Blaming the rise in violent crime on “misinformed” efforts to overhaul the justice system, outgoing New York police commissioner Dermot Shea said authorities should stick with the kind of policies that were proven to keep people safe.
“I can also tell you that more than 80 percent of the people arrested for illegal gun possession this year are not in custody. Does that sound like a formula for success?” he wrote in an essay for the New York Daily News.
The essay, framed as advice to his incoming replacement, Keechant Sewell, on exactly what kind of job she is taking on in a city grappling with both a spike in crime and a department steeped in low morale, encouraged her to follow strategies that had already demonstrated success in crimefighting, according to the Crime Report.
“She will have a hard enough job keeping nearly 9 million people safe with the tools we have,” he wrote. “When I hear some officials say, ‘We can’t arrest our way out of our problems,’ I have to wonder: What problems are you talking about? If it’s opioid abuse, probably not; if it’s a rise in gang-related gun violence, if you’re not making arrests, you’re not addressing the problem.”
Shea closed the essay writing: "During the past year and a half, all across the country, debates over criminal justice have been characterized by magical thinking, a wishful insistence that we can have public safety without police. Budgets have been slashed. Resignations and retirements have further reduced police manpower. Morale is in a tailspin, which makes police recruitment — particularly among young Black men — especially challenging. The difficulties of effective policing are increasing while the effects of successful policing are being systematically undermined. It’s a vicious circle. We’ve lost more young people to homicide than we have to COVID. And yet the reasons for the current surge in gun violence remain 'elusive' and 'mysterious' to any number of academics and pundits, as if we have to keep digging to figure out the depth of the hole we’re in. Here’s a good first step: Put down the shovel."