New York: Friday, April 19, 2024
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Politics: Twin Horrors Are Another Deadly Blow To Nyc

POLITICS: Twin horrors are another deadly blow to NYC — a city that already didn’t feel safe to anyone

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From time to time in modern New York, shockingly violent days have revealed how decline and dysfunction are reaching critical stages.

Monday was one of those days. 

The murder of a young police officer during a routine traffic stop and the death of a commuter who was shoved in front of a subway train by a stranger add to the growing belief the city is speeding downhill. 

The twin horrors, in addition to the daily blotter of robberies, assaults and shoplifting, suggest the erosion of public safety is entering a new, dangerous phase, one where criminals have little fear of consequences. 

There is no credible counterargument to the sense that nobody and no place are safe.

Cherry-picked statistics designed to give politicians defensive talking points should be ignored. 

As Mark Twain noted, “There are three kinds of lies: lies, damned lies, and statistics.” 

NYers sense the crisis 

When it comes to public safety, the only measurement that matters is whether people feel safe.

And New Yorkers don’t, according to a survey that found the vast majority of residents see the city as more dangerous than it was six years ago. 

The survey, by the Citizens Budget Commission, covered every borough, neighborhood, income, racial and ethnic group.

The drumbeat of thumbs-down responses should have been a five-alarm fire at City Hall and Albany. 

Instead, the findings got the cold shoulder, along with everything else that could shake the ruling class out of its stupor. 

The lack of a political reaction, even a grudging one, shows there is no reason to believe city and state officials are even considering a course correction.

Their indifference adds an extra layer of despair. 

It also gives those thinking of abandoning the city another reason to start packing.

Absent a hope for major changes, why wait? 

The situation is all the more dire because the murder of Police Officer Jonathan Diller and the death of the commuter are the direct result of bad policies that defy common sense. 

Some of the prosecutors who should be working with police to keep the streets and subways safe would rather hound Donald Trump.

Others play to the peanut gallery by targeting the gallant men and women of the NYPD with ever more restrictions. 

The cops-are-bad, criminals-are-misunderstood attitude endures because the political class is insulated from public accountability.

A phalanx of big donors and radical activists who aim to destroy the legal system shields them from a true democracy. 

Although the extreme ideologues represent a minority of residents, they often get their way because most voters don’t bother to vote. 

Turnout in mayoral elections hasn’t exceeded 25% for years.

Just 21% of registered voters showed up in the 2021 citywide contest. 

Against that backdrop, it’s no coincidence that the alleged shooter of Officer Diller is described as a “career criminal.”

Suspect Guy Rivera has been in and out of prison for much of his adult life. 

Some people grow up to be bricklayers or doctors or truck drivers or lawyers or teachers.

Others make a career out of a life of crime. 

There used to be no future in that.

Now it pays because there are few if any commensurate punishments. 

In and out of prisons 

Rivera, shot and wounded by Officer Diller’s partner, reportedly did at least two stints in state prisons.

The driver of the car he was in, Lindy Jones, has a rap sheet of 14 prior arrests and served 10 years in prison, The Post reports. 

Yet there they were, armed and dangerous.

And now a cop — a married man with an infant son — will be buried. 

A similar profile emerges of the apparently deranged man who shoved a passenger in front of a No. 4 train at the 125th Street station.

Carlton McPherson was arrested in October for assault, menacing, harassment and other charges in Brooklyn, according to WABC/Channel 7, which said he was released without bail. 

His pathetic smile as cops led him out of Manhattan’s 25th Precinct rubs salt into the wound. 

Mayor Adams often says the right things at times like this, and he did when he cited recidivism and mental illness regarding the subway homicide. 

“When you do an analysis and a cross correlation, you will see it’s the same people, over and over again,” he said. 

All true and well known, so what is he going to do about it? 

More than halfway through his term, Adams seems to be shrinking as the problems grow.

His observations about events are rarely followed by coordinated, persistent actions, making him more of a talker than a doer. 

He added to the mayhem with his invitation to illegal border crossers to come to New York.

Some 200,000 did so, and nearly 65,000 are still living at taxpayers’ expense. 

The invasion has overwhelmed the budget and some neighborhoods, but Adams refuses to demand that President Biden close the border.

On the other hand, the mayor launched a debit card program to give migrant families up to $350 a week — on top of a host of freebies. 

Adams’ funny money 

City Hall’s fatuous claim that the cards will save money can be true only in comparison to the unchecked spending that characterized Adams’ spree of lucrative emergency contracts with other private vendors. 

A final point: The mayor and Gov. Hochul are on a kick to bolster transit safety, or at least the appearance of it.

Less than two weeks after Hochul assigned a combined 1,000 officers of the State Police and National Guard to subway duty, the NYPD said it was dispatching 800 cops into the system to target fare-beaters. 

All well and good, but my suspicion is that the sudden attention to long-running problems has more to do with protecting the congestion pricing plan than actual public safety.

The opposition to the onerous tax is spreading and lawsuits against it are piling up. 

Most important, if the subways aren’t safe, the idea of getting people to take mass transit by taxing them if they drive goes up in smoke.

The result will be fewer people entering Manhattan instead of more money for the subways. 

The flurry of police underscores how desperate the MTA is for the $15 fee, or $1 billion a year.

But get this — it needs the money because it loses up to $750 million a year to fare-beaters. 

Nothing could be more New York than taxing the innocent instead of penalizing the guilty. 

The city and state could have put the system on a better financial course by working together to dole out heavy fines to fare cheats and enforcing them. 

Instead, by looking the other way for so long, officials are now resigned to temporary sweeps of cops and soldiers to scare people into paying the fare. 

Emphasis on temporary, so good luck with that.

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