The New York Police Department made 417 gun arrests so far in 2021, according to the city’s top cop who said the arrests were a 75 percent jump from the previous year.
During a webinar hosted by the Police Foundation, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea shared concerns that NYPD officers were making over a dozen arrests per day, the New York Daily News reported.
“I would argue we’re making far too many gun arrests. We shouldn’t have to,” Shea told the foundation. “You really must ask yourself, and I think more people need to start asking this, ‘What the h— is going on with the firearms in New York City this year? What has changed?’”
Commissioner Shea said the firearms crisis comes on the heels of one of the worst years for the city, with 4,280 gun arrests taking place in 2020, a 29 percent increase from the year before. Shooting incidents also jumped 754 from 2019.
On Tuesday, NYPD officer Daniel Vargas was shot four times in the lower back by a suspect with an extensive criminal record and carrying a stolen pistol in the Bronx. Vargas is expected to make a full recovery.
“Here is an officer, young officer, out there in the streets in the Bronx getting guns off the streets to save lives,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a press conference on Wednesday. “That’s what he does. He’s someone who goes out and puts his life on the line to protect other people in the most powerful way, by depriving criminals of their firearms.”
Shea said it’s an example of the work that still needs to be done in the city.
“The whole incident last night really just drives home how much we as a city need to continue to do about the flow of illegal firearms into our city — and the real-world consequences or some would say lack thereof, for the criminals who carry and use these firearms with impunity,” Shea added, according to the Daily News.
Last year, the department saw an 87 percent increase in retirement filings compared to 2019, as cities across the U.S. continued to face anti-police protests and riots.
Almost 2,400 officers reportedly submitted retirement papers in 2020, a significant jump from the 1,274 retirements over the same period in 2019, Fox News reported. The NYPD told Fox News in an email that 372 others have resigned as of October 6.
Between March 26 and October 5, 1,838 NYPD officers retired, an 84 percent increase from the 999 that retired during the same period last year. The current headcount at the NYPD is almost 34,500.
Union officials believe the “troubling” exodus is in large part due to nationwide calls by racial justice advocates to defund or abolish police departments.
“The NYPD has seen a surge in the number of officers filing for retirement,” a department spokesperson reportedly told Fox News. “While the decision to retire is a personal one and can be attributed to a range of factors, it is a troubling trend that we are closely monitoring.”