Colby Hamilton, Writer, WNYC News
Colby Hamilton is a general assignment reporter. He originally joined WNYC as a political blogger. He's a proud graduate of the CUNY Graduate School of Journalism.
Mayors Michael Bloomberg and Rahm Emanuel – both battling fierce crime spikes in their respective cities – have defended their police departments’ practices amid a rash of headline-grabbing violence.
In New York, 21 people were shot and killed between July 2 and July 8, according to the New York Post. That’s three more deaths than over the same time period last year.
“We are doing every single thing that we can to keep you and your kids safe,” Bloomberg said Monday, “and if there’s anything that we’re missing, love to have your suggestions.”
Bloomberg has been a staunch defender of Police Commissioner Ray Kelly and the NYPD’s stop-and-frisk tactics.
“I do not think we’re in the middle of a crime wave,” he said. “We’re doing the same thing tomorrow that we did yesterday. It’s been working for the last 10 years.”
On Tuesday, the mayor downplayed the scope of the recent spike in violence.
Similarly, Rahm Emanuel is looking to separate the more grisly statistics from Chicago’s broader crime figures. In an interview with CBS News, Emanuel pointed out that crime, overall, was down 10 percent.
“[W]e have a gun violence issue specifically tied to gangs,” he said, referring to the murder rate that has jumped 30 percent.
Chicago has so far not taken on New York’s stop-and-frisk tactics. The city's police chief, Garry McCarthy, is a former member of the NYPD.
Instead, Emanuel and McCarthy are adding more boots on the street, and combined them with tactics meant to target core behavior. Vacant buildings are being torn down and liquor stores are closed up in an attempt to target something less tangible: values.
“We've got two gangbangers, one standing next to a kid. Get away from that kid. Take your stuff away to the alley. Don't touch the children of the city of Chicago. Don't get near them. And it is about values,” Emanuel said during his interview on CBS. “How were you raised? And I don't buy this case where people say they don't have values. They do have values. They have the wrong values. Don't come near the kids -- don't touch them."