The mayor of New York City, Democrat Eric Adams, has introduced a plan to end gun violence in the metropolis since a surge in shootings over the past two years amid the beginning of the pandemic and the “defund the police” movement.
“Gun violence is a public health crisis… There is no time to wait. We must admit the sea of violence comes from many rivers, we must dam every river that feeds this greater crisis… New Yorkers will see and feel these changes quickly… We will ramp up enforcement, deploy more officers on the streets and in the subways, and get our courts at full capacity. And we will invest in longer-term prevention as well,” Adams said at a press conference.
In 2020, shootings rose by 100 percent compared to the year before; murders increased by 44 percent. In 2021, shootings and murders have jumped once more; the number of murders are at their highest level since 2011.
In a 15-page document, Adams, who took office after the new year, outlined several steps to be taken in NYC to curb the problem of gun violence. The NYPD will do the following: enhance its existing Public Safety Units with new neighborhood safety teams; put more effort into patrolling; expand its partnership with state police; add more detection efforts in City entry points; boost resources for the Gun Violence Suppression Division; and use new technology to identify people who carry guns.
In addition, Adams wants to empower Crisis Management System (CMS) interrupters citywide.
“Our CMS system is a credible network and extremely effective in reducing gun violence, but they have been hobbled by inefficient government bureaucracy. We will build on the already-successful work of CMS violence interrupters and ensure they have the resources needed to do their work,” the document states.
The plan seeks to push the NYPD into “targeted, precision policing,” focusing on the 30 precincts in NYC where 80 percent of the violence takes place. Adams wants fewer officers in desk staffing and aims to put more of them on the streets. The plan also seeks more federal and state resources.
A group of organizations, Queens Defenders, the Neighborhood Defender Service of Harlem, the Bronx Defenders, Brooklyn Defender Services, and the Legal Aid Society, have welcomed some of the measures of Adams’ plan. But they also criticized the surveillance and punitive strategies of the plan.
“We call on the Legislature to reject the Mayor’s wrongheaded proposals to rely on discredited punitive approaches and focus on investing in our communities,” the organizations stated.
In an interview with The Epoch Times, Patrick Lynch, president of the Police Benevolent Association, the city’s largest police union, said that Mayor Adams is “absolutely right” about the message on the streets — that there is no consequence to carrying or using illegal guns.
The union has been calling for a solution to the illegal guns for several years, he said. Now that Adams has outlined a plan, Lynch believes that the “real work” will soon begin.
“In addition to the measures proposed today, we need an immediate rollback of the entire policy regime that penalizes police officers for proactively confronting lawbreakers. We need stiffer penalties, consistently imposed, for gun crimes. And we need more resources to relieve the overstretched cops on the front lines,” Lynch said.
Adams’ new plan comes as five police officers have been shot this year. Keechant Sewell, the incoming NYPD Commissioner, has asked precinct commanders to choose candidates for the modified anti-gun unit. The selected candidates will have to undergo special training. The unit’s job will be to get illegal guns away from the streets.