BY BEN VERDE
Gov. Andrew Cuomo is “very concerned” about the recent citywide uptick in gun violence, he said on Monday following a deadly holiday weekend where gunmen killed nine people and wounded 41 others.
“It’s frightening, it’s tragic and it’s unnecessary,” Cuomo said. “We can do better than this, we must do better than this.”
The weekend of violence came after a particularly violent June, when gunmen shot 250 people in the first 28 days of the month, compared to just 97 shootings in the same time period last year, according to NYPD statistics.
The governor said that he will be meeting with the city’s district attorneys, and the state police will be meeting with the NYPD to discuss ways to curb the violence.
The NYPD has been quick to blame the spike on factors such as bail reform, the planned closure of Rikers Island, the shifting of funding out of the department’s coffers, and a recently passed law prohibiting chokeholds.
Others have argued that other societal factors are to blame, such as mass youth unemployment combined with the yearly spike in crime during the summer months.
Police Commissioner Dermot Shea placed the blame on gang activity and the drug trade during a Monday morning appearance on NY1.
“We get people settling scores, we get people spraying a crowd,” Shea said.
Cuomo said he is concerned not just about the immediate loss of life but for the long-term implications for a city still licking its wounds over the unprecedented loss of life during the coronavirus pandemic.
“We have COVID that we’re dealing with, a lot of people moved out of the city during COVID,” Cuomo said. “You have businesses that can’t fully reopen, that is an economic problem for the city, you then have to get restaurants up and running you have to get concert halls up and running … and then you add on top of that a public safety concern — that is a bad combination of events.”
This story first appeared on brooklynpaper.com.