The New York Police Department has taken what Police Commissioner Dermot Shea called a "seismic shift" in the agency's policing, disbanding the plainclothes anti-crime teams and reassigning those officers to other duties.

According to the New York Times, the change will affect roughly 600 officers who had previously been assigned to target violent crime.

Those officers will now be reassigned to duties including the detective bureau and the department’s neighborhood policing initiative.

Shea said plainclothes officers would still do surveillance and narcotics investigations.

Some critics questioned the timing of the disbandment, saying it comes while New York City was seeing a troubling increase in crime compared with 2019. The latest NYPD data indicates that murders risen rose 25.2% to 159 so far this year while shootings were up 24.3% to 394, leading to 100 additional people being wounded in attacks compared with 2019. Burglaries are up 47% and auto theft is up 62%.

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