After being sworn into office, Eric Adams, the new mayor of New York, the largest city in the U.S. with a population of around 9 million, sped up the process to return the city to its former peaceful days.
Having served as the chief of police in New York for years, Adams appointed Keechant Sewell, a black person like him, as the first female New York City Police Commissioner. At today's joint press conference, the governor of New York, Kathy Hochul, and Mayor Adams announced that they would do whatever it takes to establish safety and restore the city to its peaceful days.
Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams announced that they would start with the subway for the city's safety. To prevent the crime that has been increasing in the last two years in NYC subways, the first step will be to beef up the police patrols underground and to deploy health professionals to get the homeless living in subways due to the pandemic the city has been grappling with for the last two years into shelters.
Hochul and Adams noted that the most important element of their new strategy to increase the ridership of the NYC subway, which has seen a drop in the last two years due to lack of safety, was to make the riders feel safe again. Mayor Adams said the police presence was crucial for safety, adding, "Since the riders do not see the police officers, they think the subways are unsafe, but they will see the officers from now on." Sewell, the first female Commissioner of the New York Police Department, stated that the new measures would significantly increase the visibility of the police officers in subways. "Our cops will be more visible in subways and talk to the riders. We will talk to the riders, saying 'Good morning!' to them and asking how they are and how their day is going," she added. "We will hear them and reply back."
Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams stated that, instead of the police officers, trained mental health professionals and social workers would take the homeless to the shelters.
New York Mayor Adams said, "The state laws prohibit the police officers from removing the homeless from public transportation by force. We want the New York police to help the homeless. However, the members of the parliament should review the outdated law. There is no separation between the subway system and the streets above."
Mayor Adams, also a victim of police violence, said, "Do not be abusive and unfair to the community. I promise to protect you, as long as you protect the community. But, I will not let abusive police officers hurt their fellow officers."
The current number of passengers in the New York subway is down by 50% compared to the pre-pandemic level. New Yorkers do not find taking the subway safe due to the spiked crime rate in the last two years. In 2021, approximately 500 people were killed in New York. Gangs have gained more control in certain parts of the city. City-wide crimes, including armed assault, extortion, theft, and looting, have increased compared to the previous years. In the last two years, the pandemic and the spike in crime rates have caused many people to move out of New York. New Yorkers are hopeful about the city being safe again with their new mayor, a former police chief, and their first female police commissioner being on duty.