Thanks to a number of unmeasurable factors including three brutal winter storms, New York City is enjoying a significant drop in violent crime, including robberies and murders. The New York Times has made of this occasion an “I told you so” occasion, giving all the credit to Mayor Bill de Blasio despite his limited time in office.
The Times delivered the report with an introduction thumbing its nose at critics of the de Blasio campaign, arguing that “some people” (whoever they may be) argued that, under de Blasio, “the city might be plunged back into an era of rampant crime.” This argument, they proceed to imply, is invalid because de Blasio has not managed to return Times Square to its full “Love is a Battlefield” glory during his two months in office–never mind that he has not managed to do much of anything else, either, except “stumble about like a drunk” and make children cry.
The Times does report facts on the drop in crime in 2014: murders are down 19 percent since 2013, while shootings are down 13 percent. Only assault and car theft are more prevalent in the last two months than in the year before. But while the newspaper attempts to laud de Blasio for these changes, even the experts quoted in the piece find it a strangely premature move to begin suggesting that the new statistics will form a trend. One professor cited in the piece tells the paper it is “not prudent” to draw any conclusions currently, and even the Times writers admit that the policy changes suggested by de Blasio have not been implemented yet. It also cites the cold and snowy weather as a factor contributing to the drop in crime.
The piece on the radically progressive Democrat is a stark contrast to the Times‘ approach to moderate Democratic Senator Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ). Booker, who rose to prominence as the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, took to fame with zest, becoming a darling of talk shows and Twitter followers everywhere. However, the New York Times‘ coverage of his work in Newark has been merciless. Just last week, the paper described Booker’s mayoral style as that of an “absentee landlord” who showed up to his building on occasion with ice pops (Booker has, in fact, brought ice pops with him into the rougher parts of Newark for photo ops). The New York Times also broke the astronomical rise in number of carjackings in Newark during 2013.
The focus on the drop in crime in New York City in January and February masks the effects of policies that Mayor de Blasio has had the time to implement, most prominently the devastating impact of his educational policies on the children of the city. De Blasio’s insistence on implementing a tax increase on New Yorkers who make more than $500,000 a year to fund a universal pre-Kindergarten program irritated the leadership in Albany; his decision to shut down one of the more successful charter school networks in the city got Governor Andrew Cuomo out on the streets of Albany to rally with charter school parents against the mayor. The New York Post reports that parents are outraged that de Blasio’s “ridiculous” and “crazy” choices, having to soothe their children’s crying over being kicked out of their own schools.