Progressive firebrand Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez tried to tamp down talk of a recent crime surge in the United States despite a double-digit spike in the number of shooting deaths in her home city.
"We are seeing these headlines about percentage increases," the New York Democrat said during a virtual town hall meeting made available online Sunday. "Now, I want to say that any amount of harm is unacceptable and too much, but I also want to make sure that this hysteria, you know, that this doesn't drive a hysteria and that we look at these numbers in context so that we can make responsible decisions about what to allocate in that context."
Ocasio-Cortez, who was discussing the situation with fellow New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman, once again defended the idea of defunding the police.
Her comments follow a spate of alarming statistics about an increase in violent crime across the country.
During the first five months of 2021, gunfire killed more than 8,100 people in the country, which is about 54 deaths a day. The average of the same period of time during the past six years was 14 deaths per day, according to an analysis by the Washington Post and the Gun Violence Archive.
The newspaper and the nonprofit research organization found that the number of casualties and the number of shootings that have killed or injured at least one person are on pace to beat 2020 numbers, which finished as the deadliest year in terms of gun violence in 20 years.
In Ocasio-Cortez's hometown of New York City, shooting incidents in May jumped 73% compared to the same period last year, according to the New York City Police Department. Overall hate crimes have increased by 98% this year, compared with the first five months of 2020, while crimes against the LGBTQ community jumped 188%, with 23 hate crimes reported through May 31, 2021, compared to eight during the same period in 2020. Antisemitic hate crimes in New York City have also been on the rise, jumping 37% this year compared to 2020, the NYPD said.
Experts have blamed the rise in numbers on inequality as well as the frayed relationship between law enforcement officers and the communities they police. The rise has also been exacerbated by economic shocks driven by COVID-19 shutdowns as well as coast-to-coast uprisings for racial justice following the deaths of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Jacob Blake, and Ahmaud Arbery.
In Ocasio-Cortez's city, the rise in violence has dominated the stage in the mayoral race and sparked policy debates.
The far-left "Squad" member suggested earlier this month that authorities should focus on underlying public health issues instead of using jails as "garbage bins."
"If we want to reduce violent crime, if we want to reduce the number of people in our jails, the answer is to stop building more of them," she said. "The answer is to make sure that we actually build more hospitals, we pay organizers, we get people mental healthcare and overall healthcare, employment, etc. It's to support communities, not throw them away."
Journalist Glenn Greenwald took a Twitter shot at Ocasio-Cortez, noting that she had the opportunity to vote against $2 billion in additional funds for the Capitol Police.
"Instead, she voted 'present' to get more police protection for herself," Greenwald tweeted.
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Original Author: Barnini Chakraborty
Original Location: AOC dismissal of rising crime rates comes despite massive spikes in own city