- Last Updated: 11:36 PM, July 8, 2012
- Posted: July 09, 2012
What a weekend: On Saturday, three men were gunned down in Queens in a shower of bullets, possibly from an AK-47. And 15 people were struck in nine other shootings around town.
Meanwhile, violent crime has been spiking for weeks — with shootings up 11 percent for the year. Are the bloody days of pre-Giuliani New York on their way back?
Actually, much of the spike in violence seems self-inflicted, the result of foolishly soft-on-thug “reforms” undertaken after years of falling crime stats lulled the city to sleep. And one change in particular deserves special note: Albany’s rollback since 2004 of the Rockefeller-era drug laws.
How bad have things gotten?
Consider: As of Thursday, shootings for the year had ballooned to 712 from 641, according to early NYPD figures.
In the last seven days of that period, the city saw 68 shootings, up more than 50 percent over a year ago.
Then, on Friday and Saturday, 15 more shootings claimed four lives and wounded 19 others in a five-day run that left a total of 16 dead. In Queens, reports say gunmen used an AK-47 (an ominous twist, if true) to slay three men they’d followed for miles.
Sure, the recent high temps may help explain the hot tempers triggering the violence. But there’s far more to it than that.
For starters, political pressure has made cops “collectively afraid” to stop and frisk suspects, one law-enforcement source said.
“People know that police are doing less stop-and-frisks,” a police source said, “so more people carry guns.”
That just stands to reason.
City Council Public Safety Committee Chairman Peter Vallone Jr. cites a drop in the number of police officers.
“Put more cops on the street,” he says. “That’s the one thing we can control.”
Which certainly makes sense, too.
But what’s often overlooked is that lawmakers in Albany have severely watered down New York’s Rockefeller-era drug laws, which had imposed stiff penalties for narcotics-related crimes at a time when they were destroying the city.
“I don’t think there’s any question that the recent violence has occurred as a result of the changes in the drug laws,” says Queens District Attorney Richard Brown.
Today, dealers have little fear of doing serious time. They just claim to be addicts and — presto! — qualify for rehab programs.
“They just gave me a free-for-all,” one convict was taped saying after the 2009 reforms. “You know what that means? I’m burning up the streets when I go home.”
Narcotics arrests are down, too — possibly because cops see prosecutions as pointless. And with more hard traffickers on the loose, there’s more violence.
Plus, without stiff sentencing laws, prosecutors have little leverage with top peddlers and kingpins who might be arrested, so it’s harder to bust drug rings — and combat other crimes, too.
It’s a perfect storm: Fewer cops, fewer stop-and-frisks — and get-out-of-jail-free cards for violent traffickers.
It’s time to reform the reforms.
More stop-and-frisk. Tougher drug laws.
The alternative is more blood in the streets.Follow @NYPostOpinion