You can barely go a day, let alone a week, without hearing of a horrific crime in the United States, particularly in New York City. Just recently, an EMT lieutenant named Allison Russo-Elling, who had been a first responder to the World Trade Center attack on 9/11, was mercilessly stabbed to death while going on her lunch break.
There’s also the woman who was beaten so severely by a deranged homeless man that it ruptured one of her eyes. As a result, she may never regain eyesight in that eye again.
Unfortunately, some of New York City political figures are still holding on to the “defund the police” mantra despite crimes such as these. What is incredibly disturbing is what two NYC Democrats pushed out to local businesses just days before the stabbing of the EMT lieutenant.
Queens Councilwoman Tiffany Caban and Assemblyman Zohran Mamdani released the ‘Small Business Public Safety Resources Guide’ two days before Russo-Elling was murdered in broad daylight. The guide generally discourages business owners from calling the police, pushing instead to dial 311.
For those who might be unfamiliar, dialing 311 is supposed to allow mental health services to respond to a situation versus dialing 911, which would bring police officers to the scene. Among other advice, the guide also encourages merchants to engage in what they call ‘community mediation’ versus dialing 911.
The entire guide sounds like something you’d see in a How to Parent Your Toddler’ guide, with this one advising people to “Give the person causing harm the chance to correct their behavior.”
Perhaps the most ridiculous section on the guide is titled “Are You Encountering a Conflict That Appears to be Escalating?” In this section, you are advised to use the “5 D’s of Upstander Intervention,” which include:
This guide was quickly criticized by New Yorkers, including CEO of Modern Space Realty Eric Benaim.
“At a time when we just lost an FDNY member, and crime is still rampant,” said Benaim, “we should be supporting the police – not pushing them away.”
Regarding leaning on the 311 services over dialing 911, Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa said that “People are going to get hurt. People are going to get killed. It takes hours if not days to get a response from calling 311.”
Are elected leaders Mamdani and Caban out of touch or ahead of their time? One thing is for sure; they aren’t paying attention to the troublingly obvious numbers. In the last 31 months, there have been 20 NYC subway murders. Even areas of NYC that have historically been relatively crime-free have seen a massive uptick in crime.
NYPD data for the 1st Precinct, which includes the famed Financial District, has seen a 50% increase in major crimes. The city as a whole has had a 33% increase with the following further breakouts:
The guide advertised for business owners also touches on other situations, including those surrounding drugs. For example, in a section titled ‘Is Someone Experiencing a Drug Overdose or Drug-Related Issue?’ the guide advises calling 911 for a medical emergency but not to mention whether the person is suffering from an overdose.
This section received quite a bit of pushback for obvious reasons. According to Police Benevolent Association President Pat Lynch, “I don’t understand why elected officials would put their anti-police ideology ahead of saving a life.
“Nearly every New York City police officer on patrol carries and is trained to use naloxone,” Lynch continued. “We’ve used it to save lives almost 400 times in the last year alone.”
Lynch made it clear that “Cops are often the first units to respond to a life-threatening medical emergency because we’re not stationary — we’re already on patrol in our neighborhoods and might be just a block away. When we get there, our first priority is to render aid. Why would they want to reduce an overdose victim’s chances of survival by trying to keep cops away?”
Mr. Lynch brings up a great point. Why would politicians elected to serve their constituents’ best interests want to discourage people from calling the police when the situation obviously demands a direct and immediate response?
Unfortunately, the answer is boiled down to ideology. In reality, these politicians aren’t interested in public safety or helping anyone, for that matter. These two NYC politicians particularly adhere to a form of governing that aims to eliminate safety nets like police departments without regard for the second and third-order effects of those actions.
I suppose if the late Lt. Russo-Elling had just distracted her attacker by spilling her soda, or if the woman who might lose half her eyesight had just asked if she and her attacker had gone to high school together, the outcomes would’ve been different, but I doubt it.
Over the last few years, there has been a surge in military veterans running for political office. Lately, there has been a new wave of those in law enforcement now throwing their hats into the political arena.
Currently, around 100 current and former police officers are on the ballot for federal, state, and local elections. It would seem as though the defund the police movement touted by democratic-socialists such as Mamdani and Caban is igniting a new populist, political movement.
Perhaps there will be a new phrase spawning from the senseless violence and lawlessness. A sign at a makeshift memorial for Russo-Elling says, ‘Defund the politicians enough is enough.’
Interesting concept and not surprising that the public is taking issue with this anti-police rhetoric. The increase in violence is not just relegated to New York City. This trend is, sadly, spreading across the nation.
According to the Council on Criminal Justice, homicide rates in two dozen cities are 40% higher than prior to the COVID-19 pandemic.
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