A 39-Year-Old NYPD Veteran Believes That Despite The City’s Low Crime Rate, “Palpable Fear” Still Exists

According to a 39-year police veteran, despite the city’s claims of reduced crime, New Yorkers are always afraid that obnoxious criminals will attack them on the streets or in the subways.

A 39-Year-Old NYPD Veteran Believes That Despite The City's Low Crime Rate,

“There’s a sense of disorder, a sense of decay, and what I like to call palpable fear,” retired NYPD Sgt. Pete Panuccio told Fox News. “Those are things you can’t quantify, but people are scared again.”

According to data from the New York City Police Department, crime has decreased in New York City after the historically horrific 2020, which had the highest number of murders since 2011 among other violent crimes. However, Panuccio claimed that a culture of lawlessness—which he attributed to lax, progressive policies—erupted during the COVID-19 pandemic and has continued ever since, making locals uneasy as crime rates continue to rise.

“People are scared to go out on the street late at night,” Panuccio said.

In a Jan. 3 public safety speech, Mayor Eric Adams highlighted crime decreases, citing a 25% decline in gunshots and a 12% fall in killings between 2022 and 2023. He went on, “New Yorkers are breathing easier” as a result of the initiatives taken by his administration to lower crime.

Panuccio, however, countered that those numbers obscure the true picture and cited pre-pandemic crime rates.

“You can play numbers games all day long, which city hall is very fond of,” Panuccio said. “If you compare it to 2019, the crime jump is staggering.”

Despite a decreased trend in crime since the epidemic, some offences remain significantly higher. For example, according to NYPD data, the number of killings increased by 21% at the end of 2018 compared to 2019. Thefts of motor vehicles have almost tripled, while robberies and felony assaults have increased by 26% and 35%, respectively.

According to a July Siena College Research Institute poll, almost two-thirds of New Yorkers indicated they were worried about becoming the next victim of a crime and that they considered crime to be a severe problem in their city. Over 40% of people thought that a stranger’s actions in public threatened them.

Crime statistics in the city “are garbage,” according to Panuccio. “People are afraid. That cannot have a number attached to it.”

After joining the NYPD in 1981, Panuccio worked for 25 years in the detective bureau and a brief period in the drugs unit. However, he lost patience with New York’s progressive ideals and retired on July 30, 2020, after witnessing the city’s social justice demonstrations turn into violent riots that resulted in widespread damage and looting.

The veteran police officer told Fox News that he was reminded of the 1980s, when crime was at an all-time high and widespread throughout the city, by the present culture of fear engulfing the Big Apple.

“We clean the city up. We have a 20-year run,” Panuccio said. “Now we’re back to this sense that people feel like the streets are out of control again. People felt safe, but now people have fear again.”

In an attempt to avoid the crime, one woman, Paula Gavioli, informed the New York Post in July that she was leaving the Big Apple for New Jersey. She claimed that without her pepper spray, which she always carries in her handbag, she no longer felt safe.

Marjorie Mann, a different woman from New York, claimed that she was more uncomfortable taking the subway or strolling the streets alone herself.

“Being in public places feels more unsafe than ever before,” Mann told the NYP. “People seem like they’re looking for fights a little bit more than they used to. People seem angry and like they’re looking for an excuse to get it out.”

Panuccio claimed to have witnessed a similar feeling of dread during the violent 1980s, but that feeling gradually faded as city authorities became sterner against criminal activity during Republican Mayor Rudy Guiliani’s term in office.

“The number one issue, and what saved New York City in the ’90s, was public safety,” he said. “Everything emanates from public safety in New York City. If we don’t have public safety, we don’t have a city.”

Progressive politicians, according to Panuccio, have been promoting laws that are lenient on crime, which has made life easier for offenders, encouraged an atmosphere of lawlessness, and made New Yorkers fearful. Real change, according to him, won’t occur until Democrats lose their majority.

“New York City’s a captive city, captured by the progressives,” Panuccio stated. “Many people lost their lives to improve the safety of our city. Everything has been swept away.

In response to Fox News’s request for comment, Adams’ office stated that during his presidency, crime had reduced. Response requests were not answered by the NYPD or the Progressive Caucus of the New York City Council.


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