Friday, March 4, 2016
This frightening collection of knives was part of just one day of seizures at city homeless shelters — and helps explain why innocent New Yorkers are being slashed and stabbed all over town, law enforcement sources said Thursday.
The dozens of daggers, boxcutters and other blades filled one of five crates of weapons taken over a 24-hour period from five shelters in Brooklyn, sources said.
The haul included a hay hook, a razor-edged wood scraper, a belt studded with spikes, and a broken mop handle with a length of chain attached to it.
Cops are currently battling an 18 percent spike in year-to-date knife attacks, which sources have blamed on the hordes of mentally ill homeless people living on the streets or in city shelters.
“The lion’s share of random slashings are EDPs [emotionally disturbed persons] who are not getting the psychiatric help they need,” one NYPD source said.
Many of the seized cutting instruments — including the butcher knives and meat cleaver — clearly violate a city law that prohibits people from carrying “any knife which has a blade length of 4 inches or more.”
Shelter residents caught with illegal knives get handcuffed by safety officers employed by the Department of Homeless Services, then are transported to the local NYPD precinct for arrest and prosecution.
But the safety officers aren’t armed, and the shelters are so woefully understaffed that there can be as few as three officers per 100 to 150 residents, according to their union.
Teamsters Local 237 said the situation demands a change in protocol so the officers can carry handguns, Tasers, pepper spray and other defensive weapons.
Derek Jackson, the union’s law enforcement director, said the shelters were “filled with people smoking K2,” a synthetic drug that NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton has said leaves users “totally crazy” and violent.
“The officers are terrified. It’s not safe for the officers,” Jackson said.
The city’s latest slashing victim, cabby Mustafa Kadro, blamed the surge in knife attacks on Mayor Bill de Blasio’s soft-on-crime policies.
“Now there is more freedom. De Blasio needs to be more upfront, more involved,” Kadro told The Post.
“When [Rudy] Giuliani was mayor, there were more quality-of-life laws and traffic regulations enforced.”
Kadro, 52, was slashed around 3 a.m. Thursday after giving three young men a free ride in Brooklyn because it was cold and they only wanted to go eight blocks.
Upon reaching their destination in Williamsburg, one of the passengers thanked Kadro for the lift before his buddy reached through the safety partition and slashed the driver’s forehead.
“We need more police,” Kadro fumed.
The mayor’s office said the city is aggressively confiscating weapons from the shelters.
“Shelter security is doing a good job rounding up all weapons, thus the five crates of knives,” said de Blasio spokeswoman Karen Hinton. “NYPD also is bearing down on knife arrests, just as it has with gun seizures. And, as the mayor said, NYPD has done such an effective job on reducing the number of guns, criminals are using other weapons. We have increased security at all shelters.”
Additional reporting by Lorena Mongelli