases are still open, and in 19 of those cases, there have been convictions for lesser offenses like trespassing which carry no jail time.
Residents of the Bronx are not alone. The crime stats in Manhattan, and what is being done about them is not much better. According to the NYPD, there were 485 arrests. Of those cases, 222 were dismissed, and 73 saw convictions for lesser crimes like trespassing, 40 of the cases went to family court because the cases involved juveniles.
Of all of these cases, 128 remain open investigations.
Residents who live near New York City landmarks like Washington Square Park say that while visiting the Park during the day is still a fairly safe venture, once the sun goes down, it becomes a very different place and descends into virtual lawlessness.
In addition to the nightly rave parties with hundreds of young people congregating in the park, there have been reports of prostitution, public sex acts, hard drugs, and people carrying weapons.
Even with the luxury in many cases of surveillance cameras that have recorded the identity of suspects, law enforcement and business owners both say it seems as if the District Attorneys’ are looking the other way when it comes to crimes of looting and rioting.
In Manhattan, District Attorney Cyrus Vance, Jr.’s attention has been consumed with attempting to put together a case against the Trump Organization to investigate allegations of tax, loan, and insurance fraud.
Former NYPD Patrol Chief Wilbur Chapman says, “If they are so overworked that they can’t handle the mission that they’re hired for, then maybe they should find another line of work. It allowed people who committed crimes to go scot free.”
Jessica Betancourt, the owner of an eyeglass shop that was looted, and the vice president of a local merchants association, calls the situation in the Bronx “disgusting.” She added, “They could do it again because they know they won’t get the right punishment.”
Both District Attorneys’ Offices blamed the pandemic for creating a backlog of cases.
The increase in violent crime since last summer’s protests is happening all over the nation. Murders are up in Chicago 33% in the first three months of 2021 compared to 2020, and shootings are up 40%.
In New York City, the murder rate is up 14% for the same time period, shootings rose by 50%. In Los Angeles, homicides have risen by 36%.
In Washington Square Park in New York City, police had implemented a 10pm curfew prompted by residents who said the revelers were making noise well into the night, but that had been lifted for the previous park closing time of midnight.
Recently, there have been two stabbings, a man beaten and robbed of his phone, and a cook, 77, who worked at a nearby diner was attacked. Of the violence, Mayor Bill DeBlasio said to reporters that he thinks “the situation will resolve itself naturally.”
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