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Former Gov George Pataki calls rise in shooting cases in New York City a 'regression to dark days' of crime

The Republican politician also accused the city's leaders of backing radicals to encourage anti-police sentiments
UPDATED JUL 27, 2020
George Pataki (Getty Images)
George Pataki (Getty Images)

Former New York governor George Pataki has slammed the spike in shooting incidents in New York City, saying it is a "regression to those dark days when criminals ruled the streets". Pataki, who served between 1995 and 2006 as the 53rd governor of the Empire State, also said that he is shocked by the high number of shootings, even at a time when the coronavirus pandemic has wreaked havoc.

While the US has witnessed more than 4.2 million people affected by the virus and over 146,000 dead, more than 32,000 people have died in New York alone. "When I took office, New York was one of the most dangerous states in America. People got used to safety over the last 20 years," the 70-year-old Pataki said during a radio interview with John Catsimatidis on 770 AM on Sunday, July 26.

Following a night of violent protests, demonstrations continue in Manhattan against the police killing of George Floyd on June 02, 2020, in New York City (Getty Images)

"They don’t remember the time back when we were so dangerous. What we are seeing now is a regression to those dark days when criminals ruled the streets. When parents were afraid to send their kids to school. And when tourists knew better than to come to New York. I'm worried about the future of New York," he added. NY has seen 634 shootings through July 12, compared to 396 in the same period in 2019, according to police statistics in a Daily Mail report. Arrests have been made in 23 percent of the shootings in 2020, which is below the typical rate of 30 percent. 

According to a report in the New York Post, shooting incidents went up alarmingly with NYC recording at least 63 cases during the week of July 13. During the same period last year, the number was 20. Two people were shot dead in separate incidents early on Sunday, as the spate of gun violence continued in NYC through the weekend.

President Donald Trump has also spoken about the rising instances of violence in New York and recently warned that he would deploy federal agents if the situation did not improve. This led to a controversy as Governor Andrew Cuomo said a day before the president’s announcement that the latter assured him that he would take the final call on the issue only after having a talk with the governor. NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio revealed earlier in July a vague "End Gun Violence Plan" that focuses on higher foot patrols, shifting deployments and holding more gun-buyback events in areas where the number of shootings has gone up. 

Pataki accuses city leadership of backing radicals

Pataki, who was the governor when the 9/11 attacks took place, also accused the city leadership of allowing "radicals" to encourage an anti-police sentiment. "Name one politician in the State of New York or the City of New York that's standing up and defending our police," he said, adding that radicals have taken over in a short span of time. 

The former governor also slammed the bail reform — which is often cited as one of the reasons for shootings — besides the Democratic leaders who he felt treated the criminals as victims. "I fear now with people working remotely… they’re going to say, 'I don't need the commute. I don't need to put up with the homeless on the streets. I don’t need to put up with the crime'," Pataki said. He further shared, "We're going backward. It’s tragic," and added, "We've got to change it."