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This is part four of a Fox News Digital series about politicians “defunding the police” and crime in the areas they represent.

Even if the Big Apple’s homicide rate is about the same this year as last year, other major crimes are up, police statistics show — and polls have New Yorkers upset.

Democratic New York Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been one of the most vocal and high-profile lawmakers to demand defunding and disbanding American police departments, including in her own district, where major crime has risen steadily over the past two years.


When former Mayor Bill de Blasio proposed cutting the NYPD’s budget by $1 billion in 2020, he called it a “delusional illusion” and doubled down on the cuts.

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Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez looks down during the House Financial Services Committee on Capitol Hill on October 23, 2019 in Washington, DC.
(Aurora Sumperio/NurPhoto via Getty Images)

“Defending the police means defunding the police,” he said at the time. “It doesn’t mean budget tricks or fun math. It doesn’t mean moving school police officers from the NYPD budget to the Department of Education budget so schools have exactly the same police.”


But experts say public safety costs money and residents are concerned about their own well-being.

Have AOC constituents returned to his call to reject the police as violent crime rises in the district?

“When you don’t have the funds to have enough people in your detective bureau to investigate and clear serious crimes like murder, of course your clearance rate is going to be very poor,” said Betsy Brantner Smith, a retired police sergeant and spokeswoman. The National Police Association told Fox News Digital. “Also, look at programs like community policing: the better relationship you have with your community as a police department, the more information you can get from your citizens on serious crimes.”

New York City Mayor Eric Adams

New York City Mayor Eric Adams
(Jimin Kim/VIEWpress via Getty Images)


According to Brantner Smith, the progressive narrative that police officers are “terrorizing” minority communities is a dangerous myth. The NYPD, in particular, has a majority of its roster comprised of minority officers.

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“His safety is never in jeopardy, but all victims of crime in his district should be concerned about their safety,” Brantner-Smith said. “If all these police politicians had to walk the same streets as their constituencies, they would be singing a very different tune, but they don’t.”

“Bellwether” crime

New York City’s homicide rate has remained relatively flat over the past two years. But after the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis fueled a national “Defend the Police” campaign, which Ocasio-Cortez supported, NYPD statistics show dramatic increases in other major crimes.


According to Paul Mauro, an attorney and former NYPD inspector, the main predicate crimes to watch for are robbery and burglary — highly aggressive profit-motivated crimes that often involve repeat offenders.

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“Especially robbery, because robbery is basically robbery and violence,” he told Fox News Digital. “The increasing number of robberies is very damaging to the sense of road safety. Someone is taking your stuff, and they’re willing to hurt you to do it – and they’re doing it on the streets around you.”

He wrote a recent Fox News digital opinion piece on the “movement” movement.


Citywide crime statistics show that major crimes have increased by 36.64% so far this year compared to 2021 and a further 37.35% since 2020. Robberies and robberies, Mauro’s bellwethers, rose 39% and 32%, respectively.

Community activist Calvin Hunt calls for justice with a roadside memorial where, according to the NYPD, an 11-year-old girl was fatally caught in the crossfire of gunfire on May 17, 2022, in the Bronx borough of New York City.

Community activist Calvin Hunt calls for justice with a roadside memorial where, according to the NYPD, an 11-year-old girl was fatally caught in the crossfire of gunfire on May 17, 2022, in the Bronx borough of New York City.
(Reuters/Shannon Stapleton)

Around police parts of the middle- and working-class district of Ocasio-Cortez, the numbers also rose.

In the NYPD’s 43rd Precinct, covering the southeast Bronx, robberies rose 70% since the beginning of the year through Aug. 7, the most recent date for which figures are available.


Robbery increased by more than 30%. North of the 45th Precinct, robberies are up 12% this year from last year but more than double the 2020 total. In 49, robberies are also up, but burglaries are down significantly — 20% lower than in 2021 and nearly 30% lower than in 2020.

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In the 114th, a relatively safe precinct that covers parts of Astoria, Woodside and Jackson Heights in Ocasio-Cortez’s congressional district, year-to-date robberies are up nearly 20% from 2021 and 56% from 2020. 7% and increased by 30.2%.

In the 108th, which is part of Ocasio-Cortez’s constituency as well as the affluent Long Island City neighborhood that lies outside her congressional district, robberies are up 71% and 84.4% over the past two years. Robberies in the neighboring 109th Precinct, near the Mets’ Citi Field, are up more than 75%.


“As Willie Sutton said, he robbed banks because ‘that’s where the money is,'” Mauro told Fox News Digital. “Recidivist robbery, theft and burglary criminals do what they do because that’s where the money is. If you look at the AOC’s district – which includes relatively safe commands – a big reason you’re seeing an increase in crime there is because for many criminals that’s where the money is. “

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According to Joseph Giacalone, an adjunct professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City and a former commanding officer of the NYPD, such crimes cannot be dealt with by mental health services and social workers as “defund” advocates suggest. Bronx Cold Case Squad.

“Social workers are only designed to deal with mentally disturbed people, to bring in the homeless,” he said. “They’re not there to help fight crime.”


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Before the “fund” movement began in 2020, experts said well-funded police departments performed better at fighting crime, maintaining community relations and reducing the use of force than their cash-starved counterparts.

“While there are always better ways to allocate police resources, budget cuts mean fewer police and detectives, less money for equipment and computer applications, less money for civilian crime analysts, less ability to promote qualified officers, more reliance on overtime, etc. Mauro said. “It’s a downward pressure on the effectiveness of any department. How can anyone believe that massively defending police departments will reduce crime beggars belief.”

And according to experts, it’s not just refunds that are hurting the NYPD’s ability to fight crime. It’s a combination of low morale, officers retiring early or taking jobs in smaller departments, and bail reform that repeatedly return criminals to the streets, sometimes within hours of their arrest.


“Someone has to show me where the word reform is synonymous with good,” Giacalone said. “The murders are down, but six remain [major] Crime is absolutely horrible. We’ve lost nearly 20 years of valuable gains in New York City.”

But Ocasio-Cortez co-signed a letter in September to New York Gov. Cathy Hochul and then-New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio to close the city’s Rikers Island jail and release everyone inside.

“The people of New York City need to wake up and vote these people out,” said Giacalone, who added that he generally avoids discussing politics. “I don’t care how much you like them – they’ve done nothing but cause you misery.”

What do New Yorkers want?

While Ocasio-Cortez has remained silent about the “defund” movement on Twitter since December 2020, her endorsement of the New York State Assembly candidate earlier this year prompted incumbent Assemblywoman Inez Dickens, D-Harlem, to bluntly say, “My community opposes defunding police. does,” the New York Post reported in May.


He won his primary, fending off an Ocasio-Cortez-backed progressive challenger.

New York Assemblywoman Inez Dickens

New York Assemblywoman Inez Dickens
(Lightrocket via Steve Sanchez/Pacific Press/Getty Images)

The latest Spectrum News NY1/Siena College New York City Poll in June found that only 5% of New Yorkers thought the city was doing a great job fighting crime, compared to 45% who said they thought the city was doing a bad job.

Only 9% of respondents said they thought the city was doing a great job “transforming the NYPD into a force that serves and protects all New Yorkers,” compared to 33% who viewed progress poorly.


The same survey found that 70% of New Yorkers felt less safe than they did at the start of 2020, and a combined 76% were very or somewhat concerned that they might be a victim of crime.

Election statistics compiled by FiveThirtyEight after last year’s Democratic mayoral primary showed Eric Adams, a former NYPD captain and the most prominent pro-police candidate at the time, winning with support from some of the city’s most crime-ridden communities. South Bronx and Brooklyn North.

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“I think Adams really cares — but he’s fighting half the city council who’s against him every step of the way. He’s got senators and congressmen against him, and he’s got the people of Albany as a whole against him.” said Giacalone, who wrote about the mayor’s struggles last year. “None of these people live in the areas that are most affected by crime.”


Ocasio-Cortez’s office did not respond to a request for comment.

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