New York City Mayor Eric Adams said New Yorkers want more police on the streets to help fight the massive crime wave that has seen homicides and violent crimes rise 40% from last year.
“Public safety and the criminal justice system includes police and when I go to my communities of color, and I’ve never, ever heard them say, ‘Eric, we want less police.’ Never,” Adams said Tuesday on the radio program Tavis Smiley.
According to data from the NYPD, the number of serious crimes in NYC has increased by about 37%, driven mainly by large-scale thefts, robberies and car thefts.
Adams indicated he will not make phone calls to reduce the number of officers in the city, but will discourage “heavy-handed” policing of NYPD officers.
Police officers are part of the mayor’s “public security apparatus,” he said, adding: “You can’t remove the police from this equation,” which includes tackling the issues surrounding homelessness and improving the school system.
He added that he has no plans to stop talking about crime in the Big Apple anytime soon, saying: “I won’t be inconsistent and not talk about the violence that happens every day in our cities. We need the police to do their job.’
Police officers are part of the mayor’s “public security apparatus,” said New York City Mayor Eric Adams, adding: “You can’t remove the police from this equation”
Surveillance photo of suspect wanted for killing 19-year-old Kristal Bayron-Nieves while robbing a Burger King for just $100
Police arrest people protesting supporters of President Trump who march with giant Trump flag across Broadway on October 21, 2020 in lower Manhattan
Adams stressed the need for preventive measures rather than reactive measures, saying, “by the time a kid picks up a gun, we’ve already lost.”
While the city’s homicide rate is down 5.6%, robberies are up 39.2% from 6,530 to 9,091, and burglaries are up 32.9% from 6,251 to 8,305, according to data from the NYPD.
The crime rate increased by 18.6% and the number of rapes increased by 11% so far this year compared to 2021.
“It looks like this violence is normalizing and we’re saying no to that,” Adams told Smiley. The mayor said reforming a system takes time, and “if you look at how you reform a system, you don’t destroy a system.”
Adams has been an outspoken advocate of expanding the city’s police presence since he became mayor in 2021, doubling the number of officers on the city’s subway system, and returning plainclothes officers to new neighborhood security teams.
He wants to prevent brutal crimes, such as the murder of 19-year-old Kristal Bayron-Nieves, who was shot dead in January during a late shift at Burger King.
Bayron-Nieves gave the armed robber $100 from the till, but when he turned to leave, he returned to the teen and fatally shot her in the torso.
Crime in the city’s subway system has shocked New Yorkers this year, most recently highlighted by an NYPD officer’s brutal assault by a teen who was released on bail shortly after the attack.
Gruesome footage shows the 16-year-old punching the officer in the head before grabbing him around the neck and repeatedly hitting him against metal railings on Saturday.
The teen had previously been arrested for possession of a loaded weapon and theft last Wednesday, but was released the following day after appearing in court.
Crime has skyrocketed in New York City in recent years. This year, crime is up 36 percent so far compared to the same time last year
Michelle Go, 40, died after being pushed onto the tracks and path of an oncoming train at the Times Square subway station by Martial Simon, 61
Adams said the decision to release the boy on bail had reduced the Big Apple to a national “victim” thanks to lax bail laws that prioritize the well-being of suspects over crime victims.
The city was also shocked in January by the death of Michelle Go, a 40-year-old woman who was pushed in front of an oncoming train at the Times Square subway station by Martial Simon, a homeless ex-con.
Adams praised President Joe Biden’s comments in May, in which he pointed out that cities are using federal pandemic stimulus money to hire more agents, calling it “a step in the right direction.”
“For every governor, every mayor, every county official, the need is clear. My message is clear: spend this money while you have it. Use these funds we have made available to you to prioritize public safety,” Biden said at the White House Rose Garden earlier this year.
Adams has also taken steps to expand the city’s speed camera program to operate around the clock in an effort to reduce road deaths – while also generating additional millions in revenue for the city.
On Monday, Adams held a press conference to “turn the switch” on the 24/7 camera enforcement program, which issues $50 tickets to cars that are caught going at least 11 mph above the city’s 25 mph speed limit for residential streets.
“Road safety is public safety, and today marks the beginning of a new chapter for road safety in our city,” Adams said. “A city that never sleeps deserves a camera system that doesn’t nap.”
On Monday, Adams held a press conference to “flick the switch” on the 24/7 camera enforcement program, which issues $50 tickets to cars that are at least 11 mph over the limit.
New York first introduced speed camera enforcement in 2014, and city officials say that speeding at camera locations has dropped an average of 72 percent since the program began.
In 2020, 54 percent of traffic-related deaths in camera zones occurred when cameras had to be turned off at night and on weekends, the city says.
New York is struggling with rising traffic fatalities, which increased during the pandemic when empty streets encouraged reckless speeding.
This year, there have been 142 traffic fatalities in the city this year, up 20 percent from the pre-pandemic baseline in 2019.