New York City mayor Eric Adams announced Monday that the NYPD will expand an anti-crime unit that was disbanded in 2020 amid the uprising prompted by the murder of George Floyd.
Adams said that the unit, known as Neighborhood Safety Teams, made 31 arrests and confiscated ten guns in the Bronx since it was reconstituted last Monday.
The unit will be expanded into five additional precincts. The goal will be to have 30 Neighborhood Safety Teams operating in New York.
The unit, which specialized in confiscating illegal guns, was previously made up of plainclothes officers. In its new form, officers assigned to the unit will wear modified uniforms identifying them as police.
The unit was revived last week after being disbanded in June 2020 amid protests over the death of George Floyd. In 2014, an officer from the unit killed resident Eric Garner in a chokehold while attempting to arrest him, prompting the city to ban police from using chokeholds.
Adams decried the decision to disband the unit at the time, which saw 600 undercover officers transferred to different assignments.
“I think that a total elimination is something we need to reevaluate,” Adams told CBS New York. “Right now, bad guys are saying if you don’t see a blue and white you can do whatever you want.”
The reconstitution of the anti-gun team comes amid a rise in shootings across New York City. The NYPD said 284 people were shot in 253 separate incidents in 2022 as of Sunday, compared to 242 victims in 215 incidents in 2021.