After Times Square shooting, NYC grappling with crime spree as tourists make plans, commuters return to work

Sunday marked the second time in only weeks an innocent bystander was struck by a bullet while walking through Times Square. On Monday, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio announced with New York Police Department (NYPD) brass that they would “flood the zone” of Times Square with dozens more police officers to address what he called “patterns” at the Crossroads of the World. 

“We are going into the Summer of New York City. We have more and more activity out there, more and more jobs coming back, more and more tourists coming back,” de Blasio continued during the Monday morning press conference. “They have to be safe and they have to feel safe.”

NYPD HUNTING FOR TIMES SQUARE SHOOTER AS OFFICIALS ANNOUNCE NEW PLAN TO FLOOD AREA WITH MORE COPS

Police patrol in Times Square following another daytime shooting in the popular tourist destination on June 28, 2021 in New York City.

Police patrol in Times Square following another daytime shooting in the popular tourist destination on June 28, 2021 in New York City. (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

But reporters had questions, not only about the rollout of 50 more cops in Times Square after city officials announced a similar plan just months earlier — also about what the latest shooting, on a busy Sunday in broad daylight, says about the safety of Times Square. 

“How can New Yorkers, or tourists, or anyone really feel safe when you announce these plans but then we’re still seeing unintended targets, innocent bystanders get shot in the middle of the day in Times Square?” one reporter asked. 

De Blasio responded that the added cops and police vigilance was historically “how we change any situation we’ve seen.”

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When pushed further about any potential negative effect the shooting could have on tourism and bringing the city back, de Blasio added, “We cannot let it have a negative effect. That’s the bottom line. It’s mission critical to get this right.”

Sunday’s shooting was preceded by a dispute between the gunman and several other people, police said. The 21-year-old victim was taken to a local hospital in stable condition. He was later identified by The Citadel, a South Carolina military college, as one of its Class of 2021 graduates, 2nd Lt. Samuel Poulin, who was with his wife and family at the time. 

Police are still looking for the gunman. 

Just last month, a 4-year-old girl who was buying toys, and two women, one of whom was a tourist, were in the area of West 44th Street and Seventh Avenue in Manhattan they, too, were struck by bullets

Police later arrested Farrakhan Muhammad, 31, in connection with the shooting after he allegedly fled to Florida. 

Officials and sources said at the time that two to four men began arguing around 5 p.m. on May 8 when one person, whom sources identified as “a CD hustler,” pulled out a gun and began shooting. 

On Monday, Brooklyn Borough President and potential Democratic candidate for Mayor Eric Adams called the most recent Times Square shooting “a chilling reminder of the rising threat of gun violence across our city.”

In addition to the increase in tourism and overall community safety, commuters are gradually beginning their return to the daily grind of New York City.

Zane Tankel, co-founder and CEO of Apple-Metro, Inc., which owns more than 30 Applebee’s franchises in the Big Apple, told Fox News, “New York will never come back until crime is under control again pre-de Blasio era.”

Curtis Sliwa, founder of community watchdog group the Guardian Angels and Republican mayoral candidate, held a press conference in Times Square calling for the reinstatement of the NYPD’s plain-clothes anti-crime unit as he emphasized the need to bolster forces further to prevent such crimes. 

“This is the gateway to the world. This is the most recognizable area of New York City. If there continues to be reports of violent crime – of shootings, of stabbings, of fights – who is going to want to come here and not only reinvest in Times Square, the millions of square feet of empty commercial space, or want to come into any of the hotels that just now are being relieved of the COVID-19 guests that have been staying there?”

New York City Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa speaks to the media in Times Square following another daytime shooting yesterday in the popular tourist destination on June 28, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

New York City Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa speaks to the media in Times Square following another daytime shooting yesterday in the popular tourist destination on June 28, 2021 in New York City. (Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images) (Spencer Platt/Getty Images)

Pat Brosnan is a retired NYPD detective who founded and serves as CEO of Brosnan Risk Consultants, which provides third-party patrol and security services and consulting. When asked if his New York City clients were more concerned now about their safety than in 2019 or 2020, he said, “absolutely.”

“Their collective conviction is that when they hit the bell for the Calvary to come, call 911, that due to defunding, due to widespread and sustained retirements, due to a reactive policing model … the response will be diminished. It’ll be longer,” he said, speaking to the concerns of “numerous existing clients and new clients and prospective clients.” “And that strikes an amount of fear into many of the folks that we’ve spoken to as it comes to the safety of themselves, their personnel, their family and their portfolio assets.”

As for whether he thinks companies will face any problems in bringing their employees back to their offices, he said he believes there might be some hesitancy “in the short term,” but noted that the city was “nowhere near” the historic crime highs of the late ‘80s and early ’90s. 

“The obituary for New York City has been written a lot of times,” he said. “I’m a lifetime New Yorker. And I have great confidence that collectively, we will rise above this and we will drive down the crime and COVID will be in the rearview mirror. And people will return to work with both confidence and expectation of security and safety that would be consistent with their expectations and with the expectations of their employers.”

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