Nearly a week has passed since the biker gang attack on Manhattan-native Alexian Lien and his family set the NYPD into motion. Yet the larger debate about what this attack means on the future of New York City has just begun. Lien, who supposedly hit one of the biker’s vehicles after being cut off, was chased down by the gang over the course of several miles before he was pulled from his car and beaten in front of his wife and two-year-old daughter. The attack, which was recorded by one of the gang members, has triggered an impassioned response from both New Yorkers and the broader American public. Many New Yorkers have cited police inaction as the cause while many others have looked to Bloomberg’s perceived light policing policies as the root.
Regardless of the underlying cause, this attack is indicative of a trend of violent attack in New York City. One policy specifically has become a central target for candidates in the mayoral election to rally for or against- Bloomberg’s infamous “Stop and Frisk.” The policy has drawn an immense amount of controversy surrounding its implementation which many are constitutes racial profiling. The Democratic candidate, Bill de Blasio, firmly stands against the measure, while Republican candidate, Joe Lhota, takes a more nuanced approach to the measure asserting that it is acceptable in some cases. Nonetheless both candidates have promised substantial reforms to the policy.
However, as this most recent attack illustrates, the candidates are having the wrong type of discussion. There has been such a great emphasis on supposed civil rights infringements that the discussion about policing efficacy has lost its foundation. Straightforward measures such as greater police presence in problem areas could curb the trend of violence in NYC. It is important to realize that the future of NYC is at the heart of this discussion. Whoever NYC elects in the wake of Bloomberg, it is going to be asking for a safer, more secure city.