Former mayoral candidate rivals Joe Lhota and Mayor Bill de Blasio are publicly arguing over a citywide spike in shootings.
NYPD data released this week shows that as of June 8, there have been 507 shooting victims in New York City. There were 448 last year at the same time, more than a 13 percent increase.
The trouble started after an annual medal ceremony honoring police officers on Tuesday, where NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said the increase in shootings is largely isolated to public housing. He also told reporters that “crime goes up, crime goes down,” and it’s “fascinating” that many shooting victims refuse to cooperate with police, according to Capital New York.
Lhota, who was the vanquished Republican 2013 mayoral candidate by now-Mayor de Blasio, took to Twitter to criticize the commissioner’s characterization of crime data. In a series of 10 tweets that started at about 8 a.m. on Wednesday, Lhota blasted the rise in crime, Bratton, and the NYPD’s ability to effectively fight crime.
“@CommissBratton: shooting uptick largely isolated to public housing. That’s NOT what the facts say,” said one of his tweets, with a picture of crime statistics data, known as CompStat. The data, which is compiled by the NYPD and released weekly, showed public housing shooting victims were only 18 percent of citywide victims as of June 1.
“Is @CommissBratton really this insensitive to New Yorkers being shot?,” he wrote in another tweet. “Homicides are down, shootings are up and that’s OK?”
Interspersed in the comments from Lhota, which spanned the course of almost two hours, were tweets about the New York Rangers, education reform, and concerns over the upcoming Friday the Thirteenth full moon.
“Is anybody worried about Friday? It’ll be Friday the 13th as well as the Full Moon. The next time they converge it’ll be 2049 #timetohowl,” he wrote.
Eventually Mayor de Blasio went on the defensive on Bratton’s behalf.
“I think Commissioner Bratton is the finest police leader in America,” de Blasio told reporters on Thursday at a press conference in front of the housing project in Brooklyn where two children were stabbed last week. “I would remind Mr. Lhota and everyone else that Bill Bratton is the guy who brought CompStat not just to New York City but to the world and that is about making strategic adjustments.”
De Blasio also said that there would be “a lot of activities” in the near future in terms of fighting crime.
“You’re going to see a lot of troop movement,” he said.
As of press time, Lhota had not tweeted a response to the mayor’s comments.