The City: Report Calls On New NYPD Top Cop Dermot Shea To Abolish Gang Database

“Public defenders and justice advocates are calling on new NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea to abolish a policing tool he’s strongly defended: the department’s gang database.

The “Erase the Database” campaign, to be launched Thursday, marks the latest in a yearslong effort to end collection of names and monitoring of the estimated 17,500 to 42,000 New Yorkers believed to be in gangs.

A coalition of 10 organizations — including the Legal Aid Society, The Bronx Defenders, Brooklyn Defender Services and the Center for Constitutional Rights — has signed on to the campaign.

The launch coincides with the release of a report by Brooklyn College’s Policing and Social Justice Project that recommends the NYPD eliminate the database, along with the department’s specialized gang units.

“Most young people who engage in serious criminality are already living in harsh and dangerous circumstances,” the report says. “They don’t need more threats and punishment in their lives — they need stability, positive guidance, and real pathways out of poverty. This requires a long-term commitment to their well-being, not a telephone referral and home visits by the same people who arrest and harass them and their friends on the streets.”

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