According to the New York Police Department, the number of guns seized in schools in the city has increased by an astonishing 80 percent this year, with 3,315 weapons collected in schools from July 1 to February 20, compared to 1,845 around the same timeframe in the 2019-2020 pre-pandemic year.
14 guns have been recovered from schools this year, whereas before the Covid-19 pandemic just 1 gun was discovered on a student.
In comparison to the 2019-2020 academic year, taser discoveries have surged by 600%. The recovery of knives has increased by 25%. The NYPD’s data indicates a 326 percent increase in the “other” category, which includes objects such as brass knuckles and pepper spray.
In response to the crisis, New York City Mayor Eric Adams also cited the need to become more adept when it came to detecting weapons. On Wednesday, the city launched a pilot program at Jacobi Hospital that uses new electromagnetic technology to detect the presence of a gun or knife. If it works, the mayor said it could be installed in schools.
Adams declared, “I’m going to be rolling out in a few days a device that we’re testing that allows us in a humane way to identify guns and weapons. Everyone is asking about this device, we want to make sure we test it properly. We’re currently in the process of testing and we’re going to place it in school to identify weapons.”
The mayor also dismissed the notion that students are justified in carrying firearms in order to feel safe in the face of escalating crime statistics in the city. “I’m not accepting anyone stating they’re going to carry a weapon because they don’t feel safe,” Mayor Eric Adams declared.
In an interview with 1010WINS Newsline, Quiann Simpkins, who is a New York City parent, school safety agent, and a member of the New York City School Safety Coalition, reacted to the announcement of the new device that will be introduced to schools.
Simpkins expressed skepticism around this new device and questioned whether it would be more efficient than actual school safety agents that are monitoring walk-throughs to confiscate weapons brought into schools.
Quiann Simpkons explained that the high level of weapons in schools was a reflection of violence in New York streets, saying “There is a high sense of fear amongst children” and also later added “They are bringing the weapons to school buildings, they are afraid on their travel to and from school. It is not that they intend to do harm on someone in the school buildings, not all the children.” Simpkins further argued that scanning for weapons was not a matter of criminalizing children, but is rather a safety precaution.
The data, according to the Department of Education, indicates that the partnership between schools and school safety agents is effective in preventing weapons and other dangerous materials from entering schools.
Officials also revealed that several of the guns seized in schools were discovered as a result of student reports. Other weaponry was discovered through metal detectors.
Around New York schools, there are roughly 3,600 school safety agents deployed, a significant drop from the 5,000 agents active in schools before the pandemic.
The increase in weaponry around the city’s school system comes in the wake of Mayor Adams’ new budget proposal, which was proposed in the past week. His budget proposed to not fill the 560 vacant school safety agent positions.
If conditions in the nation’s largest school system deteriorate, Adams said he might reconsider his decision. “Remember that was a preliminary budget and if we see the need to make modifications,” Adams added, “We’re open to doing that.”
Another set of data from the NYPD revealed that 124 new yorkers under the age of 18 were shot in the first ten months of 2021, with 21 fatalities. During the same time period the previous year, 98 minors were reportedly shot, with seven of them succumbing to their injuries. The school safety crisis is on the rise and the city must act to get weapons out of schools and ensure the safety of the children.