Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez claimed during a virtual town hall that the increase in crime in New York City could be because residents don’t have enough money to pay rent and are forced to shoplift.
Ocasio-Cortez held a virtual town hall meeting Thursday that was broadcast from her official Facebook account and took questions from her constituents, which included inquiries about the recent spikes in crimes.
“Do we think this has to do with the fact that there’s record unemployment in the United States right now? The fact that people are at a level of economic desperation that we have not seen since the Great Recession?” the New York Democrat said.
“Maybe this has to do with the fact that people aren’t paying their rent and are scared to pay their rent and so they go out, and they need to feed their child and they don’t have money so … they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry.”
AOC on increased NYC crime: “Maybe this has to do with the fact that people aren’t paying their rent & are scared to pay their rent & so they go out & they need to feed their child & they don’t have money so… they feel like they either need to shoplift some bread or go hungry.” pic.twitter.com/oHSTWWJZ6a
— The Hill (@thehill) July 12, 2020
Violent crimes in New York City, such as shootings, have spiked in the weeks following the death of George Floyd, which sparked protests and riots across the country to denounce police brutality and systemic racism.
Just this weekend, 15 people were shot in a 15-hour period, more than triple the number of shootings that happened there this time last year. There have been 43 shootings in the last week, compared to 13 during the same time period in 2019. Over Independence Day weekend, there were 10 shootings and one person killed in a nine-hour span.
June saw more of the same, with law enforcement sources telling the New York Post that murders and shootings were much higher than in the same period last June. Thirteen murders and 40 shootings took place between June 1-7, compared to five murders and 24 shootings during the same time period in 2019.
The congresswoman also relayed during the town hall that the crime spikes are occurring when the force is operating with a $6 billion budget, as the $1 billion cut announced by Mayor Bill de Blasio hasn’t taken effect yet.
“Let me make something super clear for everyone,” Ocasio Cortez said. “The New York City Police Department has not been defunded, even with these budgetary changes that were proposed in the city council. A.) They’re not fully enacted. B.) They aren’t a real $1 billion in cuts. C.) These cuts aren’t really real. And again, they haven’t even happened yet.”