After at least two dozen shootings across the five boroughs over the weekend, the NYPD is expanding a newly launched program to get guns and gang members off the streets — and the units are already seeing signs of success.
The department rolled out five more so-called Neighborhood Safety Teams in some of the city's toughest neighborhoods that are seeing an increase in violence, including two precincts in Harlem, and one each in Brooklyn, Queens and Staten Island.
NYC Mayor Eric Adams on Monday announced that Long Island City will be getting one of the teams, which are specially trained forces that go after major crimes and illegal guns.
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"We're going to put violent people away, we're going to remove he guns off our street," Adams said.
The unit will respond to the exact type of shooting that came just hours after the press conference, where a bystander on a bench in Long Island City became the victim of a gun battle between others — the same kind of violence that has plagued the city for the past few months, leaving those living in high-crime areas desperate for solutions.
The Neighborhood Safety Teams, replacing the NYPD's controversial anti-crime units, were first put on the streets of the Bronx earlier in March. The officers will be in full uniform and won't perform random stop-and-frisk, which historically targets Black and brown communities.
"We're not doing that. We're not going to allow that happen in our city, we're not going to break the law to enforce the law," Adams said.
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the units are already proving effective.
"I am proud to announce that in just the first days of their existence, the Neighborhood Safety Team members have affected 31 arrests...including 10 for gun possession in nine separate incidents," Sewell said.
The mayor said he didn't want to speculate as to if the arrests would or would not have been made if not for the new teams, but said that the officers have the kind of training that allows them to zero in on who they might be looking for, where the illegal guns commonly come from and can work sources without compromising people's rights.