After an interminable winter, there’s something glorious about the first warm day of spring. But the sunshine brings danger, too.
Last weekend, as New Yorkers scrambled outside to enjoy the warmest day of the year, 20 people were shot in the city, one fatally, in more than a dozen incidents.
In part, the surge in violence sticks to a familiar seasonal rhythm: criminologists will tell you that as the weather warms up, and people head outside, crime rates rise, too. Turns out, criminals are no dummies; they don’t like the cold any more than the rest of us.
But this year’s warm season brings with it some unusual omens. While the city protested the death of Eric Garner in Staten Island and police shootings around the country, it’s hard not to sense that a lot of risidual anger remains. Warmer weather, combined with the spark that could come from yet another shooting at any moment, could prove particularly dangerous.
That, and myriad other reasons, makes it that much more important for Mayor Bill deBlasio to approve the 1,000 additional police officers that NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton has requested. The mayor -- inexplicably, really, for the leader of America’s biggest city -- has held out, deeming the extra cops as unncessary. As he’s waffled, the homicide rate in the city has inched up, and weekends like our last one have rattled New Yorkers.
de Blasio is a smart student of our civic history. He knows that no New York mayor -- ever -- has been effective without the support of the NYPD.
That support is nonexistent at the moment. He could change that by adding the 1,000 new officers now, for what could be a long, hot summer.