On Tuesday, Brooklyn Borough President and mayoral candidate Eric Adams held a press conference with activist groups Save Our Streets (SOS) and Guns Down Life Up outside the Bronx Supreme Court building where he pleaded for change and laid out his plans to try to make the city safer.
“I’m a big believer in police reform, but I also believe in public safety,” he said. “It may be a beautiful day out here, but it’s an ugly day of violence in our city.”
His press conference followed a bloody week in which shooting incidents were up 257% from the same time last year, and a month of March where the city saw a 73% increase in shooting victims from March 2020. Overall, there has been an approximately 50% increase in the number of shooting incidents and victims in New York this year so far compared to last year.
Why aren’t the other mayoral candidates addressing the ongoing shootings and deaths in the Bronx, Adams questioned in the press conference. Are they meeting with SOS and other groups, he asked.
“You can’t be safe in certain parts of the city and ignore the violence in other parts of the city,” he said.
Football is often referred to as a game of inches, but Adams pointed out that life as a New Yorker is also. That 5 year-old girl in Brooklyn who had a bullet graze her head is alive because of inches.
The borough president said he’s worried things will only get worse with summer around the corner.
“The crisis is outpacing the manpower on the ground,” he said. “We cannot allow crime to suffocate our family members and friends.”
Leaders in the community, nonprofits and schools must show young adults and kids that there are more paths in life than guns and gangs, he said. Furthermore, the city must create more job training centers and employment opportunities in low-income areas.
“Fighting gun violence isn’t a midtown nine-to-five job. It’s a 24 hour seven day a week job,” he said.
Adams said he understands that most of the guns come to New York City through the Iron Pipeline and are illegal. Because of this he is advocating for the Port Authority to check for guns like they do for bombs, he said. Additionally, he wants the NYPD to work with activist organizations to prevent gun violence and form a tri-state commission that helps stop the illegal flow of guns.
As a cop for 22 years, he said he knows what it is like to knock on a door and tell a family their loved one died. But this should not be happening every day.
“I don’t want to remain on the sideline as other babies and family members are being devastated,” he said. “It’s time for the Mayor and the Police Commissioner to show how we are going to deal with the issue of gun violence.”