Well, it’s official… Bill de Blasio has been dethroned as mayor of New York City. The question now is whether or not his replacement can do a better job at keeping the city safe and under control. At this point, it’s a bit undecided, to be sure.
As a former New York police officer and New York transit police member, newly sworn-in Mayor Eric Adams technically has the potential to bring things back to order. And his campaign promises of restoring both police confidence and law and order speak to his willingness to do so. However, as a democrat, he’s one of only a few who seems to want to.
And he will have a long road ahead of him if his first day is any indication.
Mere hours after being sworn in on Saturday, Adams was forced to call 911 when a brawl broke out near him on a train station platform in Brooklyn. According to the New York Post, Adams was making his way to City Hall in Manhattan. Unlike de Blasio, the new mayor appeared to not be traveling with a security detail of any kind. Instead, only reporters accompanied him.
Adams and the reporters were standing on the J train subway station platform when three men nearby started arguing. And in “only a matter of time,” as Adams said, the argument turned physical with all three men throwing punches at the others.
Adams says he promptly dialed 911 to report “an assault in progress of three males.” And that’s where the problems started as if a brawl at the train station wasn’t enough.
The first issue came when the emergency service operator misunderstood him as reporting a “past assault.” Adams had to clarify, wasting valuable time.
The next issue occurred about five minutes later when police arrived in two squad cars. Now, to be clear, the number of police or squad cars is not the issue here. The timeliness is. As Adams and other witnesses reported, by then, all the men involved in the altercation had fled, leaving only chaos and confusion in their wake.
Naturally, this was problematic for police officers, as leads would be harder to track down and investigate. Then again, they would have to actually be concerned about the incident for that to happen, wouldn’t they?
As it turns out, none of the officers involved seemed to mind that the suspects had left. In fact, as Adams noted to the Post, they didn’t even make any inquiries as to what happened and where the men could have run off to. They simply noted that the men were no longer there, and so they left as well.
As I said, it will take a lot of hard work to get the city and its police force where it needs to be.
Now, to be clear, I can’t say that I blame the police officers all that much for leaving. After all, in a city the size of NYC and with crime being on such an upswing at present, they no doubt have much bigger and more dangerous things to be worried about than three men who picked a simple fistfight with another.
As the Post pointed out, New York City saw a record number of homicides in 2021, nearly reaching 500. And unless some rather significant changes are made, that upward trend isn’t likely to decrease.
Both the Post and the New York Daily News have reported alarming rises in crime basically ever since the pandemic arrived in 2020.
According to the Daily News, homicide rates are up some 52 percent. And as police reports point out, it’s not just murder that has increased.
“Overall index crime in New York Coty increased by 21.3% in November 2021, compared with November 2020 (10,186 v. 8,396). Robbery has gone up some 24.1%. And felony assault increased by 11.2%
Adams, as a former police officer, wants to change all that. According to his campaign website, his safety plans involved introducing “targeted initiatives” to fight crime, emphasizing cutting down those involving firearms.
He plans to reestablish the “anti-gun unit” of the NYPD that de Blasio disbanded and enforce the city’s gun laws even more, particularly when it comes to handguns. In addition, he wants to add to the diversity of the police force and increase transparency in an effort to help rebuild the city’s confidence in law enforcement.
But, again, if day one on the job was any indication, it might be a while before we see any real progress on that front being made.