Anyone who has visited Wall Street since Sept. 17 has undoubtedly noticed the abundance of police officers -- at certain times, it almost seems as though they outnumber the protesters themselves.
Indeed, during protest marches, some 3,000 police officers a day can be called to OWS duty.
Now some are suggesting that the OWS protests are keeping NYPD officers from preventing and responding to serious violent crime in other NYC neighborhoods.
According to the New York Post, the NYPD has been dispatching borough task forces -- the department's go-to teams for rowdy crowds -- to increase OWS police presence. Meanwhile, New York City has seen a sharp increase violent crime so far in 2011: Shootings have increased 28% in the last month, and two weeks ago, the 56 people shot in the city more than doubled for the same week in 2010, with an increase of 154 percent.
Normally, the task force is used in high-crime neighborhoods where you have a lot of shootings and robberies, a NYPD source told the New York Post.
They are always used when there are spikes in crime as a quick fix. But instead of being sent to Jamaica, Brownsville and the South Bronx, they are in Wall Street.
The most recent shooting took place on Friday, when Zurana Horton died shielding children from gunfire outside of Public School 298 in Brownsville, a high-crime Brooklyn neighborhood. The 33-year-old pregnant mother of twelve had just picked up her children from the school.
Another adult woman was shot in the arm and the chest, and a bullet grazed an 11-year old girl.
The shooting is believed to have been gang related, and the gunman is still at large.
The site of the Brownsville shooting is in New York's 73rd precinct, which has some of the city's highest crime statistics. In 2011 through Oct. 9., there have been 23 homicides in the precinct -- the highest of all New York City precincts. Overall, violent crime is up more than 16% since 2010, the Wall Street Journal reports.
It is unclear why the city has neccessitated such a strong police presence for Occupy Wall Street, which defines itself as a peaceful protest. Any instances of violence in New York City since the protests began have been related to accusations of police brutality.