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Gov. Cuomo slams rising NYC crime rate after latest hate attack on Asian woman

Gov. Andrew Cuomo has slammed the skyrocketing crime rate in New York City and hit out at a lack of ‘competence’ by mayor Bill de Blasio.

The Governor told reporters at his latest Covid press conference that crime has become a ‘major problem’ in the Big Apple, and said it would be up to the current slate of city mayoral candidates to address it. 

Responding to a question about the Monday attack of a 55-year-old Asian woman in Chinatown that left her hospitalized, Cuomo said there is no single solution to the increasingly visible acts of violence throughout the city.

But he said he believes the fundamental issue was a deteriorated relationship between police and the communities they serve. 

‘Crime in New York City is a major problem,’ he said. ‘I have said repeatedly, as you know, we’re talking about reopening, reimagining, getting people to come back to New York, back to offices, etcetera. We have all sorts of incentives in economic development. The number one economic development priority is public safety.’

Cuomo appeared to take a dig at Mayor Bill DeBlasio when he said that the choice for the next mayor would be hugely consequential.

He said: ‘This mayor matters, and we need someone who can both communicate with the people of the city and bring the people of the city together and get things done.

‘You need a level of competence that doesn’t currently exist.’

Gov. Andrew Cuomo said crime in New York City had become a major problem while responding to a question about a 55-year-old Asian woman who was sucker punched in the face in Chinatown on Monday. Cuomo is pictured Wednesday at the Javits center where he made the remarks

In 2021, almost every type of violent crime is on the rise in New York City. According to recent figures from Compstat, the NYPD’s data gathering unit, crime is up 30 percent city wide. 

In total in 2021, there have been 32,695 major crimes reported. There have been nearly 400 more major crimes reported this week in New York than there were in the same week last year – a surge in 30 percent.

Bill de Blasio says crimes has soared because the world was ‘turned on its head’ with COVID. He has also blamed a backlog in the court system for it, saying it means criminals are on the streets longer than they might have been before.

The NYPD lays the blame with de Blasio’s bail reform which has meant many more suspected criminals have been let out of jail early, or never put there in the first place. 

Cuomo said he believes in-depth discussions are required to address the crime issue, and encouraged the candidates to come up with detailed solutions, whether they involve bail reform, police misconduct disclosures or parole reform and then come to state lawmakers with their concerns.

‘This is not [just] today, we’ve been talking about this for months. George Floyd was an inflection point nationwide, but there’s been a growing tension for years.

‘The police officers will tell you, and the community members will tell you it’s not a simple one-fix cure all and that’s why I think it should be a major topic of the mayoral debate.’ he said. 

‘I would have a debate just on crime to drill down into the specifics.’ 

He declined to endorse any specific candidate. 

This chart shows how serious crimes - including felony assaults and murders - have soared in NYC over the last 12 months

This chart shows how serious crimes – including felony assaults and murders – have soared in NYC over the last 12 months 

Cuomo’s comments on crime came days after a homeless man was seen on security footage punching an Asian woman so hard in the face that she was knocked to the ground in a random attack in NYC’s on Monday afternoon.

Alexander Wright, 48, was charged with a hate crime in the attack, in which he appeared to randomly punch the woman in the face as she was walking down the sidewalk in front of the Kong Sihk Tong restaurant on Bayard Street. 

Four of the New York mayoral candidates in a crowded Democratic primary field spoke out at rallies condemning Monday’s incident not far from where it occurred, the New York Daily News reported. 

Cuomo's comments came as three Democratic mayoral primary candidates gathered on Bayard Street at the site of the attack earlier in the day to condemn the crime

Cuomo’s comments came as three Democratic mayoral primary candidates gathered on Bayard Street at the site of the attack earlier in the day to condemn the crime

Kathryn Garcia a former city sanitation commissioner said police presence and a focus on mental health were needed to combat such crimes

Kathryn Garcia a former city sanitation commissioner said police presence and a focus on mental health were needed to combat such crimes

‘This was not someone who was victimizing only Asian-Americans, he was victimizing New Yorkers,’ said Andrew Yang, who is seen as a leading candidate in the race, on the Bowery just blocks away from where the attack took place. ‘It’s unacceptable. Our city has been failing us for far too long.’ 

‘We have to go after Asian hate crime,’ said former city Sanitation Commissioner Kathryn Garcia, who is also vying for the candidacy. ‘We need to have a police presence here to protect people. But we need to go deeper. We need to make sure we are dealing with the mental health crisis on our streets.’

She joined former federal housing secretary Shawn Donovan and city Comptroller Scott Stringer, at a separate press conference on Bayard Street. All three are also vying for the mayoral candidacy. 

Shawn Donovan, a former federal housing secretary who is also vying for the candidacy was present at Wednesday's rally

Shawn Donovan, a former federal housing secretary who is also vying for the candidacy was present at Wednesday’s rally

City Comptroller Scott Stringer is also running in the crowded mayoral Democratic primary field. He too was present on Bayard street Wednesday

City Comptroller Scott Stringer is also running in the crowded mayoral Democratic primary field. He too was present on Bayard street Wednesday 

‘I’m outraged and saddened, like all of us, that we are doing this again,’ Donovan said. ‘It is outrageous in our city that a mother has to wonder whether she can walk to the store, a child has to worry that even going outside is a threat to their life.’

Monday’s attack was caught on video. It has since emerged that Wright has been arrested 41 times since his 17th birthday, including eight times in the past year alone Dailymail.com as learned.    

Police records reviewed by DailyMail.com show Alexander Wright¿s first arrest was a robbery in September 1989

Police records reviewed by DailyMail.com show Alexander Wright’s first arrest was a robbery in September 1989

At his arraignment Wednesday, prosecutors highlighted Wright’s most recent arrests in recommending high bail to actually keep him behind bars this time, including an open case in the Bronx from last July.

‘In that case, the defendant is accused of striking a 72-year-old man in the face with a closed fist, causing the victim to fall to the ground,’ Manhattan assistant district attorney William Darling told the judge. ‘The victim in that case did then seek treatment at a hospital. He is currently released on his own recognizance. The defendant has failed to appear twice on that case and has been returned on warrants both times.’

‘The defendant pled guilty to two violent crimes in New York County only four days ago,’ Darling continued, one where he ‘threw a rock through a window, causing damage to the window, and minutes later grabbed a stranger by the face, scratching the victim’s face causing lacerations to his face and substantial pain.’

In the other, ‘the defendant threw hot coffee into the faces and eyes of two traffic officers, causing redness and substantial pain.’

He then detailed Monday’s assault, pointing out that Wright walked up to a complete stranger and ‘struck her in the face with a closed fist so hard that her hat flew off her head, she fell to the ground, and lost consciousness.’

Alexander Wright  has been arrested 41 times since his 17th birthday in 1989  ¿ including eight times in the past year alone, DailyMail.com has learned

Alexander Wright  has been arrested 41 times since his 17th birthday in 1989  – including eight times in the past year alone, DailyMail.com has learned

‘Given the defendant’s record the viciousness of this attack, the People are currently recommending 364 days jail,’ Darling argued.

Judge Angela Badamo agreed with the prosecution’s recommendation to set bail at $15,000 cash.      

Surveillance camera captured the attack, which shows the woman falling to the sidewalk due to the force of the punch.

Several pedestrians were seen rushing to help to her as she lay motionless on the pavement afterwards.

Police have charged Wright with a hate crime over a sickening assault on a 55-year old Asian woman in New York City's Chinatown area. The victim (in pink) is seen strolling along minding her own business before Wright (in the orange hoodie and denim vest) punches her in the face

Police have charged Wright with a hate crime over a sickening assault on a 55-year old Asian woman in New York City’s Chinatown area. The victim (in pink) is seen strolling along minding her own business before Wright (in the orange hoodie and denim vest) punches her in the face

Assemblywoman Yuh-Line Niou, whose district encompasses Chinatown, shared the video of the attack on Twitter, which quickly went viral.

Bystander Jin Zhen posted to Instagram, saying he ran to a nearby police precinct to alert officers who were able to track Wright down several blocks away.

The Chinatown attack came after other terrifying crimes were captured on camera in New York City over the Memorial Day Weekend and in recent weeks. Unsuspecting Big Apple residents have been violently set upon on sidewalks and in subways.

Compstat statistics show transit crimes – those taking place on NYC public transport – rocketed by almost 162 per cent in the last seven days.

A total of 55 transit crimes were recorded between May 17 and May 23 – far more than the 21 recorded over the same week in 2020.

On Sunday, a 64-year-old man was cornered by a pair of robbers at a Midtown subway turnstile at East 59th Street and Lexington Ave.

Wright was taken into custody and charged with assault, assault as a hate crime and possession of controlled substance

Wright was taken into custody and charged with assault, assault as a hate crime and possession of controlled substance

Bystander Jin Zhen posted to Instagram, saying he ran to a nearby police precinct to alert officers who were then able to track Wright down several blocks away

Bystander Jin Zhen posted to Instagram, saying he ran to a nearby police precinct to alert officers who were then able to track Wright down several blocks away

Surveillance video showed the two in distinctive, flashy footwear jumping the victim before punching him and cutting his face with a knife.

Identified only as Brooklyn-resident H.M., the victim said he is done commuting to Manhattan after the vicious and unprovoked attack, ABC7NY reports.

‘I feel angry and upset and sad,’ he said. He had just finished praying at a Midtown mosque.

‘Hit me two times here, in this eye and this eye, and the other guy, he brought a razor,’ he added. ‘And the blood start coming and took the money from me and disappeared.’

He required 12 stitches on his forehead and other two stitches near one of his eyes. He wore a COVID-19 mask during the Eyewitness News interview to obscure his identity out of fear that his attackers might come after him again.

Meanwhile, a teenage boy was killed and 11 others were left injured after a series of shootings in New York City across the weekend.

The 15-year-old, identified by NBC New York as Amir James of the Bronx, was shot in the chest and killed in East Harlem around 10:30pm on Monday night at Lexington Ave. and E. 123rd St. 

Last week, New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo admitted New Yorkers don’t feel safe in their own city.

‘We have a major crime problem in New York City. Everything we just talked about, with the economy coming back, you know what the first step is? People have to feel safe.

‘We’re building new projects, stimulating new business – what comes before that is public safety, otherwise none of it works.

‘New Yorkers don’t feel safe and they don’t feel safe because the crime rate is up. It’s not that they are being neurotic or overly sensitive – they are right.

‘Subways are cleaner than they’ve been, operating better – but they’re not as safe and people are afraid to take the train,’ he ranted.

He said that defunding the police – which de Blasio agreed to last summer by taking $1bn from the NYPD budget amid pressure from BLM activists – was not the answer.

Meanwhile, hate crime attacks against Asians and Asian-Americans are also surging in New York.

At least 86 anti-Asian hate crimes being reported to authorities this year, according to the NYPD.

There were only 19 such reports over the same period of 2020.

In a separate attack, surveillance footage captured a man sucker-punching an elderly Asian woman last Wednesday.

NYPD reported that it was working to identify the man who punched 75-year-old Wing Wa Chin near 57th Avenue and 97th Place in Queens.

The vicious and unprovoked attack left the elderly woman with a broken nose, fractured eye socket and two black eyes.

‘She was just coming back from the supermarket and she had her shopping cart,’ the victim’s son, who asked not to be identified in fear of retaliation, told CBS2.

‘It’s kinda obvious. He punched her because she was an Asian lady,’ he added.

A report from the Center for the Study of Hate & Extremism at California State University, San Bernardino, found that anti‐Asian hate crimes surged 149 per cent across the US while overall hate crime dropped 7 per cent in 2020.

The report indicated that the rise in anti-Asian crimes was attributed to ‘a rise in COVID cases and negative stereotyping of Asians relating to the pandemic.’

Former President Donald Trump was blamed for stoking anti-Asian sentiment by repeatedly branding COVID-19 ‘the China virus,’ and even ‘kung flu.’

In light of all the recent citywide anti-Asian as well as anti-Semitic attacks, de Blasio announced increased funding for anti-hate initiatives.

De Blasio announced the creation of a new initiative called Partners Against The Hate, or P.A.T.H. Forward last Thursday, while committing $3 million in funding for Asian American and Jewish community groups, CBS reports.


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