Either Eric Adams Makes New York City Safe, or the Democrats Are Toast
In the summer of 2021, the then Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams—A retired NYPD captain and gadfly in the division has won a close victory in a crowded field with a promise to reform the police while re-establishing “public safety as a prerequisite to prosperity” – calling himself the “new face of the Democratic Party”.
By the time Mayor Adams received his first paycheck in January — convert it to crypto to fulfill an outside promise he just happened to make shortly after. Fly to Puerto Rico on Crypto Billionaire’s Private Jet (he said he paid his own way but would not release receipts “as a matter of policy”) – violent crime is a dominant problem in New York City.
And violent crime could also prove a defining problem in the midterms of 2022 for Democrats, who are holding their breath to see if New York City’s new mayor can deliver on big promises. your own or not.
In the city so far this January, the first month Adams took office, five police officers have been shot and two of them killed; three people were shoved into subway tracks, resulting in two deaths; An 11-month-old girl was hit in the face by a stray bullet, and a 19-year-old man was fatally shot while working an overnight shift at Burger King.
That was the scene when Adams, who has been awaited by the mayor since his first win in June, finally laid out his policing plan in a sober and critical speech on Monday. . Adams, who has spoken extensively about finding the right balance between keeping people safe and preventing police abuse, spent some time on permanent solutions or root causes. roots, including more support for the “violators” community and more services for people with serious mental illness.
Right off the bat, he talks about getting more police on the streets and on trains, making the court system work faster, and appointing new judges who want to stop violent criminals. force out of the street. But central to his plan is a new anti-gun unit to replace the one the NYPD disbanded under the clocks of predecessor Bill de Blasio amid George Floyd protests and push for budget cuts. of the police.
“We will not surrender our city to a few violence,” Adams said. “I want to be clear: This is not just a plan for the future — it is a plan for now.”
But a lot of the things he talks about are beyond his control and not beyond the control of the clock that will change the picture of public safety in New York City, where homicides and gun violence It is part of a national trend, leading to a heated battle here over whether the increase is due to the pandemic or to new state laws and policies. Street by de Blasio.
Adams urged Albany to roll back some bail reforms and let the judges see how dangerous a person is (New York is the only state where judges are prohibited from doing so). He also called on state legislators, who passed a “raise age” law in 2017, to let teenagers who engage in violent crimes be charged as adults.
Albany, now fully controlled by Democrats, shrug.
Councilmember Carl Heastie suggested that Adams get city services in order before requesting a change to state law. Powerful State Senator Michael Gianaris, who ordered the Amazon HQ2 deal, said the data doesn’t support the idea that bail reform is to blame for the rise in violent crime here, and accused forcing the mayor to try to “downplay this issue instead of focusing on real data. And Governor Kathy Hochul, who is running for a term of her own this year and is enjoying a favorable political marriage to the newly elected mayor, declined to comment on the plan even as she He called Adams his “public safety partner” in a tweet.
In his speech, Adams also talked about the “iron pipeline” that brought guns into New York City and called on Washington to do more to stop that flow, as every previous mayor has done but to no avail. . It’s a longstanding problem that doesn’t account for the sharp increase in gun violence and homicide since 2019, and one that’s clearly no cavalry coming in.
In contrast, the Supreme Court seems poised to repeal the city’s gun licensing regulations this fall. That could make New York City a lot more like Chicago, where Indiana right across the river ensures a steady stream of legally purchased guns used for violent crimes in the city.
Another thing beyond the control of the city’s second Black mayor was Manhattan’s first Black district attorney. Alvin Bragg, who was elected at the same time as Adams on a promise to fundamentally reform the prosecutor’s office, issued a memo is getting hacked more and moreconsistent with the promises he made as a candidate, seeking only prison time for a handful of violent crimes, as well as in political corruption cases.
While Adams has avoided any direct confrontation with Bragg, there is a clear tension between the two agendas of the newly elected officials. The mayor’s new police commissioner made that clear in a memo of her own to the police department, saying she was “very concerned about the implications [of Bragg’s memo] for your safety as a police officer, public safety, and justice for the victims. “
There is some fundamental tension between public safety and justice reform that reformers in particular are reluctant to acknowledge. Things like active police, barricades, and pre-trial detention help in the short term help remove dangerous people, among others, from circulation. To try and find the “balance” he promised, Adams plans to use some of those questionable tools, as well as facial recognition technology.
So far, Adams has done a fantastic job — on the campaign trail and in transition and in his first few weeks as mayor — on the message. He spoke of the need to provide public safety unlike a profession and he appeared on trains and met with the press and public in ways that his predecessors he doesn’t do.
Talking often and openly means he’s made up some jokes but it also means he’s absorbed a lot of information and adjusted in response to it. For example, Adams said shortly after Michelle Go, 40, was pushed into a train and killed in Times Square on Saturday morning that “When you have an incident like this, perception is what we I am fighting against. This is a secure system.”
“If Adams can’t quickly reverse widespread feelings of a more dangerous and disorderly city, he won’t need to continue to call himself the face of the Democratic Party.”
He is trying to make a point that jostles on trains are still rare when lightning strikes, while avoiding the fact that attacks in the subway system are at their highest level since 1997, right. even as train ridership has plummeted from pre-pandemic levels.
Two days later, after being ripped off for assuming the problem was “perception,” Adams reversed himself. “On the first day, I rode the subway system, I didn’t feel safe,” he said. “I see homeless people everywhere. People screaming on the train. There is a sense of confusion. ”
Of course, no mayor wants to focus on what’s wrong in the city, but doing so is more of a sign of a mayor taking ownership of its problems than offering explanations for them. . The question now is what can Adams do to turn what he says wrong and how much support he can generate from Democrats in Albany for that agenda.
In a grim indication of how difficult the task ahead is, Adams laid out his gun violence plan on Monday, racing it after Officer Jason Rivera, 22, and Officer Wilbert Mora, 27, were shot downwithout warning, while responding to calls for domestic violence in Harlem on Friday.
Rivera died that day. On Tuesday, less than 24 hours after Adams made his remarks, Mora also died.
Obviously, Adams is not to blame for the tragedy, but everything that happens on the mayor’s watch belongs to them. That’s the job, that’s the deal. And that means the new mayor doesn’t have much time to deliver on his big promises to change things for the better, “now”.
If Eric Adams cannot quickly reverse the prevailing feeling of a more dangerous and disorderly city, he will not need to continue to call himself the face of the Democratic Party. Republicans will do it for him in the summer and before midterms.