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NYPD steps up nightclub patrols to thwart stabbings

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner William Bratton,

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Police Commissioner William Bratton, center, and NYPD Chief of Patrol James O'Neil speak at a press conference on Tuesday, March 22, 2016 at 1 Police Plaza in Lower Manhattan. Credit: Uli Seit

NYPD patrols will be watching nightclubs in the city — both legal and illegal — in an effort to stop the increase in stabbings and slashings being fueled by drugs and alcohol, officials said Tuesday.

Police will direct more patrols to such night spots because “it is important to have that uniformed presence at places that have been problems,” NYPD chief of patrol James O’Neill said.

Dubbed “Operation Cutting Edge,” the initiative targeted clubs after investigators discovered through the Compstat number-crunching system that about 20 percent of stabbings have occurred on weekend evenings from about 7 p.m. to 4 a.m.

“Our analysis has also found that a lot of stabbing and slashing incidents occur in an around where alcohol is consumed . . . clubs, bars, legal and illegal clubs. . . . These are all places of concern for us,” O’Neill said at a news conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner William Bratton.

The club initiative is the third put together by the NYPD to deal with the 23 percent increase in stabbings — to 897 — the city has experienced so far this year. Other efforts have increased patrols in the subway system and sought to beef up security at homeless shelters, police officials said.

Bratton said many of the stabbings involve what he called “personal adverse encounters,” including 277 that were related to domestic disputes.

Since 60 percent of slashings and stabbings are indoors and not visible to patrol officers, the new initiative is aimed at the 40 percent that take place in public places.

De Blasio acknowledged that while homicides and shootings are down this year in the city, the stabbings have become an issue of concern that the police have to deal with. He gave credit to the NYPD neighborhood policing strategy, which began last year, in helping provide police with leads from communities about illegal clubs.

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