Representative Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D., N.Y.) claimed recently that concern over a recent surge in crime in U.S. cities is “hysteria.”
“We are seeing these headlines about percentage increases,” Ocasio-Cortez said during a virtual town hall on Friday, clips of which were shared online on 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,” she said during the discussion with Representative Jamaal Bowman (D., N.Y.) on Zoom.
During the discussion, Ocasio-Cortez also agreed with Bowman that law enforcement should be defunded.
Ocasio-Cortez’s comments came just days before a 21-year-old tourist in New York City was shot in broad daylight outside the Marriott Hotel in Times Square while walking with his family, according to police.
New York City’s overall shooting incidents have spiked 53.2 percent year-to-date and murders have increased 13.3 percent year-to-date, according to the latest available NYPD data. The trend is not new: in 2020, homicides increased by 35 percent from 2019 across the 50 largest urban areas, bringing crime in many cities to levels not seen in more than 20 years.
Meanwhile, the progressive “Squad” member suggested earlier this month that authorities should focus on underlying public health issues instead of constructing prisons. She said it is “not acceptable” to use 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 health care and overall health care, employment, etc. It’s to support communities, not throw them away.”
Independent journalist Glenn Greenwald was quick to note that last month Ocasio-Cortez had the opportunity to vote against $2 billion in additional funds for the Capitol Police that House Speaker Nancy Pelosi proposed.
“Instead, she voted ‘present’ to get more police protection for herself,” he said in a tweet.
Meanwhile, though Bowman has called to defund the “white supremacist” police, he also reportedly requested that the Yonkers Police Department increase their presence where he lives following alleged “death threats” after the Capitol riot on January 6.