When it comes to crime, let’s do what works, not what fails

How do we put a stop to violent crime?

“Let’s do what works, not what fails” says socialist mayoral candidate Cathy Rojas.

There’s a story of a boy who was staring down on the sidewalk when a man walking by asked him what he’s looking for. “I dropped a quarter on 23rd St.,” the boy explains. 

“But this is 14th St., son, why aren’t you looking on 23rd St?” 

“There’s more light here” says the boy, who keeps on looking.

This is the approach the politicians, the press and the powers that be want us to have when they discuss crime. They shed light on the only “solution” that has never worked, and never will work – more police with bigger guns and a “free hand” to run rampant in poor and working class communities.

Violent crimes, crimes that kill innocent children, women and men, is a terrible scourge, and demands solutions – real solutions. But what is being relentlessly sold to everyday people in the media doesn’t solve the problem or address real concerns around public safety.

Cathy Rojas, the socialist candidate for mayor, explained: “The police are not the best ones to handle escalating violence. The reality is that community-based methods, like violence interruption programs, that do make a difference have been underfunded for decades. The real NYPD budget is about $11 billion, counting bloated pensions, debt service and other perks. Money needs to be put toward what works, not what doesn’t work.” 

For example, in 2019, the city’s Judgment and Claims Division paid out $210 million to cover the costs of substantiated claims of misconduct, brutality and violence by NYPD officers.  

“The victims and their families of course deserve compensation, but this payout is by taxpayers with virtually no accountability from the police. This is unacceptable. To brutalize a civilian is a crime! Getting a desk job, being put on paid leave, or some other slap on the wrist, amounts to enabling more brutality.”

Even NYPD’s own crime figures show an overall decrease of 1.7% compared to 2020. But according to the corporate press, our city is under siege in a major crime wave. 

Crime is a health care issue

According to a study by the Brookings Institute, “Most people who cycle through our criminal justice system have serious health care needs. Three out of every five state prisoners and sentenced jail inmates have a substance abuse problem…an increase in the number of treatment facilities causes a reduction in both violent and financially-motivated crime…what if we increased access to treatment in communities, so that people could get help before they get into trouble? ….[M]any people who need treatment don’t have health insurance, and so the care they need — even when available nearby — is unaffordable….when Medicaid expanded, both violent and property crime rates fell.” 

Cathy explains: “My campaign demands that funds from the bloated NYPD budget be transferred to violence interruption programs, health care services, mental health services, job and job training programs, and social service programs that we know work. Programs that help poor and working class communities and can dramatically reduce street crime and address public safety. Cops with guns don’t keep us safe, but social workers, crisis workers and trained professionals do.”