In an April 13 article from Insider, Taiyler Simone Mitchell highlighted criticism of Adams’ plan from some city residents, who claimed that they need better resources, such as investments in housing and mental health services, not more police. Scott Hechinger, a civil rights attorney that spoke with Insider, claimed the recent shooting illuminates the “abject policy failure” of investing money into additional policing in the subways.
In February, Adams enacted a seemingly zero-tolerance program, which aimed to address both calls for more policing and calls for more public services. Despite an allocation of funds for services to address homeless individuals, mental health difficulties, as well as loiterers, turnstile-jumpers and criminal opportunists, a week later it was reported that crime had skyrocketed by over 200% compared to the same time in 2021.
The argument against an increased police presence in NYC is not new, but Adams, a former NYPD officer himself, appears to disagree.
For years, Democratic politicians and progressive activists in the state have pushed back on calls for funding for additional police to patrol the subways while the media has hyped up their opposition.
Just as former New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, D., attempted to strike a deal with the MTA to expand the police patrols in subway by 20% over number of years, Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., signed a letter claiming there was no need amid a declining crime rate. Cortez also said the funds should not be used because of the city’s financial crisis and asserted that more policing would “criminalize poverty” and penalize those who cannot afford their subway fare.
Cortez’ letter, which was also signed by former Reps. Jerry Nadler and José Serrano, D-N.Y., as well as New York state Senators Michael Gianaris, Luis Sepulveda, Jessica Ramos, Julia Salazar, and Alessandra Biaggi, was widely circulated across the media in such outlets as the New York Times, MSNBC and The Guardian, among others.
In March, MSNBC host Joy Reid echoed some of Cortez’s comments tweeting, “Important to say: adding lots more police in the subway would have different effects for different communities. White New Yorkers would likely feel safer. But history suggests cops may not prevent more crime but innocent nonwhite & young people would face random rough treatment.”
In a follow-up tweet, Reid said that “Black and brown passengers” would likely face more frequent targeting and treatment from police as a result of their increased presence, “ranging from rude to rough.”
In August, Bloomberg published an article titled, “Making the subway safer with fewer police.” The article primarily focused on the same line of reasoning as Reid’s, citing data from the NYPD that indicates Black and brown people comprised 90% of fare-related arrests and 70% of summonses from 2017 to 2019. The author also touted programs from liberal-run cities, such as San Francisco and Philadelphia, that created programs to address safety concerns while reducing police. Police crime data from both cities saw a significant uptick in crime in the last two years, especially homicides and gun crimes. San Francisco has also experienced a massive increase in smash-and-grab robberies.
A column in The Appeal from 2019 also criticized New York’s plan for more police, when it claimed that “recent violent arrests in the city subways should make New Yorkers question the push by Governor Andrew Cuomo and the MTA to hire 500 new transit police.”
Adams himself also has voiced concern for Black victims, whether it be at the hands of police or fellow New York citizens.
Following the horrific subway shooting in Brooklyn, NYPD recorded six shootings over the span of six hours late Tuesday night and early Wednesday morning, killing a 23-year-old woman and two men aged 21 and 22, according to the New York Post.
Adams called out Black Lives Matter following the series of shootings in an interview with NY1.
“Where are all those who stated ‘Black Lives Matter?’” Adams asked. “Do an analysis of who was killed or shot last night. I was up all night speaking to my commanders in the Bronx, in Brooklyn. The victims were Black. The lives of these Black children that are dying every night matter. We can’t be hypocrites.”