Updated: May. 01, 2023, 12:51 p.m. | Published: May. 01, 2023, 12:08 p.m.

By David Luces | DLuces@siadvance.com and Paul Liotta | pliotta@siadvance.com

Police officers outside of Richmond University Medical Center (RUMC) as they await for the release of Vanesa Medina, the cop who was injured in the Stapleton shooting on Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019. (Staten Island Advance/Shira Stoll) *This photo may also be used for future publishing of cops/police officers on Staten Island

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — A trio of Staten Island elected officials sent a letter last week calling on the NYPD to bring more police officers to Staten Island from parts of the city where leaders have called to “defund the police.”

City Council Minority Leader Joseph Borelli (R-South Shore), City Councilman David Carr (R-Mid-Island), and Borough President Vito Fossella sent the letter to Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell on Thursday calling for more cops locally as crime surges in their home borough.

“We are extremely concerned by the surge in crime on Staten Island this year, and absent any meaningful legislation from Albany to address this, we would like to propose a solution,“ the trio wrote in their letter first reported by the New York Post.

“There are still quite a few members of the City Council who continue to push antipolice, pro-crime policies. Many have signed pledges to ‘defund the NYPD’ and have expressed a preference to remove public safety agencies altogether. Perhaps the irony is lost on these lawmakers that many of the communities they represent have traditionally experienced the most crime, and thus benefit the most from a significant public ‘investment’ of well-trained, dedicated police officers,” the trio of elected officials continued. “Our response is simple: If they don’t want police in their communities, we’ll take them. Reassign NYPD officers from districts whose representatives want to defund the police to Staten Island, where we could use their help.”

As of April 23, six of the NYPD’s seven major crime categories — murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny, and grand larceny auto — have seen increases on Staten Island compared to the same time period last year, according to the city’s CompStat system.

Non-citizen voting press conference Tuesday, Sept. 14, 2021
Councilmen Joe Borelli and David Carr pictured on Sept. 14, 2021. (Staten Island Advance/Paul Liotta)

Grand larceny auto, the constant target of “lock your door” messaging from law enforcement, has seen about a 6% decline compared to the same time period last year, but perhaps most concerning, the number of rapes and murders have more than doubled compared to 2022.

According to the NYPD data, there have been five murders this year, up 150% from two reported during the same period in 2022, and there have been 14 rapes compared to six last year, about a 133% increase.

Robberies, burglaries, felony assaults, and grand larcenies have also seen spikes, according to the CompStat data.

In recent months, police precincts in the borough have dealt with a robbery trend targeting local smoke shops. There have been at least nine armed robberies at smoke shops across Staten Island.

The other boroughs have seen similar trends as unlicensed smoke shops continue illegally selling marijuana making them a prime target for thieves looking for cash.

2023 Women of Achievement Gala
Borough President Vito Fossella pictured on April 20, 2023. (Staten Island Advance/Jason Paderon)

In February, detectives were looking to see whether any of the incidents are connected, according to a law-enforcement source.

According to Carr, Fossella and Borelli, the crime spike on Staten Island follows a years-long trend that has seen increases in crime around the five boroughs.

While the group didn’t mention specific districts from where they’d like to take cops, Borelli, Carr and Fossella wrote that the proposal was discussed behind closed doors during budget discussions, and received little pushback from other Council members.

A pair of Democratic Council members confirmed those discussions to the Post, but said they believed they were made in jest.

The Council doesn’t have the authority to allocate individual police officers, but the Staten Island Republicans’ move builds on months of in-fighting among Democratic Council members.

Their Progressive Caucus saw a mass exodus of members in February when almost half its members refused to sign a “statement of principles” that included reducing the size of the NYPD and the Department of Correction.

“Our goal isn’t to eliminate cops in “defund” commands, we should always be responsive when New Yorkers call 911. But all the squads and assignments that are proactively going after the bad guys, those are the ones I want,” Borelli said Monday. “We need the cops here and this is a social experiment that has long been sought by liberals and needs to happen. We have had several years of small academy classes, so why should we suffer? We want cops. We allocate all sorts of resources inequitably all over the city and perhaps law enforcement should be no different.”