New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio attended his first CompStat meeting yesterday at a time when the city is grappling with a new wave of gun violence, the Wall Street Journal reports. Analysts said de Blasio’s appearance sent a message that he is engaged and is taking trends in public safety seriously. This year, the city has seen reductions in most major crime categories but shootings are at their highest levels since 2012. From Jan. 1 to Aug. 10, there have been 702 shooting incidents, compared with 621 for the same period last year.
Franklin Zimring, a professor at Berkeley School of Law, said the mayor’s presence at the briefing indicated he was “taking crime very seriously.” So far, Zimring said, the mayor can point to several law-enforcement successes, such as declining homicides as the police department rolls back its use of stop-and-frisk, which had created friction with black and Latino communities. Eugene O’Donnell of John Jay College of Criminal Justice, a former police officer, said de Blasio’s appearance at the briefing overall shows “police brass that there isn’t a divide between him and them, that they’re on the same page, that he’s willing to be supportive of them. It’s symbolic.”