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NYC School Safety Agents Find 328 Weapons in 3 Months

The figure represents a steep increase compared to what NYC school safety agents confiscated last year.

New York City school safety agents have confiscated 328 weapons from students in the city’s public schools over the last three months.

The confiscations have come as the NYPD’s school safety agents have deployed new methods for weapons detection such as random screening, metal detector use and an increased officer presence in response to a recent fatal stabbing at a school in the Bronx.

“It’s difficult to say, are we better at catching the weapons, or are they bringing more in?” Chief Dermot Shea, the NYPD’s head of crime control strategies, said.

The high figure of recent confiscations is in line with a disturbing trend over the last few years. Below are the figures of weapons confiscations at NYC Schools over the last three academic years according to the NYPD:

  • 2016-2017: 2,120 weapons
  • 2015-2016: 2,053 weapons
  • 2014-2015: 1,673 weapons

NYC school safety agents use metal detectors in about six percent of schools in the city. Mayor Bill de Blasio said last week that any school that wants a permanent metal detector has to request the machines from the NYPD.

There has been controversy over NYC school safety in recent years. Two years ago, student advocate groups and NYC school safety agents clashed over the presence of metal detectors in schools. Some parents and others argued the devices were unnecessary and discriminatory because they were largely present in schools with the most minority students. The union for NYC school safety agents argued they were critical to maintaining school security.

Metal detectors, of course, are not the only method of confiscating weapons at NYC schools. In fact, roughly 57 percent of weapons wee recovered last year without metal detectors, according to Assistant Chief Brian Conroy of the NYPD’s School Safety Agent unit. Those weapons included guns, tasers, BB guns, knives and razors.

“We do rely on the cooperative effort between our NYC School Safety agents, teachers, principals and the students to identify those other weapons,” Conroy said.

NYC school safety has been questioned recently after a high school student in the Bronx, 18-year-old Abel Cedeno, allegedly snuck a switchblade into school and stabbed two classmates, killing one student and leaving the other in critical condition. Last week police officials said a metal detector would have prevented the stabbing.

In response to that incident, random screenings were conducted at the school, additional school safety agents were placed in the hallways and at the entrances and counseling services were offered. NYC schools teachers will also receive weekly training to defuse conflicts and report bullying over the next three weeks, reports Patch.

About the Author

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Zach Winn is a journalist living in the Boston area. He was previously a reporter for Wicked Local and graduated from Keene State College in 2014, earning a Bachelor’s Degree in journalism and minoring in political science.

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