NY Post, By Bernadette Hogan and Julia Marsh: Gov. Andrew Cuomo said Tuesday he was “very concerned” about the “devastating” crime wave sweeping the Big Apple, casting blame on anti-police sentiment, Mayor Bill de Blasio’s decision to release inmates from Rikers Island during the COVID-19 pandemic and the cratering economy.
“I am very concerned about it,” the governor said during a press call from Albany Tuesday.
There were 47 shootings just last week — a 176-percent jump over the 17 tallied during the same period last year, according to NYPD statistics.
“The result is intolerable and is devastating and is, long term as we’re trying to get New York City back up and running, it’s also a negative in getting New York up to speed,” Cuomo said.
He declined to wade into an ongoing fight between de Blasio and the state court system over whether coronavirus-related restrictions on grand juries and in-person hearings has contributed to the surge in shootings.
“In terms of overall violence in New York City: I understand what the mayor said about the courts. The courts have a different opinion and they responded to the mayor. I do believe there are a number of factors that are at play,” he said.
Cuomo listed a strained relationship between the community and the police following the George Floyd demonstrations, coronavirus-related releases from Rikers, and the economy as all contributing to rising crime.
“The situation with the NYPD and the tension with the protests groups and community groups is a factor. How that is playing out? I’m not sure exactly that anybody knows, but I know the NYPD feel they are under significant pressure, which they are. And that tension is in the mix,” he said.
Cuomo also referred to de Blasio’s decision to release 1,500 Rikers inmates for COVID-19 reasons. Of those released 13 percent were re-arrested including seven people for gun charges and one for a murder charge, according to City Hall data. A mayoral spokesman said that re-offense rate is similar to that for non-coronavirus releases.
“A number of people were let out of Rikers during COVID. I understood the health concerns there but that might be a factor,” the governor said.
Lastly he mentioned “general economic pressure” including a soaring unemployment rate.
Cuomo did not offer solutions, but ruled out President Trump’s threat to send in federal troops to quell the violence.
“I don’t believe there’s any legal rationale for that, I don’t believe it would be helpful or productive,” Cuomo said.
But if the city does not tamp down on the violence wealthy residents won’t return from their second homes, companies won’t put people back to work, and commuters won’t ride public transit, Cuomo warned.
“So, it’s a very bad situation. I’m aware of it. We are working on it,” he said.
“And as it was in the days of Noe, so shall it be also in the days of the Son of man.” Luke 17:26.