US Attorney General Merrick Garland said that he’s addressed the gun violence plaguing New York City with Mayor Eric Adams, calling the rise in violent crime across the county a “matter of concern” — but stopping short of labeling it a crisis.
“I’ve spoken to the mayor many times,” the nation’s top prosecutor told NBC’s Lester Holt in an interview that aired Tuesday.
“We spent some considerable amount of time in New York looking at the way in which our federal agents, our federal prosecutors and state and local prosecutors, all working together in fusion centers, evaluate a list of the top shooters, the people who are the most important drivers of violent crime in New York City,” Garland explained.
“We are all working together carefully; to locate those shooters, to arrest them, to take them off the street and make sure that they see swift and certain justice,” he continued.
Also during the appearance, Holt asked Garland “is rising crime a crisis in this country?”
He responded, “I think violent crime is a matter of considerable concern to the country and to the Justice Department, as it should be.”
“The ability of people in our communities to walk their streets in confidence and safety is yet another element of democracy in which we live a part of our civic life,” he continued. “Part of the Justice Department’s mission is to protect the people [of the] United States from all enemies, foreign and domestic, and domestic includes violent crime.”
The interview came after a bloody night in the Big Apple, where a 12-year-old girl and a 16-year-old boy were among nine people injured by gunfire in a series of shootings across the city late Monday. Seven of those victims were hit with bullets within just one hour, police said.
The teenagers’ family and friends ripped city officials in frustration about recently increasing crime in the five boroughs.
Also Tuesday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul declared that she supports law enforcement ” 100%” and that “No one will ever say the words ‘Defund The Police’ in my presence— after last year choosing previous supporters of the movement Brian Benjamin as her lieutenant governor and Amit Bagga as deputy secretary for intergovernmental affairs.
Major crimes have soared 37% so far this year — driven by grand larcenies, auto thefts, burglaries and robberies, recently-released NYPD data shows.
But murders were down 5.6% so far in 2022 compared to the same period in 2021 — from 252 to 238. The amount of people shot dropped by 7.3% — from 974 to 903, according to the statistics. Shooting incidents were down 10.3 % this year — 747 compared to 833.
Meanwhile, in Chicago over the weekend, 65 people were shot, including five fatally.