The Department of Justice on Friday said New York City is “soft on crime,” as the agency moved to crack down on so-called “sanctuary cities” that limit their cooperation with the federal government on immigration enforcement.
The Justice Department, helmed by Attorney General Jeff Sessions, sent letters to nine jurisdictions that it identified as potential violators of a U.S. code that prohibits local and state entities from withholding information from the Immigration and Naturalization Service.
New York was one of three jurisdictions (the others being Chicago and the Bay Area) that was called out by name by the Justice Department.
“New York City continues to see gang murder after gang murder, the predictable consequence of the city’s ‘soft on crime’ stance,” the Justice Department’s statement reads.
J. Peter Donald, assistant commissioner for communication and public information for the New York City Police Department, questioned the claims. “Did DOJ really say the NYPD is soft on crime?” he tweeted Friday afternoon.
NYPD Commissioner Jim O’Neill had called New York City’s reductions in crime for the first quarter of 2017 “historic” at a press conference earlier this month.
During that time, New York experienced one of its safest periods in recent history with seven fewer murders, 42 fewer shootings, and 1,219 fewer index crimes than the same time last year, according to the NYPD.