The “Take Back the Block” initiative began Friday evening in Harlem. De Blasio said he chose Harlem as the neighborhood to start the program because of the number of shootings that have occurred there over the past few weekends.
“Increased NYPD presence at hotspots at key locations, more patrol officers on foot and in vehicles but also more community presence,” de Blasio said.
NYPD officers will be visible on 20 streets in Harlem and NYCHA developments. Advocates, clergy, civic leaders, business owners, and civilians will walk the streets alongside the officers.
However, at a time when crime in the city is spiking and the police department has just had its budget cut by $1 billion dollars, former NYPD Lieutenant Dr. Darrin Porcher says he doesn’t believe De Blasio’s plan will work
“I think when you implement a pilot project, it needs to be at a state of calm, not at a state of acrimony.”
Porcher says he finds it challenging for community leaders to be able to intervene in a homicide or shooting.
“I think it’s necessary for us to have armed individuals to marshall in the crime,” Porcher said.
PBA President Patrick Lynch clammed De Blasio, saying the Mayor had given NYPD officers another vague plan to stop the violence.
“Our communities are hurting,” Lynch said in a statement. “They need us to be able to do our job, but we have zero faith that the Mayor or other elected officials will support us when we do.”
The violence prevention plan also includes a series of Youth Events that include pop-up sports clinics hosted by the Parks Department and the NYPD.