The NYPD is gearing up to crack down on nightclubs, illegal social clubs, and after-hours spots as part of an initiative to reverse an increase in stabbings and slashings this year. Mayor Bill de Blasio and police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced the push, dubbed Operation Cutting Edge, at a press conference today.

In the first few months of 2016, a handful of slashings on the streets and in subways, some of them seemingly unprovoked, have brought attention to the issue, and knife attacks are indeed up, from 750 this time last year to 916 so far this year, according to Bratton. However, he and Chief of Department James O'Neill explained, more than 60 percent of the assaults took place indoors, and about 30 percent were classified as instances of domestic violence.

The NYPD has already committed to deploying more officers to the subway system in response to subway slashings, and to retraining homeless shelter officers and security guards following recent grisly crimes in homeless shelters, including a stabbing triple murder. However, Bratton noted that subways and shelters accounted for only about 5 percent of where knife attacks occur. Nevertheless, the department says it plans to have officers momentarily board subway cars at stations, among other initiatives, because security theater is basically the same as security.

O'Neill explains the idea this way:

We’re constantly addressing the reality of where crime occurs as well as the perception of where crime occurs, because it’s absolutely essential that everyone in this city feels safe, as well as that they are safe.

Beyond those existing initiatives, Bratton said he plans to break out data about knife attacks from other felony assaults, and track more details about them such as weapon type and motive, as the department does with shootings. De Blasio said that an analysis of the existing data shows that nearly a quarter of stabbings and slashings occur overnight on Fridays and Saturdays, "at a point in the week when an unusual number of people are out and an unfortunate number of them are under the influence of alcohol and drugs."

In the last week, a five-person stabbing took place around 6 a.m. during a fight at an illegal social club in Washington Heights, and three people were cut by a machete-wielding man at a late-night restaurant in Jackson Heights over the weekend. NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said that the restaurant where the stabbing occurred turned out to be operating as a club.

Bratton said that the plan is to shut down existing illegal clubs and work with the State Liquor Authority and Health Department to crack down on legal clubs identified as hubs of violence, and that police have already identified 20 clubs to go after. O'Neill said that the goal is not to nitpick at every club in the city.

"We’re looking to find out the problematic locations, we’re not looking to go after everybody," he said.

Bratton also wants to escalate enforcement against stores that are selling box cutters without keeping them behind the counter and requiring buyers to prove they're over 21, as city law requires. He reminded reporters that last year they were on his case about increases in shootings and murders, and that only now that those types of crimes are again at record lows have they found people getting stabbed interesting.

The causes of New York, and most of the United States's, lull in violent crime are hotly debated, and Bratton's signature Compstat system for tracking police activity has, in tandem with the so-called Broken Windows approach, been widely criticized by rank-and-file police officers as well as everyday New Yorkers for encouraging unnecessary arrests and the downgrading of major crimes, and sucking primarily black and Lation men into the criminal justice system over petty offenses enforced disproportionately in poor and minority neighborhoods. Nevertheless, de Blasio put all the credit for the crime trends of the last 20 years at Bratton's feet, and said that now he will apply Compstat's analytic tools to the problem of getting sliced up in modern-day New York.

"I think it’s important to understand from the beginning that New York City has become a safer place over the last 20 years, because 20 years ago Commissioner Bratton and [colleague] Jack Maple got together and came up with the visionary system of Compstat," he said. "So we'll take the same exact approach to this as we have year in year out, the approach that has allowed us to eradicate any number of seemingly intractable problems."