FOR BREAKING NEWS VISIT WWW.QNS.COM MARCH 25, 2022 • THE QUEENS COURIER 24
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Photo by Dean Moses
The Neighborhood Safety Teams face a must-win situation for New York, and they must perform as designed.
Story: Queens leaders urge state to make drinks-to-go
Summary: Queens lawmakers gathered at Mojitos Restaurant
Bar in Jackson Heights last week to voice their support of
Governor Kathy Hochul’s eff orts to make alcohol-to-go
permanent in this year’s fi nal budget.
Reach: 5,070 (as of 03/21/22)
A must-win situation
Like it or not, the NYPD has once again
sent teams of trained offi cers out on duty with
one goal: Target the city’s most dangerous gun
Th e Neighborhood Safety Teams unveiled
last week replaced the old Anti-Crime Teams
that each police precinct, at one point, had.
Th ose teams were dissolved in the summer of
2020 as the city experienced a public reckoning
with police brutality and racial injustice stemming
from the George Floyd police murder in
Th e facts were that Anti-Crime Teams —
made up of plainclothes offi cers on patrol in
unmarked vehicles — were eff ective in getting
guns off the streets, but they also had a history
of crossing the line when it came to the constitutional
rights of people, specifi cally through
stop-and-frisk. Th e teams also were involved
in a number of police shootings.
Now, the Neighborhood Safety Teams —
dispatched to more than 30 precincts where
gun crimes are most prevalent — aim to be
an improvement on the Anti-Crime Teams of
old. Th e members wear special uniforms and
bodycams to record their responses. Th ey’ve
been specifi cally trained in what Mayor Eric
Adams calls “precision policing,” meaning that
they are sworn to avoid unconstitutional tactics
and brutality while simultaneously targeting
individuals known to the department for having
a history of gun violence.
Most importantly, Adams noted at a
Wednesday event unveiling the new teams,
these offi cers will have a special focus on
working with the community, meeting with
community leaders and earning the respect
and cooperation of the neighborhoods they
Criminal justice advocates have cringed at
the introduction of the Neighborhood Safety
Teams, hoping that they’ll avoid the sins that
plagued the old Anti-Crime Teams. We hope
and trust that the Neighborhood Safety Teams
will accomplish their mission while respecting
human rights and the law — because they need
to be successful.
New York has been battling higher volumes
of gun crime for nearly two years now. Th e
pandemic era has been riddled with bullets.
Th e city’s streets aren’t the Wild West or even
back to “the bad old days” of the early 1990s, but
it’s too close for comfort for the vast majority
of New Yorkers, of all backgrounds, who look
at the daily reports of violence and mayhem,
and ask, “Why?”
If New York is to get back to the pre-pandemic
days of relative safety and greater prosperity, then the
rise in rampant gun crime must finally be arrested.
Th e Neighborhood Safety Teams face a mustwin
situation for New York, and they must
perform as designed. Failure is not an option.