The New York City Police Department (NYPD) officially launched their “new” anti-gun unit, Neighborhood Safety Teams, Monday in an effort to curb the rising violence in New York City.
Today marks the launch of our Neighborhood Safety Teams. Hand-picked, highly-trained officers and supervisors are hitting the streets across NYC with the mission to reduce gun violence and keep the people of this city safe. pic.twitter.com/LcXXyTSXcw
— NYPD NEWS (@NYPDnews) March 15, 2022
The first wave, comprised of 168 specially trained officers, will be deployed across 28 different precincts, according to the New York Post. Every five officers will be accompanied by one sergeant in these units that have undergone a seven-day course. Another 300 officers are expected to complete the course in future waves.
NYPD Chief of Department Kenneth Corey emphasized on day one of Neighborhood Safety, “First and foremost, thank you all for volunteering. This is tremendously important work to do, but I recognize that it’s also tremendously difficult work and potentially very dangerous work.”
Of the training he highlighted intensive focus “in minimal force techniques, advanced tactics” and “car stops.” Corey further stated, “De-escalation is essential to all of it, communication skills is a big part of if, courtroom training and as the police commissioner indicated, constitutional policing.”
“The community has been waiting for you, they’ve been begging for you, and in some cases they’ve been screaming for you,” Corey added in one of his most telling remarks.
It has been suggested that these anti-gun teams, assembled to go out into the community, identify potential criminals and locate illegal guns to remove them from the streets before a crime can occur, are just a rebranding of the disbanded anti-crime unit of the past.
In 2020, while left-wing activists remained in a fervor in the wake of the death of George Floyd, former NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea announced the end of the plainclothes unit calling it, “time to move forward and change how we police in this city.”
One of his predecessors, former NYPD Commissioner Bernard Kerik, called out the value of the anti-crime unit and predicted the violence that would come from their disbandment.
#STUNNING! Plain clothes anti-crime cops have historically been responsible for the majority of gun and violent crime arrests in New York City. To avoid police/suspect confrontations, the department has disbanded the precinct and the crime teams. Dangerous times to come. https://t.co/tgNta7lpo3
— Bernard B. Kerik (@BernardKerik) June 15, 2020
Though they will be patrolling in unmarked cars, these new units will now be readily identified as NYPD officers which led dry cleaner Joseph Burachio of Hollis, Queens to ask, “What happned to the term ‘undercover?'”
“Why are old terms being replaced with new terms that have twice as many syllables?” Burachio also inquired. “I don’t know if this new team will be a good thing but something has to be done. Crime rates are elevated. Crazy is elevated. Something needs to change. Juveniles are getting away with murder and people don’t feel safe. Go on the subway and you’re taking your life in your own hands.”
Even NYC Mayor Eric Adams (D), a former police officer, was forced to retract his previous claims and admit that he didn’t feel safe riding the subway as crime in the city has been on a continued rise. Just this weekend the Mayor had to warn the public about a killer targeting homeless in NYC and Washington D.C. after five vagrants had been shot.
There is some reticence about potential harassment, as Jeff K. told the Post, “You don’t want to see people harassed but law enforcement has a very tough job. I don’t envy those guys. It’s all about how they implement it. It’s going to be each individual officer’s behavior.”
Others shared in Jeff’s view that the police have a difficult job and they are worried about their safety in addition to public safety at large.
Uniform anti crime, im sure the streets are shaking in their boots.shea doomed the city the moment he folded and disbanded crime. Just be careful guys because there is a city bus with your name on it should things go wrong or bad press. Stay safe its a long road ahead to fix NYC.
— Ern (@Ernest60662709) March 15, 2022
God please keep my community and these officers safe.
— Ruth McDaniels (@RuthMcDaniels2) March 15, 2022
This is essentially stop, question and frisk right? If so, bravo and godspeed with the trash clean up 🧹
— Ricky Clemente (@RickyClemente82) March 15, 2022
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