New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, a Democrat, said the COVID-19 pandemic caused the court system to be taken offline and led to enormous job losses.
Referencing the lock down state and city officials implemented to try to curb the spread of the virus, de Blasio told reporters Monday: "There is no question that as we're getting into warmer and warmer weather—and we're feeling the effects of people being cooped up for months—and the economy, obviously, has not restarted to anywhere the extent that we need it to. So there's a lot less for people to do."
"We have a real problem here. And I think profoundly, the fact that our court system is not functioning, and needs to function again, underlies all of this," he added.
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot said during a Monday appearance on CNN's "New Day" that there were multiple factors in the shootings but cited the pandemic as well.
"The ecoystem of public safety that isn't just law enforcement, that is local, community-based, they, too, have really been hit hard by COVID, and they are just now coming back and getting their footing," she said.
Fifty-six people were shot in New York over the weekend with at least nine deaths. In Chicago, there were 87 people shot, 17 of whom died.
New York City Police Department Chief Terence Monahan sounded a different theme, agreeing that the court system was an issue but also blaming bail reform, which allows suspects to get released faster, the release of some inmates because of fears of crowding during the pandemic, and the hostility police officers are facing amid efforts to defund departments.
"The animosity towards police out there is tremendous. Just about every one we deal with is looking to fight a police officer when we go to make an arrest," he added, calling for vocal support for police as a way to boost low morale," Monahan told reporters.
Monahan called the City Council's passage of a law that aims to bar officers from restricting suspects' windpipe and carotid arteries "insane," alleging that officers are "afraid, if they're making an arrest, that if their knee goes on the back of someone that they are fighting their life for, that they could be prosecuted."
"That's a problem. That makes our cop take a step back," he said.
In a separate press briefing at the NYPD's headquarters, NYPD Assistant Chief Jason Wilcox cited bail reform and accused district attorneys of being reluctant to prosecute so-called quality of life crimes.
Many people who were indicted by grand juries on gun crimes are free because the courts are shut down and because of the bail reform, Wilcox said.
"As if these tremendous challenges are not enough, New York City had days and days of anti-police marches that honestly crushed the morale of our cops, and it created a large sense of animosity towards the police," he added.
Monahan was meeting Monday morning with the state's chief judge and the district attorneys for all five boroughs about how to stem the gun violence, according to de Blasio.
The tumult poured into the public on Sunday amid a rash of shootings, with several high-level police officials calling on social media for better leadership alongside continued calls from police unions.
In Chicago, Police Superintendent David Brown told reporters that officials need to keep violent criminals in jail longer and urged the revamping of the electronic program.
"We will not stop until this violence ends. That means all of us," he said.
From Thursday to Sunday, officers made 98 gun arrests and recovered 173 guns in total, police officials said. The totals this year are 4,874 guns recovered and 2,368 gun arrests.