We reached our New York expiration date’: New York City mothers fleeing with families as crime surges

Upper West Side mothers are among those fleeing New York City as crime surges.

“In the best of times, NYC is a hard place to live,” one mother and activist against crime, Elizabeth Carr, told the New York Post over the weekend. “Now you have all this other stuff. It’s a question for families … to have to see a guy masturbating on the corner or explain to my kids while I’m buying diapers at Duane Reade why this guy wearing no shoes is collapsed on the floor and they’re doing CPR on him.”

New Yorkers have been fleeing the city in recent months, following the economic downturn from the coronavirus pandemic and surging crime that is taking place in the city amid protests and riots sparked by the death of George Floyd on Memorial Day.

“We reached our New York expiration date,” Carr said. “Things weren’t heading in the right direction. What we’re seeing now isn’t at all surprising.”

Other mothers echoed Carr’s sentiment on leaving, with one saying she won’t look back once she’s gone.

“There was no reason to leave before,” Bess Fern, an Upper West Side native, said. “Now, I’m done. I can leave tomorrow and never look back. If I never came back to this block that would be fine.”

“I have definitely seen more crime, drugs, and harassment in one week than in my whole experience growing up here,” she added. “I don’t want to see a child get hurt or raped, before they realize maybe it was a mistake to put [hundreds of] drug addicts and sex offenders near schools in the most dense residential population in the city.”

One mother to two teenagers, Allison Eden, said there is a lack of options for children in the city, and she feels local officials aren’t doing anything to help the situation.

“As a parent, this isn’t the place I once knew. I feel like NYC is disappearing so fast and no one’s doing anything,” she said. “There’s nowhere for them to go. I don’t want to feel afraid, and I don’t want my children to be scared to go outside.”

Another mom, only identified as Jennifer, laid some of the blame for people leaving on Mayor Bill de Blasio.

“De Blasio seems to have some sort of vendetta against this demographic,” Jennifer said. “There’s no incentive to live here.”

“I don’t feel safe going to the Fairway and Citarella anymore,” she added. “I have to walk by the sex offenders at the Belleclaire with my kids. Not knowing what these people are on and what it does to them scares me.”

The start of the month marked more shootings in New York City so far this year than in all of 2019. In one week in July, shootings in the city increased by 176% compared to the same week last year, with 47 shootings reported compared to 17 shootings last year. Additionally, killings also increased that week, with 14 killed compared to five during the same period in 2019.

“It only gets worse from here,” Joseph Giacalone, a retired New York City Police Department sergeant, said. “As the shootings continue, so will retaliation. It’s a vicious cycle that the NYPD worked hard to mitigate, but that they are no longer able and in some cases willing to do.”

Protests, riots, and vandalism sparked by the death of Floyd have increased the anti-police sentiment in the city at a time when de Blasio has pledged to strip $1 billion from the city’s police budget and disbanded the plainclothes anti-crime unit. Hundreds of police officers have filed their retirement papers in recent weeks as tensions between the force and the public become more strained by the increase in crime.

The crime has also seeped into wealthier New York City neighborhoods, including the Upper East Side.

“We’re experiencing a significant uptick in robberies (27) in last 28-days (286% increase compared to 2019),” the New York City Police Department’s 19th Precinct reported last week of the Upper East Side. “2020 (to date) gunpoint robberies total: 14. 2019 (entire year) gunpoint robberies total: 4. That’s a 250% increase.”

SoHo, Tribeca, and the West Village also all reported an increase in robberies in recent weeks when compared to data from 2019.

“It’s the most horrific time to be in the police profession,” professor Maria Haberfeld of the John Jay College of Criminal Justice said about the crime increase. “Cops aren’t doing less work, but they’re not going out of their way to do more work, and that’s a huge difference.”

The exodus from the city also caught the governor’s eye, who pleaded with New Yorkers to come back to the city during a press conference last week.

“I literally talk to people all day long who are now in their Hamptons house who also lived here, or in their Hudson Valley house or in their Connecticut weekend house, and I say, ‘You got to come back, when are you coming back?’” Democratic Gov. Andrew Cuomo said at a press conference last Monday.

“‘We’ll go to dinner, I’ll buy you a drink, come over, I’ll cook,’” Cuomo added.

*story by The Washington Examiner