Mayor Adams, Sewell persist New York City subways are safe after shooting as mayor downplays crime rise
Mayor Eric Adams on Sunday tried to assure the public that the subways are safe after last week’s rampage — while arguing other big cities have crime and Gotham isn’t nearly as dangerous as it used to be.
Adams and his police commish, Keechant Sewell, appeared on TV touting transit safety just five days after a madman opened fire on a Brooklyn train, wounding 29 people.
Their claims also came as NYPD statistics show major felonies have soared in the city’s transit system so far this year, while recent overall crime in the Big Apple continues to increase.
During a morning appearance on MSNBC, Adams called subway safety “crucial” while peddling his previously announced initiatives aimed at reducing crime underground.
“The transit system is the lifeblood of our city, and we have put in place what I believe are the foundational parts of having a real public-safety apparatus,” the mayor said on “The Sunday Show with Jonathan Capehart.”
“Everything from deploying police correctly, to dealing with the mental-health and homelessness crisis in our system, to ensuring that officers are receiving specific information on what we expect from them,” he said. “The omnipresence, making sure that passengers are seeing those officers going after those violent offenders.”
NYPD statistics show that so far this year, major felonies reported in the subway system rose 68%, robberies in the subways surged by 72%, and felony assaults have increased by 28%.
Figures released earlier this month also revealed a 37% increase in major crimes in March, part of a worrisome trend.
But Adams appeared to downplay the troubling figures by comparing them to those in other cities — and New York’s infamous bad ol’ days of the ’80s and ’90s.
“I say it over and over again: There are many rivers that feed this sea of violence. You see this violence taking place all over this country. It’s not a red-state or blue-state conversation,” he said on MSNBC, referring to Republican-controlled and Democratic-controlled states.
“Mississippi, Kentucky, Louisiana — those are the highest murder rates in our entire country,” Adams added on ABC.
“I was in the city when it spiraled out of control during the mid 80s [and] early 90s,” he said, noting that the NYPD had seized 1,800 guns since he took office Jan. 1.
“[New York City] is far from that,” Adams said on MSNBC.
“That is not what we’re facing at this time. This city is far from spiraling out of control, and we hope to get crime under control and also deal with those pathways that lead to criminal behavior in our city.”
Meanwhile, the Big Apple’s top cop promised that the city’s subways “will be safe” with added officers in the public transit system in the wake of accused gunman Frank James opening fire on a crowded N train during Tuesday morning’s rush.
“The subways have to be safe, and they will be safe,” NYPD Commissioner Sewell told host George Stephanopoulos on ABC’s “This Week” during a joint appearance with Adams.
“We’re surging more officers into the subway system,” she said. “We recognize that people need to see a visible presence of police in the subway, and we’re endeavoring to make sure that that happens.”
In the hours after the subway carnage, Adams said the NYPD would “double” the number of officers patrolling the subway system.
Adams also doubled down Sunday on his insistence that social-media companies should have flagged concerning messages broadcast by James.
In recent years, James had become increasingly unhinged and posted several bizarre and racist rants on YouTube in which he blamed Adams and others for his woes. In response, the NYPD said it was increasing security for the mayor, who had been isolating in Gracie Mansion after testing positive for COVID-19 last week.
“I think social media must step up. There’s a corporate responsibility,” Adams said on ABC. “We can identify using our artificial intelligence to identify those who are talking about violence.”