Shootings rose 154 percent last week compared to a year ago—from 22 people to 56—and increased 28 percent overall in the last month. Who's to blame for the spike in crime? Occupy Wall Street. "The city is going crazy with demonstrations and protests, and I'm lucky if I can get four cars out there," Deputy Inspector for the 13th Precinct Ted Berntsen tells the Post. But someone has to watch Zuccotti Park lest the Mad Pooper strikes again.
The NYPD deploys special borough task forces whenever the crowds downtown swell, which keeps them from being used elsewhere. "Normally the task force is used in high-crime neighborhoods where you have a lot of shootings and robberies," a source said. "But instead of being sent to Jamaica, Brownsville and the South Bronx, they are in Wall Street." The Financial District sure seems like a "high-crime neighborhood" to us.
Perhaps the flimsy excuse for an uptick in shootings stems from the NYPD suffering from a lack of esprit de corps. "Morale is as bad as I've ever seen it," the president of the PBA tells the Daily News. Why? Take your pick of headlines: "Rape Cops," ticket-fixing, "flaking," "Tony Bologna," racism. "You can't be a police officer no more," one Bronx cop says, "You're under the microscope…We feel like the perpetrators now, the way we're being displayed."
"Flaking" in particular is devastating, and understandably so. One narcotics officer recalled being jeered last week while he was arresting a suspect: "You planted the drugs! You put it on him!" And thanks to pepper spray and fisticuffs, the upper echelons are feeling the heat as well. "I've had conversations with my members who expressed their frustrations about how it's a difficult time for executives in the police department," the head of the Captain Endownment Association said. Maybe it's time for a full-scale PR makeover: Commissioner Rick Lee, anyone?