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New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in a recent interview that “everything crumbles” in the absence of public safety, but experts tell Fox News Digital that bringing law and order back to the nation’s largest city will likely take longer than some realize.
Meanwhile, gruesome, violent crimes continue to terrorize unsuspecting residents — often at random — with New Yorkers hoping they won’t become the next victim.
Total crime in New York City was up 42.8% this year as of Sunday compared to the same time last year, according to the most recent batch of New York Police Department statistics. The NYPD saw increases in six of the seven total “index” crimes. Rapes, robberies, felony assaults, burglaries, grand larcenies and grand larceny autos were all up, while murders were down 13.1%, data show.
“A honeymoon for a new mayor is not that long.”
The number of shootings was up slightly by 8.6%, and the number of wounded victims increased by 2.2%.
Meanwhile, transit crimes jumped 65.3% year-to-date as of Sunday, with 706 reported this year compared to 427 for the same period in 2021, police said.
After the month of March showed an overall index crime increase of 36.5%, the NYPD described how the city’s administration was capping “an historic period for an administration approaching its 100th day in office,” according to a press release from early April.
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On Tuesday, during an event highlighting his first 100 days in office, Adams announced he would allocate $256 million to public safety.
“We cannot have a city where people are afraid to walk the streets, ride the subway or send their children to school,” he said. “We will do what is necessary to make all of our communities safe. You have my word as a former police officer, a fellow New Yorker and as your mayor.”
When he took office in January, Adams had already spent months running on the platform that he would crush crime and return law and order to the city.
“It’s a ship that’s been holding steady and slowly taking in water,” Eli Silverman, a professor emeritus at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, said. “It’s going to take a while to retool that ship.”
Silverman attributed the rise in crime to a “combination of factors,” including “a fall-off” from the practices of Adams’ predecessor, Bill de Blasio.
“Police have increasingly felt ignored, in some cases disrespected, by their politicians. And also the backlash against police departments in general, with these terrible incidents and the rise of Black Lives Matter has made police in general more cautious,” he told Fox News Digital.
Silverman added that district attorneys who have “relaxed the penalties for low level crimes” have contributed to the problem.
“The problem is we’re entering the summer, when crime usually spikes up,” he said.
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Silverman, who also co-authored a book, “The Crime Numbers Game,” said it was too soon to pin the high crime numbers on Adams, a former cop, himself, adding a ” honeymoon for a new mayor is not that long.”
Since he took office, Adams has reinstated the NYPD’s gun-focused anti-crime unit under a different name, unveiled his “Blueprint to End Gun Violence,” launched a plan to try to clean up the subways and rolled out a new strategy aimed at targeting low-level crime offenders in an effort to stem violent crime before it starts.
Silverman said at least one of Adams’ policies, the “Blueprint,” was “strong in generalities.”
In the beginning of February, Silverman and a colleague, co-author and retired NYPD Captain John Eterno, penned an op-ed in the New York Daily News, in which they said Adams’ “Blueprint” was promising — but has major gaps.”
“He doesn’t explain how money is to be spent or what targets are to be reached. This plan confers no personal accountability to any individuals. Even a blueprint should reference data and a basic understanding of how it is to be accomplished,” the pair wrote. “In the past, such altruistic plans look wonderful on paper but fail to attain results.”
Adams has often been outspoken about his plans and efforts in fighting crime.
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In early January, after city resident Michelle Alyssa Go was fatally shoved in front of a train in a busy Manhattan station, Adams said the young woman’s death “just really doubled down on our concerns that our system must be safe.”
“Must be safe from actual crime, which we are going to do,” he said. “And it must be safe from those who feel as though there’s a total level of disorder in our subway system.”
When an 11-month-old girl was caught in the crossfire and shot in the head at the end of January, an incensed Adams told reporters, “It is unimaginable that this is happening in our city.”
“I’m going to stay in these streets until this city is safe,” he said at the time. “I’m not going to surrender this city to violence.”
Weeks later, he tearfully called on city agencies to do more to help youth who are at risk of becoming embroiled in lives of crime. He said the city “must step up, save the children who are falling through the cracks upstream.”
During an interview with CBS 60 Minutes, which aired Sunday, Adams said, “If you don’t have public safety, everything crumbles.
“And I have to make sure the city’s safe,” he added.
On Tuesday, Adams said city law enforcement has taken 2,300 illegal guns off the streets since he was elected. Overall subway arrests are up 63% this year compared to 2021, and the New York Police Department has executed an estimated 60% of arrests in connection with the assaults on city workers, NYPD Transit Chief Jason Wilcox said during an MTA board meeting on Monday.
A spokesperson for his office previously told Fox News Digital that public safety is Adams’ “top priority.”
“He’s working every day to remove guns from our streets, protect our communities and create a safe, prosperous and just city for all New Yorkers,” the spokesperson said in an email earlier this month. “As the mayor has said, he is focused on both reducing crime in the city, as well as the perception of crime. This won’t be done overnight, but we are taking some of the biggest actions in years to protect New Yorkers because we will never stop fighting to protect the residents of this city.”
New York City Council Member Joe Borelli said Adams “is right to make crime his No. 1 focus.”
“And until we see our rates drop, it has to be the only thing that he talks about,” he added.
Borelli, a Republican and New York City Council Minority Leader, said he empathizes with Adams and the NYPD, whose efforts are stymied by state bail laws that allow gun offenders in some cases to be released just hours after being arrested.
“Until there’s a serious redress of the constant recidivism by criminal offenders, I’m afraid to say that the NYPD won’t be able to arrest our way out of the problem,” Borelli told Fox News Digital. “If we’re letting people out within hours, there’s almost nothing we can do.”
He added that the “bigger problem” was not a lack of police enforcement, but the lack of criminal justice accountability.
“Our last mayor spent eight years trying to artificially lower the population of Rikers Island,” Borelli said. “And New Yorkers are just starting to realize that there was a good reason why many of those people were actually stuck on Rikers Island.”
Former NYPD Commissioner Howard Safir expressed similar thoughts as the other experts. He said fixing New York City’s crime problem will take time, as Adams must pick up the pieces of a New York City still reeling from his predecessor.
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“What Mayor Adams has to do is correct eight years of causing crime to go up from a Mayor de Blasio who sent signals [to] criminals that it was OK to commit crimes in New York,” Safir told Fox News Digital by phone.
“It’s not going to take long for crime to continue to increase if the NYPD doesn’t do very assertive and effective policing. And that’s what Mayor Adams has promised, and I hope that’s what he’s going to do.”