Gotham Gazette

The Place for New York Policy and politics


Adams 2021: Safety - Lower Crime Through Precision Public Safety

By saving money through technology and efficiency, and using it to fund targeted initiatives that reduce serious crime, I will more effectively deploy resources while ensuring that police do the real police work needed to get the bad guys and prevent crime in the first place. I will do that by:

  • Being laser-focused on violent crime—especially guns.
  • Reinventing the anti-crime unit as an anti-gun unit, using cops with the skills and temperament to balance community relations and catch the bad guys.
  • Civilianizing areas of the NYPD that don’t need to be staffed by cops.
  • Shifting detectives and other officers from low-crime areas to crime hot-spots when surges occur.
  • Strengthening handgun laws so that New York City residents are not put at risk by lax laws in other counties and municipalities.

Target gun violence.

The number one driver of crime spikes in the city right now is gun violence. We must reverse this troubling trend, fast by using coordinated tactics, smart policing and cooperation between agencies and with the community. I will:

  • Reinvent the anti-crime unit as an anti-gun unit, hiring officers with the skills and temperament for this kind of intense, on the ground police work by removing overly aggressive cops and by targeting known shooters with precision policing tactics.
  • Prevent guns from coming in through our bus and train stations with spot checks like the ones we use in subway stations.
  • Work with the Port Authority to strengthen security at city entry points, implementing spot checks and coordinating anti-trafficking initiatives.
  • Fully fund the City’s Crisis Management System and allow for more centralized coordination between law enforcement, community groups and our hospitals.
  • Improve communication and coordination between CMS and NYPD to prevent retaliatory violence once a shooting has occurred.
  • Convene citywide clergy leaders and law enforcement officials to partner on public safety initiatives in hotspots.
  • Form a Tri-State commission to formulate policy proposals that would stop the flow of illegal handguns into our communities.
  • Coordinate a multi-state East Coast compact to share information on dirty gun dealers and potential traffickers to make up for a lack of federal response.
  • Significantly increase funding to the City’s Office to Prevent Gun Violence.

Deal with crime spikes before they get out of control.

By using real-time governing tools and tracking crime trends to become predictive, we can quickly shift NYPD resources from one community to another to reverse bad trends, much the way the NYPD uses COMPstat. For instance, we will regularly shift detectives and other officers from low-crime areas to crime hot-spots.

Reduce crime by having cops focus on police work.

About 500 police officers work in full time clerical jobs or spend their days driving trucks or removing barricades instead of conducting investigations or preventing crime. Even police officers tasked with fighting crime spend huge amounts of their time on court appearances and paperwork.

The city can save $500 million a year through strategic civilization of the force and by lowering overtime costs related to paperwork.  A starting police officer earns $42,500 a year, which goes up to about $85,000 in less than six years. Police administrative aides make just $33,875 a year. The total savings could go into programs proven to reduce crime, like the Crisis Management System.

Tackle the trauma that festers in communities experiencing gun violence.

Living in a high-crime community and experiencing gun violence creates trauma that impacts a youth’s ability to perform in school and achieve in life. We will supply adequate services that address trauma and allow for healing, reducing the risk of incarceration, teenage pregnancy and homelessness.

Prevention and follow up measures that serve to heal and support these youth are best delivered by trauma-trained credible messengers paired with mental health professionals, social services and violence interrupters.

Address domestic violence abusers’ trauma so they stop perpetuating violence.

The NYPD responds to approximately 230,000 domestic incidents each year and 18% of homicides in NYC are due to domestic violence. Many abusers are repeat offenders. We must acknowledge that current programming to change abusers’ behavior is insufficient and doesn’t deal with root causes, which are often traumas experienced by the abuser themselves. To address this, we will launch the “Family Violence Perpetrator Program,” based on cognitive and behavioral therapy, to evaluate abusers’ traumas and treat them to prevent further violence.

Treat “Frequent Fliers” with better services.

Tens-of-thousands of New Yorkers cycle in and out of jails and mental hospitals in New York City: In 2019, about 20 percent of the city’s approximately 60,000 homeless people had a serious mental illness; and hospital stays for patients with serious mental illness add up to more than 1 million days each year. We must stop jailing the mentally ill for non-violent crimes and expand citywide the successful Fountain House model of care, providing structured therapeutic social settings to help people transition from therapeutic settings to non-therapeutic settings.

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