Mayor Eric Adams invested a good chunk of a meeting last week with Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot about ways to tackle gang violence, subway crime, and the scourge of gun violence, a cluster of issues on which he has staked his mayoralty and the future of the city, New York Magazine reports. “We’re going to learn from Chicago what they’re doing on their El [subway] line, so that we can see best practices,” Adams said. He is marching toward his 100th day in office with grand pronouncements of his national political relevance, along with healthy poll numbers and no shortage of confidence. Even supporters of the mayor are beginning to raise questions about whether his strategies will work.
Many vulnerable New Yorkers — some with very serious needs for mental health and/or addiction treatment — are living on subway trains because they fear being victimized in city shelters. Adams’s anticrime plan for subways now includes ordering chiefs, the NYPD’s highest-ranking uniformed officers, regularly to walk a beat in the subways. That drew a rare public rebuke from William Bratton, the ex-NYPD Commissioner whose storied career includes stints running the police departments of New York, Boston, and Los Angeles. The other problem brewing for Adams is the crisis on Rikers Island, the jail where New York sends people to wait their day in court, which has tumbled beyond crisis to a state of near-collapse. Two men in Rikers custody died last week in conditions under investigation. That makes three fatalities so far this year. In 2021, there were 16 deaths, more than in the prior two years combined.