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Mayor Adams Tries To Combat Crime In NYC's Violent Months

The summer months are historically the most violent, and New York City is facing a surge in gun crime. The murder of two police officers in February, and a mass shooting on a Brooklyn subway train in April shocked New Yorkers and put pressure on their new mayor, Eric Adams, who campaigned on public safety. The steps he has taken so far, have left some concerned that New York hasn’t learned from its past battles with violent crime, report The Guardian and The Trace. Even with the city far safer than it was in the 1990s and early 2000s, critics say the mayor is falling back on old “tough-on-crime” strategies while neglecting other strategies that worked in the 2010s to give the city its second historic drop in crime. During his campaign, Adams received national news coverage as a foil to the Defund the Police movement, but he also promised he would pursue a balanced approach, combining more policing with enhanced social services and investments in community-based initiatives.

Five months into his term, Adams has moved fast. There’s a new initiative to crack down on low-level crimes like subway fare beating, open container drinking in public and dice games, which the police claim lead to violence. He has prioritized cooperation with federal law enforcement to intercept gun trafficking. And he is removing homeless people from encampments, arguing that they would be safer in shelters – and the city would be safer if they were not living on the streets. Then there’s the most controversial component of Adams’ gun violence strategy: Neighborhood Safety Teams, a revamped version of a plainclothes anti-crime unit that was disbanded in 2020 amid the George Floyd protests. The unit was responsible for a disproportionate number of police shootings and abuse complaints. The units have made gun arrests, but their most common arrests were for low-level offenses: in its first three weeks, the anti-gun units picked up more people for possession of a fake ID or stolen credit card than for possession of a firearm.


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