New York City is a city under siege. The Big Apple saw a 22% increase in major crimes in 2022 (126,537 vs 103,388 the year prior). Of those, there were 433 homicides and 1,294 shootings. In a recent New York Times article – the same one where these very figures can be read – John Jay College professor Christopher Hermann told reporters “crime is up in New York City, and it’s up quite a bit.”
Crime is up, and yet some in our city want to further handcuff our police – the one group in the city that’s been proven to keep us safe. And not only do they want to handcuff the police, but they want to completely disband the NYPD’s Strategic Response Group (SRG). The men and women of the SRG are the ones who are called upon to respond to civil unrest, terror attacks, and violent crimes. They’re the ones who conduct the search for gunmen during active shooter situations. These officers bring order and safety to areas saturated with criminal activity – areas in which our understaffed police precincts are struggling to maintain a presence. These men and women go into some of the most dangerous areas of our city to keep citizens living there safe, and what do they have to show for it? A group of radical activists branding them “racist terrorists.”
Let me be clear: removing the SRG will not make our city safer. It will remove a valuable tool from the NYPD’s arsenal, and it will take highly trained professional law enforcement officers off of our streets. It will increase the burden already being placed upon our beat cops, and it will no doubt lead to a further increase in crime throughout the five boroughs. Replacing these experienced officers with academic “evidence-based practices” that were tested on small groups of handpicked individuals to confirm a college thesis paper will not work in the real world. What works is empowering the dedicated men and women in blue who are out there on the streets every day, giving their time and effort to keep New Yorkers safe.
And that brings me to my next point. If we really want to get serious about public safety, we need to give our police officers the respect and the salaries that they deserve. Members of the NYPD are called into extremely stressful, life-threatening situations every single day, and they do it for relatively little pay in comparison to officers elsewhere. Even in our neighboring towns and counties, police officers make better salaries – a fact which depletes our manpower pool as potential candidates opt for higher paying careers in Westchester or Suffolk.
With this in mind, it is clear that we need to up the pay that we give New York’s finest. If we are going to ask them to put their lives on the line for a thankless job, we can at least pay them well to do it. We need more cops on our streets, not less, and we need more respect and more equitable pay for our officers so we can continue to attract new recruits to the department. That – and only that – will get us back on track to becoming the safest big city in America once again. And no amount of leftist rage or ivory tower theorems will change that fact.