There's an urgent call for the city to take action after more shots were fired in Times Square, the latest in a string of gun incidents over the past few months at the Crossroads of the World.
The latest shooting took place early Wednesday morning, with police finding several bullet casings near Seventh Avenue and 41st Street. It marks the third shooting in the touristy area over the past three months.
Back in June, a bullet intended for someone else struck a U.S. Marine who was visiting the city. In May, a 4-year-old girl and two adults were also hit by stray bullets in what police called a street vendor fight.
Those recent shootings has led to a more visible police presence in Times Square, but it hasn't quieted the debate regarding public safety. Rap artist and father of two Tone Trump believes the recent incidents have a common link: post-pandemic distress.
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"People are starving, these are crimes of desperation. These are crimes where people are waking up to harm people," he said. "People shouldn't come here and feel like they're going to be robbed or harmed."
While noting that the visual police presence will continue to grow in coming weeks, Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged that the increase in officers at Times Square hasn't solved everything, saying "of course" more needs to be done. However, he disagreed with local business group the Times Square Alliance, which in an unusually pointed statement said "We cannot wait for a new mayor: the de Blasio administration needs to stop making excises and develop effective strategies and take immediate action."
The mayor said that the statement was odd, considering it came from a group that has worked closely with him.
"We'd like to see a little consistency. If we are working together, recognize that," de Blasio said.
Another critique came Thursday from a man who used to occupy de Blasio's office: Rudy Giuliani.
"The only one who defunded the police is Mayor de Blasio. He took one billion out of the budget," Giuliani said.
De Blasio shrugged off Giuliani's comments, calling him "a known liar, he lying again. It's really sad ... I don't know what Rudy's thinking, but we need federal money to fight crime."
Giuliani insists he's telling the truth — but did get a bit ahead of himself by saying de Blasio is "gonna hand Mayor Adams a $6 billion deficit."
Adams still has to face off against Republican nominee Curtis Sliwa in November's general election. Before that time, the topics of police in Times Square and how they're deployed will likely be addressed and debated.