“We are seeing these headlines about percentage increases,” Ocasio-Cortez said during a conversation with New York Rep. Jamaal Bowman over Zoom. “Now, I want to say that any amount of harm is unacceptable and too much, but I also want to make sure that this hysteria, you know, that this doesn’t drive a hysteria and that we look at these numbers in context so that we can make responsible decisions about what to allocate in that context.”
Ocasio-Cortez argued earlier in June that authorities should stop building prisons and instead focus on underlying public health issues, adding it is “not acceptable” to use jails as “garbage bins.”
“If we want to reduce violent crime, if we want to reduce the number of people in our jails, the answer is to stop building more of them,” Ocasio-Cortez said. “The answer is to make sure that we actually build more hospitals, we pay organizers, we get people mental health care and overall health care, employment, etc. It’s to support communities, not throw them away.”
Ocasio-Cortez, Bowman, and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer have called on Congress to earmark $400,000 toward a program called “Stand Up To Violence,” which seeks to address gun violence through counseling and community outreach.
Journalist Glenn Greenwald slammed Ocasio-Cortez on Sunday, claiming she is “mocking ordinary people as ‘hysterical’ who are afraid of violent crime in their neighborhood” while voting last month to “ensure $2 billion more in spending on the police that protects her.”
He also shared a tweet from Ocasio-Cortez in which she blasted Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz and other Republicans who “almost had me murdered” during the attack on the U.S. Capitol, adding “Like AOC, I also really get upset when people are “hysterical” about fears of violent crime.”
The exchange comes as New York City’s overall shooting incidents have increased 53.2% year-to-date and murders have increased 13.3% year-to-date, according to the latest available NYPD crime data covering the week ending June 20.