After Saturday’s shooting of three bystanders in Times Square, candidates for mayor are talking a tough game on crime if they are elected in the June 22 Democratic primary.
Three people, including a four-year-old girl, are currently recovering from their wounds while the gunman is still on the loose as of Sunday afternoon, according to NYPD.
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams spoke at the scene of the shooting and criticized one of his chief rivals, entrepreneur Andrew Yang, on the belief that his opponent had not come up with a proposal to end gun violence until it happened near where he lives with his family.
“Those who are looking to be our chief executive are coming with a one sided approach to public safety. Safety is prevention and intervention. Prevention is building out real programs that will actually stop the occurrence of the underlying reasons that we have violence,” Adams said. “For Andrew Yang to stand here and all of a sudden realize this threat in our city. And why? Because of what he stated, ‘this happened a block from my house.’ Well you know what, Andrew? These shootings have been happening blocks from my house for years and blocks from poorer New Yorkers for years.”
Adams, who only recently pulled ahead of Yang in the polls, scrutinized his opponent for not coming up with a proposal to end gun violence until the incident Saturday for which there have not been any arrests.
Yang stated that a stronger investment in policing by the city should be employed to combat shootings while Adams wants to see resources routed into a plainclothes force of officers taken off of desk duty as well as a special citywide prosecutor handling gun crimes.
“The truth is that New York cannot afford to defund the police, not while New Yorkers are concerned about rising rates of violent crime, petty crime, and walking freely in their neighborhoods. If the city cannot stop shootings in Times Square, one of the most policed neighborhoods in our city, what does that say about what’s happening in Black and brown communities throughout our city where we’re underinvesting and we know that rates of gun violence are higher?,” Yang said in a statement similar to his in-person remarks. “We cannot fall into the trap of imagining there’s a false choice between keeping our people safe and evolving the NYPD – the fact is we cannot do one without the other.”
Adams clarified that he does not want an anti-crime unit, but an anti-gun unit that will specialize in arresting known shooters, taking guns off streets and preventing them from entering the city illegally to begin with.
Adams was also critical of opponents in the race who he believes did not react strongly enough.
Yang outlined a plan to share crime stats with the public on a daily basis and create an anti-violence and community safety unit comprised of plainclothes officers focusing on communities hurting the most. Much like Adams, Yang expressed the need to stop gun smugglers who buy in other states and bring them to the five boroughs.