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NYPD ready to roll out new anti-crime units in neighborhoods with highest number of shootings

NYPD preparing to roll out new anti-crime units 02:31

NEW YORK -- With gun crimes continuing to rise, the NYPD is getting ready to roll out its new anti-crime units in the neighborhoods with the highest number of shootings.

CBS2 political reporter Marcia Kramer says new police commissioner Keechant Sewell is addressing concerns they could violate people's rights.

It was one of Mayor Eric Adams' key campaign promises -- to make the city safe again. With gun crimes still on the rise since Adams took office 10 weeks ago, the NYPD is now rolling out the first neighborhood safety teams, whose job will be to get the guns off the street.

They hit the streets Monday.

"We actually had to take a look at the mistakes of the past and what we needed to change. The officers are being trained in the Constitution, in community interaction, car stops, use of force," Sewell said.

The commissioner was careful to send a message that the new anti-gun teams will not be like the old plain clothes anti-crime units. Not only have they been carefully trained, but they will wear uniforms and body cameras.

The problem for the commissioner is that crime increase isn't just about guns.

Yes, the number of shooting victims is up nearly 19% since the beginning of the year -- 215 this year, 181 in 2021 -- but felony assaults are also up 19% -- 3,824 in 2022 compared to 3,210 in 2021.

In the subways, it's worse. The increase last week was 184% -- 17 compared to six -- and it's up more than 21% since the beginning of Adams' term, 103 vs. 85.

Joe Giacalone is a former NYPD detective and professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

"We're dealing with two hammer attacks, I think, in the subway in the last week and a half, and a lot of stabbings and slashings on the subways. That all starts with the turnstile jumping. We have to start getting back into that. It's a quality-of-life issue," he said.

The commissioner has attended two press conferences with the mayor and Gov. Kathy Hochul to announce new efforts to address subway crime.

"How can you expect people to come back to New York City and restore the economy if they're afraid to take the subway?" Kramer asked.

"We've added a significant number of officers to that program. The initiative is focused, it's clear and it's purposeful, so while the numbers are going up at this time, we certainly have put in place initiatives where we believe we will be able to turn the tide in subway crime. We want people to be safe," Sewell said.

The commissioner pointed out that while crime is up, cops are also making more arrests. They're up nearly 60% according to the latest crime stats.

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