Mayor Eric Adams’ “Blueprint to End Gun Violence” plan received an endorsement Monday from more than 200 of New York city’s top business, labor and civic leaders in the city who issued an open letter backing hizzoner’s efforts to stop armed criminals.
The open letter comes after a series of shocking violent crimes across the city — including the killing of two young members of the 32nd Precinct, Police Officers Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora; and the killing of Michelle Go, the Deloitte executive who was pushed in front of a subway train in Times Square by a deranged man.
The letter’s signers represent more than 3 million jobs and workers based in the Five Boroughs, according to the Mayor’s office.
Adams’ plan — which has received some pushback from some reform-minded progressive lawmakers and activists — includes bringing back a reimagined form of the NYPD’s Anti-Crime Units, which specifically focus on taking guns off the streets; rolling back some recent reforms giving judges discretion to set bail; and assigned cases involving 16- and 17-year-olds charged with violent crimes to Criminal Court, rather than Family Court.
“The mayor’s blueprint for public safety is a common-sense approach to New York’s crime challenges, pairing essential social services and community-based interventions with appropriate tools for the courts and strategies for police,” said Jonathan Lippman, former Chief Judge, New York Court of Appeals and one of the signatories to the letter. Lippman has also been front and center in the criminal justice reform movement, having advocated for the closure of Rikers Island.
“I very much urge our city, state, and federal leaders to collaboratively support the mayor’s smart and practical efforts to both tackle crime and ensure fairness in our system of justice,” Lippman added.
Among the signatories included a large number of the city’s corporate business leaders from Wall Street, the banking industry and large developers.
“We support Mayor Adams’ comprehensive approach to reducing crime and gun violence,” said Rob Speyer and Steven Swartz, co-chairs of the Partnership for New York City. “The return of the pre-pandemic vibrancy of our city depends on his success.”
Also signing the letter were leaders of major unions and the healthcare industry.
“As an institution focused entirely on the health and wellbeing of our fellow New Yorkers, we applaud the mayor’s leadership in offering new solutions to make our city safer,” said Steven J. Corwin, MD, president and CEO, NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital.
“On our buses, in the subway, and in the neighborhoods where we live, transit workers see the need to improve public safety every single day,” said Tony Utano, president of TWU Local 100, the city’s largest union representing transit workers. “All branches of government must step up and take action, and that includes addressing the mental health crisis more effectively. The mayor’s plan is a big step in the right direction.”
The actual letter itself notes that public safety is the bedrock of a thriving city and it is equally necessary to invest in mental health care and alleviate conditions that contribute to violent behavior, including substance abuse, homelessness, and joblessness.
“During the pandemic, both crime and quality of life conditions have worsened in the Central Business Districts, in many residential neighborhoods, on the public transit system, and in local shopping strips where small business owners and employees are vulnerable to attack. New York cannot recover from the devastating impacts of the pandemic without first restoring the sense of personal security that every resident, worker, visitor, and community in our city has the right to expect,” the signatories wrote.