Last week, Mayor Bloomberg, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced the indictments of 16 defendants allegedly involved in illegal gun trafficking.
Said Vance, in a written statement:
There have been 127 shooting incidents this year in Manhattan, with 152 victims. Nineteen of those victims were shot to death.
Fortunately, shootings are down in the city and murder is down 18 percent. We are on track to establish a new record low this year. We’ve accomplished this through proactive policing strategies like Operation Impact. Through Operation Crew Cut — aimed at loosely affiliated groups like those selling guns in this case — we hope to make the city even safer.
“One of the reasons New York is the safest big city in the nation is because we employ every tool available to us — including legislation, litigation and enforcement — to take illegal guns off our streets,” said Bloomberg.
The same can not be said of illegal and careless driving. While gun violence is down in the city, traffic fatalities spiked in the last fiscal year. In Manhattan, 26 pedestrians and cyclists were killed in collisions with motor vehicles from January through August, according to NYPD data compiled by Streetsblog, and 2,664 were injured.
Through August of this year, someone died in New York City traffic about every 30 hours, on average, and an injury occurred every 14 seconds. There is no concerted effort between city prosecutors and NYPD to get those numbers down, or to ensure that victims get justice. To the contrary, few crashes are even investigated.
Imagine a photo op to tout 2,664 gun-related injuries, or a citywide gun crimes investigation unit comprised of just 19 officers, like the NYPD Accident Investigation Squad.
Until police and electeds treat vehicular violence as seriously as other public health threats, traffic casualties will be the asterisk at the bottom of every self-congratulatory law enforcement press release.