Mayor Bill de Blasio’s latest plan to crack down on the city’s crime surge in his final half-year in office is a $37 million “green jobs” program for 1,500 young people from poor neighborhoods.
“Fifteen hundred jobs is a lot when you consider the fact that violence in the city is done by a few thousand people out of 8.8 million,” de Blasio claimed while announcing the plan during his daily virtual press briefing from City Hall.
The program, in partnership with the Brooklyn-based energy tech startup BlocPower, will take “at risk” applicants from Mott Haven in the Bronx, Brownsville in Brooklyn and South Jamaica, Queens — areas that have the highest rates of gun violence in the city.
“When a young person has a job and a future, they do not get involved in gun violence, period,” de Blasio said.
He said the positions are “good-paying jobs, they’re green jobs, they’re jobs with a future” that address “the climate crisis at the same time.” But he did not say whether they were full-time or how much workers would be paid.
Neither the mayor nor NYPD reps could immediately provide a figure for how many hardened criminals commit the majority of crimes across the five boroughs.
BlocPower CEO Donnel Baird said the new hires would be helping homeowners recover from Hurricane Ida, installing free internet for low-income Bronx residents, and converting oil- and gas-powered buildings to clean energy systems.
But critics were skeptical that the eight-figure program would make a dent in crime statistics.
“Like hurricane season every year, progressives make it rain ‘anti-violence’ programs without any demonstrable evidence that it has ever worked, just once, in genuinely reducing crime,” City Councilman Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) told The Post.
Indeed, de Blasio has launched at least three anti-violence programs over the past year alone, yet shootings haven’t returned to pre-pandemic levels.
The previous plans include “Safe Summer NYC.” Announced in April, it employs up to 2,000 more youngsters and boosts rewards for tips about crime to $5,000.
There’s also the “Advance Peace Program” that starting giving at-risk youth $1,000-a-month stipends to get a driver’s license or GED in July. Finally, de Blasio’s “End Gun Violence Plan,” rolled out last summer, “holds multi-agency commander council meetings in communities with recent upticks in violent crime” and organizes gun buybacks.
Joseph Giacalone — a John Jay professor and retired NYPD detective sergeant — wasn’t hopeful about the mayor’s latest anti-violence initiative.
“We’ve seen this before from the mayor and it hasn’t amounted to much,” Giacalone said.
“Like everything else, it looks good on paper, it gives everyone that warm, fuzzy feeling, but in the end, is it really going to prevent violent crime? When it comes down to it, the police are the ones who are going to have to deal with the violence,” Giacalone said.