The most deadly weapon in New York City is not be a knife or even a handgun.
It’s a car.
That’s what transit advocates said today, revealing that more people were killed by cars in the last decade than by guns.
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According to transit advocacy group Transportation Alternatives, citing city data, 3,923 New Yorkers were killed in traffic from 2001 to 2010 – more than the 3,882 murdered by guns in that same time span.
Transportation Alternatives argued yesterday that police should funnel resources toward combating car crashes that kill New Yorkers, the way cop crackdowns on gun violence have slowed the murder rate.
“The NYPD must prioritize the crimes that hurt the most people,” the group’s director Paul Steely White said.
Instead, the group argues, the NYPD does not immediately investigate every traffic accident – even those involving traumatic injuries.
Transportation Alternatives reported yesterday that police only investigate 10 percent of about 3,000 crashes that seriously injure New Yorkers.
Last July, while crossing Dekalb and Vanderbilt avenues in Ft. Greene, a car struck Clara Heyworth, 28, on her way to meet her husband, Jacob
Stevens. She died from her injuries, which included blunt trauma to her
head and lower right side, according to court documents. Stevens filed a
lawsuit yesterday, alleging that cops did not do enough to investigate
The NYPD has 19 detectives in its Accident Investigation Squad, but the officers are only called to the scene of a crash when a victim is dead or likely to die, according to Transportation Alternatives.
On the steps of City Hall yesterday morning, advocates demanded that Mayor Michael Bloomberg and the NYPD fix the way they investigate traffic crashes.
The group wants Bloomberg to create a task force to overhaul the investigations.
“The police investigate all potentially criminal incidents, not only murders, so why should traffic accidents be any different?” said Councilman Peter Vallone, chair of the Public Safety Committee.
Ticketing bike riders
Transportation Alternatives reported that the NYPD ticketed about twice as many cyclists – 48,556, according to Council testimony – as drivers. In comparison, cops ticketed about 25,000 truck drivers, like the one that killed Mathieu Lefevre. Lefrevre, a Brooklyn artist, was killed in October when a flatbed truck hit him while he was riding his bike.