- By Christian Wade | The Center Square contributor
- August 1st, 2023
(The Center Square) — New York City Mayor Eric Adams is taking aim at gun violence in the city with a nearly $500 million spending plan that seeks to address what he views as its root causes.
The Blueprint for Community Safety plan, unveiled on Monday, calls for increased spending on youth mentorship and job training programs, diversion programs, improved housing conditions, renovations in parks and playgrounds, mental health programs and community policing initiatives.
“Ending gun violence requires more than enforcement, more than policing, far, much more,” Adams, a Democrat, told reporters at a briefing. “It requires attention and investment. That is why this blueprint is on a community development approach that focuses on preventive measures and long-term strategies.”
Adams said the spending will be focused on six police precincts in the Bronx and Brooklyn that city officials say were responsible for about 39% of “shots fired” incidents last year.
“We’re going to start with the small number and we want to see a substantial decrease in violence, an increase in employment, increase in services, increase in infrastructure,” he said.
Adams boasted that law enforcement have taken 11,000 firearms off the streets since he assumed office in 2022, while shootings have dropped by about 26% this year. He said homicides have also dropped.
“Overall, crime is down across the city year to date, and our numbers continue to trend in the right direction,” he said on Monday. “The work of public safety is never done and even a single loss of life to gun violence is a tragedy.”
New York City has reported 592 shootings so far this year, which is a decline from the 805 shootings during the same seven months period last year, and 900 during the same period in 2021, according to the latest department data.
That’s 34% higher than 441 shootings reported during the first seven months in 2019, before two significant 2020 events: the outbreak of COVID-19 (March) and the Minneapolis killing of George Floyd (May). Each impacted societal activity.
Gun violence has been on the minds of New Yorkers following a postpandemic crime wave that included high-profile murders and attacks in subways and other public venues.
A recent poll found more than half of New Yorkers are concerned they could become a victim of crime, with 1-in-5 saying they bought a gun for personal protection in the past year.
On Monday, Adams was joined by Gov. Kathy Hochul, a fellow Democrat who praised the mayor’s focus on addressing the root causes of gun violence that has fueled public concerns.
“Stopping gun violence is a collective responsibility, which is why the city and state will continue working hand in hand to make our communities safer and create a future where all New Yorkers can thrive,” she said in remarks.