We the People: City should actively combat quality-of-life and other crimes

Murders and rapes are on the rise in New York City but so are less serious quality-of-life crimes that are significant to ordinary citizens in New York City.

Anyone who travels the subways and streets of New York City knows that petty criminals, panhandlers and vandals are more active and less afraid of doing whatever they want, wherever they want to do it.

The national debate on police tactics should not convince our elected officials to care more about accused criminals than ordinary citizens. The initiatives to end unfairness in the stop-and-frisk policy of the NYPD should not simultaneously engender plans to stop enforcement of our laws.

It seems that City Hall has plans for a senior citizen program for drug dealers. NYPD spokesperson Stephen Davis announced that “an analysis of … violence … identified the core group of people committing … violence in certain areas was … the 18- to 35-year range … [and] a fair amount of the violence is related to drug activity [so] our narcotics division was told to focus … on those core … groups.”

One detective, on condition of anonymity, said, “If the undercovers are out there and they are trying to buy from drug dealers, they have to have a conversation with them and find out how old they are … if they’re over 40, they have to pass and move on.”

Although, Davis insisted that cops “were never instructed to disregard crimes being committed by people of a certain age,” the message to the officers on the street is don’t lock up people of a certain age. A police source reported that a veteran supervisor was told by a precinct commander he would be transferred if he busted one more group of older drug suspects.

The mayor should hire more police officers and give police commanders the resources and directives needed to safeguard the lives and property of the people. A Brooklyn career criminal convicted of wounding four police officers in a shootout in 2012 smiled in court when sentenced to 25 years to life on two counts of aggravated assault and 20 to life on three counts of attempted aggravated assault. The 100+ year sentence didn’t dampen his spirit as he shouted to friends in the courtroom, “I’ll be back.”

Who knows? He may be right. If the D.A.’s office continues to expand its exoneration program, then this defendant and others can make a case for “innocence” 15 or 30 years after the witnesses die, disappear or forget. It’s easier to raise reasonable doubt decades after an incident than when decades have passed since the prosecution.

By the time this defendant is released or exonerated, the city may have an obligation, if policies have changed, to provide him with a monetary award for his inconvenience, some decriminalized marijuana and a gun of his choice.

U.S. District Judge Frederick J. Scullin Jr. struck down Washington, D.C.’s strict requirement that gun permit applicants provide a “good reason” to get a permit for a gun. The ruling set an aggressive tone against local government’s regulation of gun possession.

If Scullin’s ruling is imposed on New York City, it could render unenforceable our own strict rules on gun permits that require a show of good reason to possess a gun for permit approval.

The judge concluded that the D.C. rule failed to demonstrate a “relationship” between public safety and the “good reason” requirement. He decided that the D.C. “good-reason” requirement ran afoul of the Second Amendment.

The judge basically equated all the rights guaranteed by the Bill of Rights to be equal without differentiation. I don’t believe the right to free speech or against the establishment of religion must be regulated the same way as “the right to keep and bear arms.”

The rights of citizens who want sensible gun regulation should matter as much as the rights of gun owners. Gun lobbyists will continue to work Congress to pass laws known as “shall issue” laws that would restrict local government from placing burdens on gun permit applicants and instead put the burden on the regulators to show why a gun permit should not be issued.

A founder of the Brooklyn Tea Party and a conservative candidate for City Council in 2013, Joseph Hayon, was arrested for possession of child pornography. It is alleged that sexual images of children between age two and 12 were recovered from his computers and after arraignment, he was released on $50,000 bail.


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