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De Blasio: NYPD Will Go After Knives, Box Cutters As They Supplant Guns

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Mayor Bill de Blasio on Thursday issued a news flash on the state of crime in New York City.

As CBS2 Political Reporter Marcia Kramer reported, the NYPD has succeeded in taking more guns off the streets – but the bad guys have now armed themselves with knives, box cutters, and other sharp instruments.

The number of slashings and stabbings in New York City is up over 22 percent since the first of the year. But what many of CBS2's viewers and followers on social media wanted to know was what steps were being taken to protect people.

Kramer posed those questions to the mayor.

"Guns are being taken off the street in an unprecedented way. Some people are unfortunately turning to a different weapon – thank God, typically a less deadly weapon – but they're turning to a different weapon," de Blasio said. "Well, guess what that means. The NYPD will now go get those weapons."

The mayor is right. The NYPD is now trying to take away knives, razors, box cutters, and other instruments used to slash and stab.

Since the first of year, officers have confiscated 212 cutting instruments in the subways – a 46 percent increase over last year.

But that still has not stopped the headline-grabbing slashing crimes – among the latest involving a cabbie who was stabbed for no reason. And while the NYPD has beefed up subway patrols, some people are still worried about walking down the street.

"I get calls and texts from my parents in Florida," said Alexandra Carter of Clinton. "It's so scary."

"Everybody is worried about something random happening to them," another woman said.

"Box cutters, knives, razors – you put it in your pocket. It doesn't look like – a gun takes up, you can sometimes see the shape of a gun," said Christine Kuwalas. "These other weapons are convenient."

On Wednesday, the mayor and the NYPD announced a program to send more officers into the subway at night and protect people from slashing and other crimes.

Kramer pointed out to de Blasio that multiple high-profile violent crimes have happened in just the past day not in the subways, but on the streets.

Kramer: "Mr. Mayor, in the last 24 hours, a cabbie was stabbed for no reason, a Dunkin' Donuts employee was slashed for removing a homeless person, and a 91-year-old woman was mugged in Park Slope. What are you going to do to protect people above ground?"

De Blasio: "Marcia, I've said it to you before, and you ask the same question over and over. I believe in the NYPD. They are continuing to drive down crime. Anytime they see a pattern, they address it with a very great precision and very great impact."

Kramer: "What can you do psychologically to make people in New York City feel safer?"

De Blasio: "Marcia, I think we're just going to have a disagreement on this, with all due respect. I believe in the NYPD. We have the finest police force in the United States of America. The people of New York City are very well-served by the NYPD, and they never neglect any pattern they see."

But while shootings and murders continue to plunge to historic lows, other above-ground crimes continue to climb. Robbery, assaults and grand larceny are on the rise, and rapes are up 26 percent for the month of February.

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