- Robert Peel
Today our city faces an unprecedented crisis that threatens to undo the progress we have made against crime. The shootings and deaths are startling. And communities of color are the hardest hit.
People do not feel safe in their homes or on the street. We cannot go back to a New York that is unsafe for New Yorkers—especially our children. We won’t go back.
As a former police officer who patrolled the streets in a bulletproof vest in the 1990s, I sadly know what I am talking about. Lawlessness spread through our city like a disease then, infecting communities with the same terrible swiftness that coronavirus threatens today.
At the same time we face a crisis of confidence in our police. And we cannot have lower crime without greater trust.
I personally understand the distrust and anger with the NYPD. As a young man, my brother and I were beaten by police at a precinct house, and we carry the psychological scars of that to this day.
That is why I called out racism in the department as an officer and formed 100 Blacks in Law Enforcement to push through reforms. And why I continued to call for change throughout my career, including the successful effort to stop the unlawful use of Stop-and-Frisk.
But the debate around policing has been reduced to a false choice: You are either with police, or you are against them. No. That cannot be true. Because we are all for safety. We need the NYPD — we just need them to be better.
We also need a plan of action. When I was a police officer, I was part of the team that developed what is now COMPStat. That system of tracking crime and analyzing data allowed us to take crime from historic highs to historic lows.
There is a way forward. With all stakeholders at the table and a laser-like focus on addressing the reasons behind our spike in shootings, we can put this fire out before it consumes entire neighborhoods and torches our reputation as the safest big city in America.
With a commitment to justice that is felt in the heart of officers, new technologies, clear objectives, better organization, good old fashioned police work and better relations with the communities they serve, we can have both safe and fair.
In the coming weeks, I will share with you my detailed plan for tackling crime, reforming policing, and bringing justice to our criminal justice system.