|RELEASE: Transcript of Adams press conference on 2022 crime on January 5, 2023.|
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: January 5, 2023
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TRANSCRIPT: MAYOR ERIC ADAMS ANNOUNCES CITYWIDE CRIME STATISTICS FOR 2022
Julian Phillips, Deputy Commissioner of Public Information, Police Department: Well, I see we have a packed house today. We have a lot of important information for you and I'm glad you're here. Good afternoon everyone, and welcome to One Police Plaza. Now the team you see assembled here are those who have been elected and sworn to keep the citizens of New York City safe. And this team is starting off, the Honorable Mayor Eric Adams, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, First Deputy Commissioner Edward Caban, Chief of Department Jeffrey Maddrey, Chief of Crime Control Strategies Michael LiPetri, Chief of Detectives James Essig, Chief of Patrol John Chell, Chief of Transit Michael Kemper, and last but not least, Chief of Housing Martine Materasso. Now you all know it's been one year in which this administration has taken the leadership with a mandate. A mandate to reduce crime. And they are here to report their progress. With that, I will turn it over to the Honorable Mayor of New York City, Eric Adams.
Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thanks so much and thank all of you for joining us today. How you doing, Marcia? And the real call at the beginning of the year was clear. It was about making sure our city was safe. And we had to put together the right team to do so. And it was important to me as we dealt with crime in our city, we also had to deal with the morale issue. And I had to find the right leader that could give the morale that was needed to the men and women who put on a uniform. And also strategically impact on ensuring our city was safe, but without using some of the abusive forms of public safety that we saw in the past. And we found that in our commissioner. And I cannot thank Commissioner Sewell enough for taking on this awesome responsibility. Major sports players would state they don't want to play in New York.
The onslaught of criticism, critique, observation makes this a challenging occupation and there's no greater big leagues in the sports of public protection than the New York City Police Department. And Commissioner Sewell came in, she put together a real plan, a real plan of operation. And she built a team around her and that team is here today. And there are many more levels that we're going to have to go through until we get the product that we know New Yorkers deserve. But let's be clear, we entered this season of public protection in January 1st, 2022, crime was on a trend increasing upward. We're leaving 2022 where crime is trending downward. And many of the major areas, some of the major initiatives that the police commissioner put in place, we're seeing significant decreases in shootings, homicides, apprehensions of guns. It's clearly a 27-year high.
We're looking at some of those major issues around public safety that we knew we had to tackle. But we're doing far more than just the role of policing. Under the leadership of Deputy Mayor Phil Banks, we're seeing a real coordination between all of our law enforcement entities. One team understanding that the New York City Police Department cannot and should not have to do this alone. Historically, whenever we talked about public protection, we only talked about the NYPD. That was unfair. It was not right. And we have other law enforcement entities that are now playing a major role as we tackle public protection in the city. I'm extremely proud of this team. We are not spiking the ball. We know we have more to do. New Yorkers must be safe based on the stats and they must feel safe based on what they're seeing.
That is my obligation. To ensure that safety is felt and actual and that is the direction we are moving in. And every day, we're out in the subway system, we're walking our streets. We're engaging with our police officers and we're making sure we move towards a city that is, as I always stated, the prerequisite to our prosperity, public safety.
And lastly, I want to commend the men and women over New Year's. I don't believe people fully understand what it was like to secure the safety of hundreds of thousands of people. While you have an incident with three officers who were assaulted by an individual who had one intention and that's to harm men and women who protect us. They immediately brought that threat under control. They apprehended the guilty, the person who committed the crime. They discharged one round. Keeping in mind how many people were in the area, they hit the suspect, they subdued him, he was arrested. The three officers received healthcare from our expert medical facilities.
You saw our city operate at its best and they continue to go to protect the hundred thousands of people who were there as the festivities continued. That is the quality product that this commissioner has produced and this agency has continued to put out day in and day out. And so we are going to continue to do our job. This amazing team that's here is a symbol of the years and years of knowledge of law enforcement and how we can continue to evolve our police agencies to the level that all of you expect and our overall pub public protection apparatus.
So I want to thank them personally for their commitment for continue to move forward through some very challenging times. Covid, monkeypox, losing two officers at the beginning of January, having a number of officers who were shot during that same period. And in spite of all of that, they continue to put on that uniform every day and run towards danger to protect our city from those who have made up their minds to hurt innocent people.
I look forward to my conversation this afternoon with my lawmakers in Albany as we continue to lean into how do we continue in the gains that this administration has attempted to do around public protection. So again, thank you for coming out today and I'm going to turn it over to the police commissioner of the City of New York, Keechant Sewell.
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell: Thank you very much, Mr. Mayor. And thank you all for being here. Good afternoon. From the start of 2022, the NYPD was focused on combating crime and violence in this city. Shootings in 2021 were at a 15-year high and had been climbing since 2018. In the beginning of 2022, our year over year crime spike was at about 45 percent and at times 48 percent. We have steadily and diligently cut into that increase and we are now sitting at about 22 percent. We knew we would not turn this city around on a dime. We did not stumble into these decreases. They were not happenstance. We strategized, planned, deployed, recalibrated when necessary, conducted investigations and relentlessly followed up. Beginning in January with the mayor's Blueprint to End Gun Violence. In February our Supplemental Deployment Strategy, March, our Subway Safety Plan, Neighborhood Safety Teams initiatives to improve quality of life and business recovery. Continuing into the year, our Transit Safety Plan, our Summer Violence Reduction Strategy, and our Year End Crime Mitigation Strategy that we announced back in September.
We added additional investigators to our precinct and warrant commands to be able to quickly detect patterns, identify subjects and apprehend offenders. We deployed foot patrols into our commercial districts, shifted resources where we saw crime spikes focusing on the drivers of crime, those that commit crime and holding them accountable. We've had highs and lows, but these decreases represent people. Fewer victims and a safer city. New Yorkers, in the fourth quarter of 2022, major crime was down in New York City. In the current seven and 28 days, major crime is down in New York City. These decreases are the direct result of a year's long strategy. The dedication, commitment, and sacrifice of the women and men of the NYPD. Our partners in the MTA, local, state and federal, public and private, and the communities we serve.
We know we have a lot more work to do. We know there will continue to be challenges because that is the nature of our profession. The NYPD is confident of the future of this department and our city. We will never stop holding those accountable who continue to prey on the people in businesses of New York City. With this momentum going forward, we are confident in the coming year. We expect to see significant progress and the continuance of the crime trends that we're seeing. I'd like to turn it over now to our recently promoted chief of department, Jeffrey Maddrey.
Jeffrey Maddrey, Chief of Department, Police Department: Thank you, commissioner, and good morning everyone. We have a talented team of police executives assembled who discussed some of the challenges of 2022 and how this department and our members courageously went into the streets and removed numerous guns, addressed quality of life issues and solved other problems within various communities. Our officers are the best and I commend them for the work that they do. This department works best and performs at its highest levels when it leverages initiatives with many partnerships. Working with our district attorneys, our local clergy, our crisis management teams, community-based organizations and grassroots leaders from every corner of this city is how we will increase public safety. And a great example of that in 2022 was Labor Day weekend. Through our partnerships with various organizations, we worked as one team and we kept the community safe while people were able to go out and enjoy celebrating their heritage and their culture.
We will continue to build on the neighborhood policing philosophy and through our youth coordination officers, increase our reach into the lives of young people to prevent negative encounters with the criminal justice system. For example, our options program where we work with young people that provide life skills, financial literacy, and teach them to avoid certain pitfalls. This is what we'll do to continue to connect with our youth. Enforcement is just one of our tools. Being a resource to our city and being helpful to our citizens is how we'll make our great city even better. Partnerships are the key and it's how we'll increase public safety, which is the common goal of everyone.
That's my commitment and that's this department's commitment. To work with established partners, seek out and build new partnerships and continue to be a useful resource to our collective vision and knowledge and willingness to meet challenges head on with viable solutions. That's how we'll keep this city safe. Thank you. And now I'll pass this over to the chief of Crime Control Strategies, Michael LiPetri.
Michael LiPetri, Chief of Crime Control Strategies, Police Department: Thank you, chief. So as the commissioner said, we saw 12 months of steady progress. I'd like to just discuss where we were, what we have achieved, and the direction this agency is heading. We finished the fourth quarter of 2022 with the most successful fourth quarter shooting reduction in the CompStat history. Shooting incidents in the fourth quarter were down 32 percent with 147 fewer people shot in New York City. Shootings were down 11 of the last 13 weeks. Major crime was down the last seven weeks. Every borough in regards to violence experienced significant double digit decreases for the quarter. For the year, 268 less incidents with over 300 people.
With over 300 fewer people shot. Like the commissioner said, we had a 15-year high in 2021. We had a lot of work to do. And the first few months of this year were trying. We saw increases in shootings for the first quarter. We were up 37 incidents with 44 more people shot. Took time to put into place new strategies, new deployment, who the drivers of violence are. The connectivity between not just precincts, not just geographic, but citywide connectivity. Who bore the brunt of the shooting increase for the first quarter was the borough of the Bronx. 35 percent of all the shootings for the first quarter occurred in the Bronx. So what was the plan? Commissioner discussed the plan. We moved not hundreds but thousands of officers into Bronx, both on the patrol level, the detective level. Our technology increased substantially in the Bronx. We moved 75 cameras, approximately 75 cameras, multiple mobile plate readers into the Bronx.
So I gave you the analysis, I gave you the plan. Now I'll give you the results of the plan. From year end, from May 1st, the Bronx saw the largest raw decrease in shootings in the city. They went from worst to the best. In October, there was 13 shooting incidents in the Bronx. That is the best October that the Bronx has ever had in the CompStat history. What's the correlation? Precision policing and the men and women in the Bronx who are doing the police work.
30 percent of all the gun arrests in the city are coming from the Bronx. I'd like to get into gun arrests. Mayor said it. 27-year high. 27-year high in gun arrests in New York City. Go back 27 years and see how many more shooting incidents we had. And that also goes for our seven major arrests. We're at a 21 (inaudible) 21 years ago we had approximately 30,000 more arrests. It's precision. Three quarters of our gun arrests are being made by our patrol officers, our housing officers, and our transit officers. We're doing it better, more precise than we've ever done it in the past. Our decline in prosecutions are the lowest level since my office has been tracking from 2015.
So who are we arresting with guns out there? Well, I can tell you we're arresting convicted felons, people with previously open felonies. But I want to speak about one specific arrest and show you the data behind this arrest. So this individual I'm talking about is one of the 750 people that the NYPD has identified that's basically responsible for 30 percent of the shootings, in any role, over the past two years. So this person arrested in November is a known crew member. He's also a convicted felon. He was arrested twice within one year. Those two arrests were then consolidated into one court disposition. He was arrested in November. He's now remanded. Again, he's one of these 750 people.
So we know what crew he belongs to. We also know the areas that that crew frequents. It's four precincts across (inaudible.) Those four precincts in the same period last year had 22 shootings. After his gun arrests, we've had five. Patrol Borough Brooklyn South for that period has had 12 total shootings this year compared to 33 last year. That's precision policing. That's the men and women of Patrol Borough Brooklyn South arresting the right person in the right place with a firearm.
Seven major struggles, no doubt about it. We've had a tough year, but I like the way it's trending. For the fourth quarter, we're down 2 percent, but more importantly for December, we were down 12 percent. Those decreases continue. (Inaudible) major arrests by NYPD members. Again, that's a 21 (inaudible) substantially more (inaudible) at that time.
Just to get into some of the crime. Robbery (inaudible) in robbery arrests this year. For the fourth quarter we were basically flat. We struggled for the first three quarters with an increase of 37 percent. So who's my robber? Well, he or she is a convicted felon 25 percent of the time, (inaudible) still have an open felony 25 percent of the time. 20 percent, 20 percent of our robbery arrests in quarter four were of individuals under the age of 18. For the year, 17 percent (inaudible) robbing New Yorkers.
The statistics are out there. The trends continue (inaudible) with 10 percent of our shooting victims. 10 percent of our shooting victims in New York City are (inaudible), the only demographic (inaudible) up substantially. Every other age category is down when you track it between 10 and 17 and 18 and 24 and so on. 43 percent of our robberies this year, we have an arrest effected, with another 7 percent of wanted individuals. So approximately 50 percent of our robberies will be connected to an arrest.
Burglary. Another crime fueled by recidivism. I'm just going to give you the numbers. 439 people have been arrested for three or more burglaries this year (inaudible) 496 in 2017, and guess what? Half of them are convicted felons and not a lot of them are in jail. 1,200 individuals arrested for a burglary this year, 1,200, went on to commit another felony within 60 days. In 2017 it was 300. That's recidivism. And these are arrests. These aren't investigations where we think somebody's doing this. Handcuffs are going on these people. It's arrests.
Mayor Adams: I'm sorry, Mike, can you repeat that?
Chief LiPetri: Sure. Approximately 1,200 people have been arrested for a burglary this year that then go on to commit another felony within 60 days. In 2017 the exact number is 312.
Grand larcenies. We've struggled all year, and we know what that's fueled by. It's been well documented. And that's retail theft. A lot of you know, if not all of you, the mayor's had his summit. I've had multiple meetings. Multiple meetings with large stores, small stores, along with the police commissioner, along with everybody up here. 63,000 shoplift complaints this year. We arrested 327 people. 327 people that account for 30 percent of all the arrests. Of all the arrests. 327 people are 30 percent of our 22,000. Half of them, or almost half, are convicted felons. And guess what? 235 of them, so 235 out of 327, are walking around the streets of New York right now, doing what? Unfortunately, making stores close or making families wait 15 minutes, 20 minutes to get something unlocked because there's not a lot of consequences. So I'd just like to reiterate, we have a lot to do. We've made steady progress, and we will continue to make steady progress. Thank you.
Phillips: Chief of Detectives James Essig.
James Essig, Chief of Detectives, Police Department: Good afternoon, everybody. Chief LiPetri spoke about the reduction in homicides and shootings in 2022. There are many contributing factors to that, but a very significant one is the amount of arrests detectives are making for these offenses. In 2022, 1,411 arrests were made which were linked to shootings and homicides. Consider that in the prior two years, when we had more shootings and homicides, we made 1,263 in 2021, 961 in 2020, and 840 in 2019.
Our clearance rates for shootings and homicides are at or near all time highs, with a current year murder clearance rate of 65 percent, which was 58 percent in 2021, and in 2020 it was 52 percent. Unofficially, the UCR clearance rate, including prior (inaudible) 2022 will be 83 percent, or the fifth-highest since records were being kept in 1990. Our shooting clearance rates for this year are 44 and a half percent is the third highest in 15 years. This while dealing with additional challenges of masked-up perpetrators, the use of autos, scooters, and the district attorneys demanding more evidence.
Additionally, our long-term investigations have had a significant impact on violent crime and narcotics. Our strategy in long-term cases is to dismantle drug crews, most times based on community complaints, and target the drivers of violence, our organized gangs and narcotics enterprises, whether it be on the street, in housing developments, or in residential areas.
Last year we had 143 long-term cases, of which 42 were known violent street gangs. This resulted in 667 arrests. Included in those arrests were seizures of 1,373 kilos of cocaine. Three kilos of crack cocaine with an estimated street value of $48.2 million. 166 kilograms of heroin, which is 460,000 glassine envelopes, with a street value of $13 million. 5,000 pounds of marijuana, a street value of $10 million. 473 firearms. $13.2 million in U.S. currency. And what's being described by many as the number one public health crisis in America, we seized 485 kilos of fentanyl with a street value of $19.4 million. I'll now like to turn it over to Chief John Chell, the chief of patrol.
John Chell, Chief of Patrol, Police Department: Good afternoon, everybody. Just want to touch on a couple successes for 2022, and strategy shifts that patrol took part in. First and foremost, our Neighborhood Safety Teams that were established last March. We removed 431 guns off the street. One out of every four encounters by our Neighborhood Safety Teams resulted in a firearm being removed from the street.
Quality of life initiatives. Big component, big strategy what we focused on. We focused on illegal bikes, ghost cars, paper plates, ATVs. It's a quality of life issue, but also is conflated with some of our drivers of violence. People doing robberies on motorbikes, ATVs, ghost cars with paper plates. We really hit this hard as a police department, as an agency. We took over 16,000 illegal motorbikes, ATVs, and ghost cars off the street. Over 6,000 arrests, over 20,000 summonses.
We listened to our Business Improvement Districts who were complaining about illegal peddling, illegal vending. We seized over $30 million in retail value of high-end counterfeit property. We took 35 cannabis trucks off the streets of Times Square at the request of the Business Improvement District. We took a look at our homeless initiative. We visited over 4,100 homeless encampments, and we cleaned up over 2,400 of those. And what's key to this is we did it with our new interagency partners and city in the city. And the mission is clear. One city, one mission to get this city back on track.
Lastly, strategies in deployment. Technology that we already have. Information sharing, merging of resources, field communications. We put together an apprehension strategy in the last quarter of this year that has paid great dividends in regards to apprehending people who were committing one, two, three, four, five robberies at a time in multiple boroughs. And it had a definite impact on the decrease in the fourth quarter we explained here, and the crime trending down. And these strategies are just going to get better and better in 2023. Thank you.
Phillips: Chief of Transit Michael Kemper.
Michael Kemper, Chief of Transit, Police Department: Good afternoon. We ended the year with a 29.6 percent increase in crime versus last year. That said, we ended the year with some very encouraging successes. Let me say this. 2020 and 2021 were extraordinarily challenging years in the subway system due to pandemic-related complexities. So to give us a better view of where we stand, we looked at 2019 and prior pre-pandemic years. When comparing 2022 crime versus 2019, subway crime was down 7.7 percent and it was the lowest since 2014. Matter of fact, when comparing 2022 overall crime in transit to pre-pandemic years, it was the third-lowest year in over 25 years.
Mayor Adams: I'm sorry, chief, can you say that again?
Chief Kemper: Yes, sir. When comparing 2022 crime versus 2019, subway crime was down 7.7 percent and it was the lowest since 2014. Matter of fact, when comparing 2022 overall crime in transit to pre-pandemic years, it was the lowest year in over 25 years. And let me tell you this, that's where the record stopped. If I'm a betting man, it would've been much longer than 25 years.
In relation to safety in the subway system, this administration has made historic commitments. Starting with the mayor's Subway Safety Plan and then with the Cops, Cameras, and Care program, more offices have been assigned to patrol the subway system than in recent history. 1,200 additional officers patrol the subway system each day and this plan is paying dividends. From January 1st to October 24th, crime in the subway system was up 41.6 percent. As a result of the investment, and starting on October 25th to the end of the year, December 31st, major crime in the subway system was down 4.6 percent versus 2021, which includes a 28.8 percent reduction in robberies.
So we went from a very concerning increase in crime for the first 10 months of the year to a sharp turnaround during the last nine weeks of the year. In fact, this was the lowest nine-week year-end period for major crime in transit since 2009. Our team has worked hard this year. Over 1.5 million train patrols were performed by NYPD officers. Enforcement was up in all areas in the transit system. Arrests were up 47 percent with a 38 percent increase in robbery arrests and an 18 percent increase in felony assault arrests. 35 people were arrested for illegally possessing 37 guns in the subway system this year, a 21 percent increase versus last year.
And our cops have done so much more. From jumping on the tracks to saving people, saving overdose victims, rendering aid to people in need, your cops stepped up to every challenge that came their way. It is our goal and it is our mission to reduce crime, keep people safe, and ensure people feel safe when using the subway system. Thank you. I'll now pass it off to Chief Martine Materasso, chief of Housing.
Martine Materasso, Chief of Housing, Police Department: Thank you. As we close 2022, the Housing Bureau met a number of challenges head on by reducing both shootings and homicides while, at the same time, increasing gun arrests and addressing quality of life issues. Our officers delivered a high level of service that had a positive impact on overall public safety for the residents. When analyzing violence reduction within the Housing Bureau, housing saw a 14 percent reduction in shootings and a 50 percent decrease in homicides. Homicides across the city are down 13 percent, driven in large by the reduction experience in NYCHA.
A large portion of this crime reduction strategy is the removal of illegal firearms. The Housing Bureau has remained steady in its commitment to getting illegal guns off the street and out of our developments. In 2022, 318 firearms have been removed, resulting in 324 individuals charged with possession. Leading the charge is PSA 3 NST team with 52 of those guns.
As our focus is eyed for reduction in violence, we understand, and I have heard firsthand for many residents, the continued need for quality of life enforcement. They say they want to see the cops out there and they want to see us addressing quality of life issues. As a result, our PSAs have collectively issued over 5,000 C summonses and old summonses. This is 154 percent increase from last year. Included in these complaints are the reckless use of dirt bikes and ATVs. In response, we have seized 629 unregistered vehicles.
In the year ahead, we look to continue this downward trend in violence as we step forward into 2023. We will remain steadfast in our violence and crime reduction efforts and we'll continue to increase our community engagement, making New York City housing safe for all. Thank you
Phillips: Chief, thank you. We're going to have a Q&A. Just want to make it clear that we're going to take off-topic questions, but for the mayor, they'll be on-topic only. Off-topic questions, including what we're doing here, but for the mayor, on-topic only. Lieutenant?
Question: As you said, a lot more to do. What are the biggest lessons of 2022?
Commissioner Sewell: Teamwork. We recognize every (inaudible) work in silos. (Inaudible) law enforcement solution, we go to our partners to get (inaudible) collectively, the experiences going forward will be to work together as a city. This team that is in place now is a dynamic team and we expect to see continued progress into 2023.
Question: Chief LiPetri has often talked about recidivism being a driver for a lot of the seven majors. New York is the only state where judges are not allowed to consider dangerousness or public safety in setting bail. 49 other states do. Federal government does allow that in federal courts. What are you, Mayor Adams and/or Commissioner Sewell, going to do to address upon the legislature that perhaps they should start looking at the issue of judicial discretion on public safety grounds (inaudible)?
Mayor Adams: Well, I think the commissioner and I, we have both made it clear what our thoughts are in that area. But I think it would be a grave danger if we believe that's the magic bullet. I've stated it over and over again, the bottlenecking of the criminal justice system, the failure to put trials in place in an expeditious manner, the recidivism of people carrying crimes over and over again. I'm going to return to Albany this year to add onto the success we've had last year, to talk about things like how do we look at recidivism, the numbers chief has pointed out. There's a small number of New Yorkers that are repeated offenders and our focus is to lean into those areas we agree on. And I'm looking forward to the conversation I'm going to have with the leaders of Albany as we talk about these issue.
But it's more than just a judicial discretion, it is a criminal justice system that's producing a bad product that allowing dangerous people to continue to go on our streets. But let's be clear, this month alone, it's about trends. How are we trending? Shootings are down, homicides are down, burglaries are down, robberies are down, hate crimes are down. This team is trending in the right direction and we want to continue that. And having a good legislative session is going to assist us in carrying out this function.
Question: Yes, there was a discussion about retail theft. Mr. Mayor, you had the business summit and what's the follow-up to that and what is the plan to address or discourage retail theft?
Mayor Adams: A national problem, and I cannot continue to share with people the role social media is playing on the spreading of some of the ills we are witnessing in our society. You're seeing the videos over and over again of individuals walking in stores all over the country, taking what they want, and walking out, destroying industries. Many of our chain stores and establishments are looking to relocate because it is just no longer profitable. And as it was mentioned, having to wait to have your items unlocked, to watch our shelves emptied with supplies, it's a real problem.
So we brought together, under the leadership of the deputy mayor of Public Safety, brought together all the different individuals who participate in retail. And we're looking at how do we tackle this problem head on, how do we deal with those two different elements? There's one element, they're doing it out of what they believe are necessity. We want to identify them and give them the help they need. If someone is stealing because they don't have food, we want to show them that there are ways to get food. If you're stealing because you have a drug problem, we want to direct you to the drug assistance that you need.
But then there are criminal enterprises that are stealing and selling online. We were successful in partnering with the attorney general. We want to zero in on those individuals so that we can do a full-scale takedown of those operations, but the goal is to stop the retail theft that has really become pervasive over the last few years and that is what this department is doing with our partners and the other law enforcement entities and our merchants. We want them to play a bigger role in doing so by using some of the appropriate technology that could identify the repeated offenders and abusers.
Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor. Happy belated New Years.
Mayor Adams: Thank you.
Question: So out of the 4,500, roughly (inaudible,) do you know how many were made by the Neighborhood Safety Teams (inaudible)]? Because we're told about 500.
Chief Chell: Right. So Tina, it's 501 arrests, 432 physical guns recovered, and this all took place over 411 incidents.
Question: Question, Mr. Mayor, is that enough to justify the Neighborhood Safety Teams, which were out (inaudible)?
Mayor Adams: Yes, and I hear that often, and I believe people believe that policing is one aspect. The Neighborhood Safety Teams not only made gun arrests, but they made arrests of bad people. And if you only look at, well, how many guns did you take off the street, you're going to miss how many other crimes they stopped. They're not out there saying, "Hey, I see a burglary. I'm going to walk past it because it's not a gun." No, that's not how it's done.
Second thing is we removed the unpredictable aspect of policing. When we stated that we were going to dismantle plain clothes officers, dismantle those other aspects of the surprise element, we told the bad guys, "If you don't see a blue and white car, you can carry out your deeds." We've taken that away. That Neighborhood Safety Team brings back the unpredictable aspects of the good guys. This is a huge win for us. It was the best thing that we could do and I really commend the commissioner for doing the proper training, getting the best officers for it, and those 500 guns mean 500 people are less likely to be shot. Great job on the behalf of those men and women who decided to pursue those guns.
Question: Mayor Adams, a lot of these initiatives, including the Subway Safety Plan, are pretty labor-intensive and they require overtime hours. The department, in November, spent 70 percent of its overtime budget. So I guess the first part of the question is, is this sustainable from a labor standpoint? And then the second part would be, do you feel like there needs to be more officers or do you feel like there needs to be hiring?
Mayor Adams: Number one, when I was a rookie police officer, we did something called APs in the subway system where we had mandatory overtime every night. We rode the trains, I believe it's 8 at night to about 4 in the morning, because we had to get crime under control. And so the goal here — the commissioner was clear — that we were going to stabilize the actual crimes and the perception of crime, the feeling that people were unsafe. And nothing helps that feeling more than seeing that person in the blue uniform. We all know it. I feel it when I'm on the system and we know the important part of it.
Once we stabilize our subway system and get the normality of just violent behavior that was on our system, we had everyone from mental health illnesses, we had encampments, which you don't see anymore because of the commitment we put in place. We had a total disregard for the passengers, and we had to bring in the team to stabilize that. Once we stabilize that, we are going to rightsize under Chief Kemper. We're going to rightsize exactly what all of our districts need, we're going to rightsize and make sure the right leadership is there. The commissioner is putting new leadership in certain areas and you're going to see a normalizing of the number of people who are there, but we also want our officers to patrol. We want them moving about, we want to use the camera system. We have an amazing camera system in our subway system.
Chief Banks is looking at some other leaders on how to use that technology better. We were not using that technology to where officers are not located, where we can use it to identify people who are potentially committing crimes or creating dangerous environments. That is something that Chief Kemper is looking at.
And yes, we need more officers. The commissioner identified early that the problem of bringing officers on had a lot to do with the examination. DCAS was not moving at the right level because of the sites that were needed. The commissioner came up with a new way of really increasing the number of police officers to come out on, get through the academy, and be on patrol. And we know we're going to continue to beef up those numbers. We need to continue to beef up the number of men and women, who are retiring because they've reached their 20 years.
Mayor Adams: I'm sorry?
Question: Beyond the current academy cycle, you think there's more necessary beyond that.
Mayor Adams: Beyond the current?
Question: The academy, who's coming in now? The people coming…
Mayor Adams: Yes. We have to continue to recruit, get through the application process and system to have a quality officer, like that rookie officer we saw respond on the New Year's Eve. And so we're going to continue to recruit and increase and reach out to, what I'm really pleased about, continue the diversity of our Department. We want the Department to reflect the diversity of the city.
So yes, we have a class that's going in, we have a class that's just recently graduated and now we want to continue to build out that pipeline.
Question: Mr. Mayor, I wonder if you could tell us what you hope to accomplish with this meeting, with the Albany lawmakers today? What agenda, what things you're going to ask them for that will help you decrease the crime stats for the next year going forward?
And I wonder, in addition, if I could also ask you your reaction to the president's new migrant policy where he's going to limit the number of Haitians, Nicaraguans, and Cubans coming into the country that will hopefully reduce the (inaudible), the number of people that will end up on the streets of the city? Will it help you?
Mayor Adams: Well first to deal with the… My meeting today. I had a great meeting last week in Albany with the leader of the Senate and the leader of the Assembly. And I keep saying over and over again, there's a belief that we are rivers apart. And we just, we aren't. We had, I believe, one of the most successful years in Albany than in any mayoral administration.
Out of the 10 things, using that as an example, we received eight of them. And one of them we got some changes on.
So I need to look at discovery, my DAs, my defense attorneys, legal aids, everyone is talking about the discovery rules and impacts on that. We need to think differently about that. I need to look at how do we move cases through courts, the court system, in a more expeditious fashion so that people don't spend years on Rikers Island waiting for a trial.
And then we want to come together and look at how do we deal with recidivism. The governor and I had a conversation about that, had a conversation with the leaders and we said, "Let's get in the room. Let's look at those number of people who are repeated offenders. And how do we zero in on them to compliment the reforms that were already put in place?" My focus is clearly on the recidivists. Dangerous people who have made up their minds, they're going to pray on innocent New Yorkers. And if we can walk out of the room with a real plan on how to deal with those recidivists, I think it's a real W for the city.
Question: And what about the migrants? The president's new plan to prevent the Cubans and, Cubans, Nicaraguans and Haitians from coming into the country, turning them away (inaudible.)
Mayor Adams: Communicated this morning with the mayor of Chicago. She shares my frustration and anger over what is happening to cities across America. And I'm going to continue to say El Paso should not be going through this, New York, Washington, Houston, Chicago. None of us should be going through this. This is just unfair to the mayors of these cities, that they're experiencing this.
I believe what the president is putting in place is going to assist with dealing with the flow of migrants. We're receiving a large number from the groups that he's now going to include in the Venezuelan part of this. He's going to in increase other groups in that, which is very important.
But the reality is we have a crisis at our border. That crisis must be addressed. And we cannot continue to ignore it. And I think all of our partners on the national level must address this, so the American people won't have to experience this on a, on a local level.
Question: Are you disappointed with the president's announcement today, that didn't go far enough to help you?
Mayor Adams: No, I don't think the term is disappointment. I think that he heard Mayor Lightfoot, he heard Mayor Bowser, he heard Mayor Adams. And he realizes that there are things we must do. And I just don't believe this is the end of the sentence. This is a comma. We need to continue that sentence, so that it ends with an exclamation point, that we have resolved our decade of border crisis.
This is a real problem that we're facing and we need to raise that level of, I believe, what we need to do to resolve the issue. We need to make sure that there's a decompression strategy, that those who are here and who are coming here are being spread throughout the entire country, not just in certain cities. We need to make sure the funding is there so we're not taking away needed services from the residents of our cities. And we need to make sure that we secure the border and do it in a humane way. And this could be done. It could be done and it must be done.
Question: To the mayor and the police commissioner, you both have told about the need to improve the relationship with the community as a way of putting (inaudible) as a way to technically fight crime. Can you each talk about what the incident on Staten Island does to an attempt like that? Commissioners in the past have talked about how one incident set you back once.
Commissioner Sewell: So to give a little context to that, the officers in that incident were responding to a violent fight among several people at that location. During the time when an officer was trying to take police action and apprehend one of the people for that fight, someone interfered in that apprehension and actually struck our officer.
I don't think anyone, or very few people who saw that video, were not concerned. The officer, the force the officer used to stop that interference in that arrest and to custodialize that person is what is under investigation.
We understand that our communities are very important in making New York City safe. Immediately we made sure we addressed the concerns of that community, the Council members in that community. We were on a call with that community yesterday. We want to make sure that we do a thorough investigation. The officer has due, he gets his due process. But we take these things very seriously.
Commissioner Sewell: We suspended that individual as we determined whether he was in line with the policies and procedures and training in this Police Department.
Mayor Adams: And I think Rocco, there's another part to it as well. And as I stated yesterday, I was horrified to see the way a well-trained officer would respond in an incident like that.
But I was also horrified to learn that a young girl in that school was being jumped by two other students.
And we have to dig deeper into these incidents. And I'm going to share with the commissioner, my team today, I'm going to go to Staten Island and I'm going to go visit that school.
The violence that's coming from our young people, the chief indicated the increase in the number of young people who are the victims of shootings, increase in the young people who are shooting, increase in young people who are participating in robberies.
I see some of these videos and I'm really challenged not to just want everyone to see what we're seeing every day. If people start to see what the commissioner and the chief of department, chief of patrol. When you see some of these actions, when you see the just total disregard for human life, it is really challenging to just know the impact of what the victims are going through and how these young people are destroying their lives.
And what happened, I believe that officer was wrong. And I commend the police commissioner and Internal Affairs Bureau for taking swift action. But let's peel that back.
That little baby was going to school and she was being jumped. She was being jumped. We can't normalize this. We can't continue to ignore the violence that is really engulfing our young people. We have to respond to that.
And so I'm calling all of my electeds in that community, I'm calling on my religious leaders in that community. Let's get over to that school and find out what's going on. That's in an alternative school. Those children are on a pathway… If we don't intervene, they are on a pathway of a career in violence. And we have to stop it.
Question: Hi. Good afternoon. How much more money has the city invested in increasing safety and patrols on the subway system? Whether that's personnel, the patrols himself, just trying to get a sense of what the monetary investment is in that effort?
Mayor Adams: We’ll give you those exact numbers, but some of the money came from the governor. She understood that we had to make sure our major artery was safe, both statistically and how people felt. And I think that the chief of Transit gave you the indicator, how well we're doing. And we want to do more, but how well we're doing in driving down crime.
And we know that our subway system, we had 3.9 million people who used that system. Highest number since the pandemic. And when you look at the number of crimes, I think you said it was six, how many crimes per day? Felony?
Chief Kemper: 6.4 in 2022 per day.
Mayor Adams: 6.4. We need to get rid of all of those 6.4. I want to be clear because I don't want someone writing the next day that I'm dismissive of it. We want all this 6.4 gone, but 3.9 million people. And I'm one of those riders. I have my MetroCard and I'm on that system and I'm watching how people are responding to what they're seeing, the visibility of officers, they're starting to regain trust in the system.
And so you cannot put a dollar amount on people using our transportation system. Because they don't do it out of luxury, they do it out of necessity. And we want to make sure it's safe. But we would give you those exact numbers.