In response to the Jan. 21 Harlem shooting that left two officers dead, Mayor Eric Adams has laid out a plan to curb gun violence in the Big Apple this week, and now New Yorkers are weighing in on what has been said to be a comprehensive plan that focuses on information sharing, community involvement, policy changes, and technology improvement.
What’s the plan?
On Jan. 24, Mayor Eric Adams unveiled his “Blueprint to End Gun Violence,” in New York City, which includes changes to State and Federal Laws, enhanced NYPD and mental health initiatives, summer employment opportunities, expanded cash rewards for tipsters who share information on gun-related crime, more surveillance cameras inside businesses, bail reform, and additional help to combat the influx of gun crime.
More officers will be placed on patrol and the mayor assures that his administration will go unit by unit in order to ensure resources are being utilized correctly, as well as seeking federal funding. Adams says he will also expand the partnership between the NYPD and State police in terms of sharing critical information, such as license plate records and trace data (as well as coordinate information sharing with the FBI, ATF, and other federal partners).
“Since Jan. 1, our officers have taken 350 illegal guns off the street. Last year over 6,000 guns were confiscated. Our officers are doing heroic work getting guns off the street. But traffickers keep the guns coming. That must end. We must stop the flow of illegal guns into our city. The Iron Pipeline must be broken,” Adams said at a recent press conference.
To combat the Iron Pipeline, Adams’ plan involves adding more detection points to stop guns from arriving by car, train, and bus (this would include spot checks in entry points like Port Authority).
Adam’s agenda will focus on enhancing the NYPD efforts that specifically target gun policing to remove these weapons off the streets, including the creation of Public Safety teams in precincts throughout the Metropolitan area and increasing resources for the Gun Violence Suppression Division. The Neighborhood Safety Teams will tour key neighborhoods while also building on past efforts from anti-crime units and risk monitoring to ensure communities are kept involved in the task force. These teams will be launched in the next three weeks.
Adams will also expand the anti-violence Crisis Management System (CMS) movement and work directly with community groups and religious organizations. Additionally, Adams’ guides state that there will be a Summer Youth Employment program launched and expand programs like the fair future initiatives and community hiring efforts.
What are New Yorkers saying?
William Bradshaw is a longtime Harlem resident, and he has seen gun violence ravage his neighborhood and other parts of New York City for a long time. He is wary of Mayor Adams’ plan until he sees it unfold.
“Guns are very bad, you see it. A lot of people have been killed; a cop was killed. It’s really bad. We need more cops on the street. They need to be on the street, I haven’t seen Mayor Adams do that yet. He’s been talking a lot, but I want to see him do something,” Bradshaw said.
While some New Yorkers are calling the blueprint necessary, precautionary steps toward a safer future; others fear portions of this plan that involve police gun units using stop and frisk tactics are a bad omen for Black and Brown youth.
Tania Batcherlol had a discussion with her teenage grandson regarding what to do and not to do if he is approached by an officer—a heart-wrenching discussion many Black and Brown families must have, especially after the death of George Floyd and countless others.
“I’m 66 years old, and I’m coming from an era where there was a lot of stop and frisk. I saw a whole lot of abuse in power with the police department. Now fast forward to 2022, I have a grandson, who is 14 years old who’s never been in trouble, and ever since Mayor Adams has said he is bringing it back I’ve been very fearful of the fact that he might get killed by the police,” Batcherlol said, sharing her concern with Adams’ focus on instating an “element of surprise” in policing.
Batcherlol believes that other aspects of the mayor’s blueprint such as including checkpoints at entry areas to stop guns from coming into New York City are a good starting point.
For East Harlem resident John, he says it’s just all talk from Mayor Adams, just like his predecessors.
“He is too much like de Blasio, Mayor Adams ain’t ever gonna get guns off the streets, he is just doing what they tell him to do,” John said candidly.
Jennifer Roberts has lived all over the city over the course of her five-decade life and believes she has seen New York at its best and worst. Although she states that crime today is not as bad as it has been in the past, she says it is beginning to get to that point.
“The city is not as bad as was then, but it has gone down considerably. You don’t want it to go back to that. The subway crime is horrible, and you don’t want to walk around living in fear,” Roberts said, adding that Adams’ plan, and as a mayor himself, is better than de Blasio.
“A lot of Adams’ plans are about education and keeping guns out of the hands of a lot of people and keeping youth off the street. It’s important to do things for the neighborhoods that are most affected by this,” Roberts said.
Whether New Yorkers concur with Mayor Adams’ plan or not, one thing the general consensus agreed on is that gun violence has gotten out of control.