The defenders of Bill de Blasio, and even some in the media, questioned the facts as they repeated Mayor de Blasio’s constant mantra that New York is one of the safest big cities in America. Tell that to any woman who was raped, assaulted or abused; ask her how safe she feels in our city.
Since Mayor de Blasio has taken office, we’ve seen felony sex crimes increase by 25 percent and misdemeanor sex crimes by 22 percent. From 2014-2016, subway sex crimes have increased by 51 percent. Some of the most heinous incidents happened in Queens this month.
Late in the evening of July 11, an incident took place in Jamaica that shines a spotlight on sexual abuse, the homeless crisis and the dysfunction of the de Blasio administration in dealing with the problems that face our city.
A 50 year-old woman headed home from church was robbed, dragged into a vacant lot, stripped naked and sexually assaulted. It turns out that the perpetrators of this horrific crime were residents of a homeless shelter operated under contract with the city and administered by the Department of Youth and Community Development, which ultimately, was responsible for oversight of the young men who took part in the assault.
From media reports on the assault and investigation that followed, it appears that the perpetrators used the shelter as a base of operations for criminal activity that terrorized the surrounding neighborhood.
You have at-risk and homeless youth living in a facility, funded by the taxpayers, that is required to provide 24-hour supervision and enforce a 10 p.m. curfew. But, we find its residents out roaming the streets and committing a heinous sexual assault at 11 p.m. on July 11, and a 3 a.m. gunpoint robbery in late June.
The Department of Youth and Community Development readily admits that it conducts site visits of the facility on a monthly basis. Obviously, that is not enough and should make all New Yorkers even more skeptical of the mayor’s plan to build 90 more homeless shelters in communities across our city.
Less than 24 hours after the sexual assault took place on this street, Bill de Blasio held a “Women for de Blasio” rally on the steps of Brooklyn’s Borough Hall. Surrounded by cheering Park Slope progressives, he spoke about his agenda on women’s issues.
Later the same week, a 36-year-old woman sitting in her car in Richmond Hill was robbed and raped at gunpoint by two men, and on July 19 a man allegedly robbed, sexually abused and forced a 17-year-old jogger to perform a sex act on him in Kissena Park.
The day before, the same man allegedly robbed and raped a 32-year-old walking in the same park.
Bill de Blasio needs to understand that his appointment of judges soft on crime, his supervised release program, and his mismanagement of homeless shelters all contribute to the problem.
Being mayor is about the people of this city and showing leadership when incidents like this take place. Perhaps, if he spent less time traveling back and forth to the gym or flying across the country or around the world to promote his personal agenda, he might find the time to understand the roots of sexual assault or to address a homeless crisis that continues to put all New Yorkers at risk.
Nicole Malliotakis is an Assembly member representing Brooklyn and Staten Island and 2017 candidate for mayor of New York City.