The New York Post reports that the number of gunshot victims in New York has risen 28% in the last month. (The quality of life in and around Zuccotti Park has decreased commensurately, as health code violations pile up, but that’s another story.)
The time frame dovetails precisely with the rise of the Occupy Wall Street movement. So does this imply a cause-and-effect relationship between the two phenomena? Not necessarily. hen you look at the small sample numbers available for comparison—56 shootings last week as compared with 22 for the same week in 2010—the finding may well be outside the realm of statistical significance.
Then again, the Post observes:
Four high-ranking cops point the finger at Occupy Wall Street protesters, saying their rallies pull special crime-fighting units away from the hot zones where they’re needed.
Since Occupy Wall Street took over Zuccotti Park on Sept. 17, the NYPD has relied heavily on its borough task forces, the department’s go-to teams for rowdy crowds.
Verum Serum weighs in:
Of course the protesters have a right to protest, but there is a cost associated with it. Police have spent more than $3 million so far dealing with OWS. Pulling those cops from their high crime areas has also resulted in a spike in violent crime. At some point the city needs to say enough, limit the time and place these protests take place, and get back to work dealing with the real troublemakers.
The NYPD estimates that about 10% of the total force, or as many as 3,000 police officers a day, are diverted from their normal responsibilities when the OWS protesters march.
The drain on resources in high-crime neighborhoods was underscored dramatically last week when a pregnant Brooklyn mother was killed by a rooftop gunman after she selflessly threw herself in front of a group of schoolchildren.
In the meantime, the Occupiers, even if they lack a useful agenda, provide much-needed comic relief at a time when the public mood is dour. In this video clip (h/t Andrew Breitbart) from an Occupy San Francisco rally, a young woman engages in responsive reading with a crowd using both a "human megaphone" and an actual megaphone (which is the communications equivalent of wearing both a belt and suspenders). Notice the slight decrease in volume among her congregants when she calls for "a democracy in which the people have the right to print their own money."