Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez has been slammed for saying the ‘answer’ to tackling New York City’s violent crime epidemic is to stop building jails and using them ‘as garbage bins for human beings.’
The Democratic congresswoman held a press conference Thursday alongside Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Rep. Jamaal Bowman where she spoke about a program introduced in her constituency in the Bronx reducing crime through community outreach.
She blamed the spike in violence on what she called the ‘gutting’ of the mental health system which has led to greater homelessness and people turning to crime.
New York City is in the grips of a soaring crime wave, with random attacks on the subway becoming a more common occurrence, violent crimes up 30 percent so far in 2021 and 13 people shot over Memorial Day weekend.
Police are struggling to tackle the issue and fears are growing that the city is harking back to the dark days of the 70s and 80s when it earned the nickname ‘Fear City.’
Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (pictured at a press conference Thursdayuhas been slammed for saying the ‘answer’ to tackling New York City’s violent crime epidemic is to stop building jails and using them ‘as garbage bins for human beings’
Figures released by compstat reveal there have been 1,754 major crimes across the city last week alone
AOC said Thursday that the solution lies in building more hospitals – rather than prisons – and focusing on addressing public health issues.
‘If we want to reduce violent crime, if we want to reduce the number of people in our jails, the answer is to stop building more of them,’ she said.
‘The answer is to make sure that we actually build more hospitals, we pay organizers, we get people mental health care and overall health care, employment, etc. It’s to support communities, not throw them away.’
The New York Rep. blasted the use of jails as ‘garbage bins’ for people who are actually suffering from mental health issues.
‘When you actually open a door to a jail and look at who is inside an enormous amount of people are dealing with untreated mental health issues,’ she said.
‘It is not acceptable for us to use jails as garbage bins for human beings.
‘We need to treat people and so it is not a place for us to throw people for whom we do not want to invest in the actual holistic issues of their lives.’
AOC pointed to hate crimes in particular as being committed by people in need of mental health support.
AOC blamed the spike in violence on what she called the ‘gutting’ of the mental health system which has led to greater homelessness and people turning to crime
‘An extraordinarily high number of people who are responsible for hate crimes are suffering from severe mental health issues. Our complete gutting of support in our mental health system, both in the city and across the country, is absolutely correlated with both homelessness and incidents of violent crime,’ she said.
AOC and other New York Democrats including Schumer and Bowman are calling on Congress to approve $400,000 in federal funds to invest in a program called Stand Up To Violence.
The anti-violence program focuses on community outreach and counselling to focus on violence prevention and tackle gun violence in the Bronx.
It is based out of Jacobi Hospital and falls within AOC’s district.
AOC credited the program’s rollout in the Bronx for reducing the ‘recurrence of violence by more than 50 percent’ in the area.
‘When we find something that is evidence-based that works to improve people’s lives, our job is to fund it,’ she said.
She tweeted that the program is ‘hands down one of the most effective treatments we’ve seen to reduce incidents of violence like shootings and stabbings.’
The Democratic congresswoman held a press conference Thursday alongside Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and Rep. Jamaal Bowman where she spoke about a program introduced in her constituency in the Bronx reducing crime through community outreach
The program is based out of Jacobi Hospital (above). AOC credited the program’s rollout in the Bronx for reducing the ‘recurrence of violence by more than 50 percent’ in the area
The additional funding would be used to add more staff to the program, including a creative arts therapist and an emergency room social worker.
The program has gained the support of members of the community.
Khayan Reed, who lived on the streets but is now working as an outreach worker for the program, said it is about ‘building up our communities.’
‘Our kids are dying at a rapid rate, we need your help,’ said Reed, according to ABC17.
‘We turned our lives around, we are no longer tearing down our communities, but we are building up our communities.’
But AOC’s pleas to stop building prisons sparked pushback from others on social media.
Conservative commentator Liz Wheeler accused AOC of trying to ‘tear down the institution’ and ‘practicing Critical Theory’.
‘AOC is practicing Critical Theory here (the grandfather of Critical Race Theory). Intentionally or as a stooge, who knows. She’s painting institutions as inherently unjust (altho it’s not unjust to jail criminals who commit violent crimes),’ she tweeted.
Some took to social media to blast AOC over her comments about not needing jails
‘Her goal is to tear down the institution itself (first jails, then entire criminal justice system) thru relentless criticism based on the false notion that everyone is either oppressed or an oppressor.
‘Then what will replace the system? Marxism. This is textbook Critical Theory.’
Fox News host Sean Hannity also hit out at AOC over her comments tweeting: ‘THIS IS REAL: AOC Says Solution to Spike in Violent Crime is ‘Build More Hospitals’ and ‘Pay Organizers’.’
Others chimed in on social media questioning her approach.
‘If jails cause violent crime, then doesn’t it follow that hospitals cause sickness?’ one person asked.
‘They could also stop committing crimes. That would also stop the need for more jails,’ added another.
New York City has found itself once again in the grips of a surge in violent crime, which escalated throughout the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020 and has continued into this year.
This map shows the crimes reported to the NYPD in a single week at the end of May and where they took place
THEFT – Theft is up by 40 percent this week compared to the same week last year
SEX CRIMES – Sex crimes are up by 120 percent across the city – a terrifying jump
ASSAULT – Misdemeanor assaults are up by 15 percent. There were 700 last week
Across the board, violent crimes are up 30 percent so far in 2021 compared to the same period last year.
Last week alone, there were 1,754 major crimes across the city last week alone, according to NYPD data.
There have been 35 shootings, 39 rapes, 105 other sex crimes, 1,600 incidents of theft, 708 misdemeanor assaults and 14 hate crimes. In almost every single category, crime is up.
Gun violence has become a particular concern, with shooting incidents up 86 percent as of May.
Memorial Day weekend marked a bloody affair with at least 13 shootings including a 15-year-old boy who was killed in the Bronx.
Governor Andrew Cuomo admitted last week that New York City is now in the throes of a ‘major crime problem’ which – if not tackled soon – could cause irreparable damage to the Big Apple.
‘We have a major crime problem in New York City. Everything we just talked about, with the economy coming back, you know what the first step is? People have to feel safe.
Governor Andrew Cuomo admitted last week that New York City is now in the throes of a ‘major crime problem’ as he said some of the blame lies with budget cuts to the NYPD
‘We’re building new projects, stimulating new business – what comes before that is public safety, otherwise none of it works.
‘New Yorkers don’t feel safe and they don’t feel safe because the crime rate is up. It’s not that they are being neurotic or overly sensitive – they are right.
Cuomo said some of the blame lies with budget cuts made to the NYPD last summer.
Mayor Bill de Blasio agreed to slash $1 billion from the NYPD budget in the wake of the murder of George Floyd, which sparked racial justice protests and calls to defund the police.
He has since reversed course and promised $92 million for a new precinct admitting the cuts was him responding to the ‘environment at that moment.’
Cuomo said the key to tackling the issue is to rebuild the relationship between law enforcement and the community.
‘Until you restore the trust and make the reforms necessary, we’re going to have this problem defund the police is not the answer. It basically means abolish the police,’ he said.
‘That’s going to help? Gun violence is going up, all crimes going up and that’s going to help? No. It’s reform so that the community says – I now trust the relationship.’
New York City’s iconic Soho neighborhood has been left almost unrecognizable due to a surge in graffiti and vandalism
Tags and scrawlings cover the walls and wood panels boarding up a building in Manhattan’s affluent Soho neighborhood .
New Yorkers walk past defaced walls in what was once the hottest shopping destination in the city for residents and tourists
The crime wave has become a focal point of the mayoral campaign with candidates vowing to stamp out the trend as many fear a return to the dark days of the 70s and 80s.
In the 1970s, the city faced $10 billion in debt, funds were cut the police, fire and sanitation departments, graffiti was everywhere, the subway was a dangerous place to be and all types of crime were up.
The dark days continued into the 1980s when the crack epidemic ravaged the city.
At its peak, someone was murdered every 63 hours in the worst-hit parts including East New York and Cypress Hill.
Parallels are now being made between this dark era and the last year as the city struggles to recover from the pandemic.
Homelessness is rife, graffiti is ravaging the city’s most affluent areas and longstanding businesses failed to survive the last year.
The affluent Soho neighborhood has found itself a symbol of the toll the last year has taken on the city.
1980S: Lower East Side of Manhattan in May 1987 when the Big Apple was known as ‘Fear City’ due to its crime epidemic
Graffiti and vandalism is rife leaving the avenues of luxury stores, restaurants and apartment buildings almost unrecognizable.
Soho occupants say the say the vandalism is yet another ‘sign of neglect’ to the city, while city officials are desperately throwing millions of dollars into initiatives to try to claw back the city’s heyday.
In recent months, the NYPD has launched the Graffiti Clean-up Campaign and Mayor Bill de Blasio the City Cleanup Corps to try and tackle the blight.
The latter is costing $234 million of the struggling city’s budget – a staggering 78 times more than the long-running $3 million popular graffiti-removal program axed last year due to budget cuts (despite warnings of business owners).