NEW YORK (PIX11) — On the heels of another violent weekend, dozens of uniformed NYPD officers will be hitting the streets Monday as part of a new initiative aimed at reducing gun violence and making some of the most dangerous neighborhoods around the five boroughs safer.
New York City residents living in areas with high crime rates who spoke with PIX11 News, including Boliver Canclai and Jose Vargas, say they’re tired of the violent crime plaguing their neighborhoods.
“It’s about time to start doing something, a lot of crime and a lot of robberies,” Canclai said.
Incidents of violent crime in New York City rose 47% over the last 12 months, including murders, assaults, hate crimes and transit crimes.
“I have a family I’m concerned about and I feel the city should do something and they have to do something,” Vargas said.
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said her team of trained officers are ready to take guns off the streets.
The new neighborhood safety teams have a similar mission to the unit’s predecessor, the anti-crime unit. That initiative created a lot of controversies, as police officers in plain clothes were often criticized for being too aggressive.
“We had to take a look at the mistakes of the past, what we had to do to change. The officers are being trained in the Constitution, in community interaction, car stops, the use of force,” Sewell said.
The police commissioner said the revamped unit will consist of 25, five-member teams. Unlike the previous anti-crime unit, these officers will be uniformed, giving the community a visible police presence.
“They are not in plain clothes. The uniform on the back plainly states ‘NYPD Police.’ They are there for the safety of the community and to get the violent offenders off the streets,” Sewell said.
The first wave of neighborhood safety teams roll out Monday in neighborhoods with the highest number of shootings. More units will be added, as officers complete their training.
The police commissioner also noted that while crime is up, cops are also making more arrests.