Ex-NYPD detective on sharp uptick in violent crime: 'A law that isn't enforced is not a law'

Cities see sharp uptick in violent crime

Retired NYPD detective Pat Brosnan discusses New York City’s surge in violent crime.

The coronavirus in combination with other issues is leading the crime uptick in major cities across America, retired New York Police Department detective Pat Brosnan said on Monday.

“A law that is not enforced is not a law and until that changes, until that equation changes, and crime becomes illegal, we will see skyrocketing gun violence straight across all of our major cities,” Brosnan told "America's Newsroom."

Brosnan suggested that the coronavirus is not the only factor in the spike in crime.

“It’s a convenient narrative to lay the blame on the doorstep of COVID, granted, COVID is a contributing factor, there is no doubt about it," Brosnan said. "But, riots for fun and profit, a desecrated police department in both morale and operationally, and a completely destructed and destructed rule of law relative to the adherence to it are the main drivers here–they’re the catalyst. COVID is just a first cousin that was a cause and effect."

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From subway attacks to shootings, violent crime is surging in New York City – a startling reversal after years of record declines. 

On Thursday, a 40-year-old woman was shoved onto the subway tracks in Manhattan's Union Square station just before a train pulled in. She fell between the rails and a row bed, police said, escaping with minor injuries. A suspect was immediately arrested.

Hours earlier on Wednesday night, a man was shoved onto the tracks of the 42nd Street-Bryant Park station by a panhandler after refusing to give him money, authorities said. The victim was able to get back on the platform and wasn't seriously hurt. A suspect was arrested. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio has blamed the latest crime surge in part on business and school closures related to the coronavirus pandemic. 

“A lot of things we depend on to keep people safe and stable weren’t there,” he said Tuesday.

The increase in violence has given rise to fears that the city could be returning to darker times, decades ago, when residents feared for their safety amid a crack epidemic. The new crime wave comes as the city also grapples with a faltering economy and pressure to enact police reforms championed by racial justice advocates.

Citywide, shootings have nearly doubled — from 698 last year to 1,359 this year as of Nov. 15, according to NYPD figures. 

Shooting victims have more than doubled, from 828 during all of 2019 to 1,667 this year through Nov. 15. There have been 405 homicide victims so far this year, compared to 295 last year.

The NYPD declined to answer questions emailed by Fox News or provide a representative for an interview. 

To help combat gun violence, the NYPD eliminated its Homeless Outreach and Shelter Security Unit  — the team dedicated to assisting homeless New Yorkers — over the summer and reassigned the officers.

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Brosnan said that there is a “diminishment and demeaning of the police morale.”

“The reality is a brand new term has come to light, it is called de-arresting, where someone is lawfully placed under arrest for probable cause and then they are de-arrested because police commanders, under pressure from politicians, under pressure from the media, are saying certain crimes are no longer illegal so people get a free pass. So, how does that affect it at all?

“We have commercial burglaries up in New York City–42%. Car thefts 66%. A lot of this is directly related to the COVID, right, there is a lot more homeless, a lot more emotionally disturbed folks, but, the reality is this free-for-all sense that there is no sanction, there is no penalty, it is all carrot and no stick."

Fox News' Louis Casiano contributed to this report.

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