New York Mayor Eric Adams’ crime plan is hated by liberals. But it could work.
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Nonetheless, the mayor’s plan immediately sparked controversy, landing at a time when liberals have perhaps never been so divided in their crime reduction philosophies. Supporters of criminal justice reform immediately criticized the plan for what they see as a regression to some of law enforcement’s most harmful practices. In a joint statement, the city’s leading public defender groups said they did not support “the emphasis on discredited punitive and surveillance-based strategies.”
The new administration of New York City Mayor Eric Adams
The plan to resurrect and rebrand the police department’s undercover crime unit, which was shut down in 2020 but played a major role in gun searches involving young black and Latino men at its peak stop and search, is the subject of special examination. time. The mayor’s plan promises that the unit will operate differently and more responsibly now – though it doesn’t specify how it would. Nor does he acknowledge that at the height of the stop-and-frisk, in 2011, the city still recorded 1,511 shootings, an increase from the previous two years.
As Alex Vitale, a sociologist at Brooklyn College who studies policing, said the plan “almost completely lacks evidence.”
Bail reform, which eliminated the option of cash bail for minor, non-violent offenses and went into effect two years ago, is another target of the mayor’s plan, although it n There is no conclusive research linking it to the recent increase in violent crime, even though violent crime has increased in cities where bail reform has not been enacted. Since the mayor has no real ability to reverse course – reform is a matter of state law, and Assembly Speaker Carl E. Heastie was quick to scapegoat the attack – Mr. Adams’ rhetoric only serves to further alienate progressives when they might rather be brought in.
Where reformists and serious advocates of law and order easily find common ground is in the need to reduce the influx of guns into the state and city, which the new mayor has pledged to do. Here, part of the plan involves working with the state police to implement spot checks at bus and train stations, which could prove to be a big success, although it’s hard to imagine how many of arms dealers move their arsenals via the Megabus from Philadelphia.
There is no discussion of how to deal with domestic violence, which is particularly curious given that it is devastating in itself and often the precursor to other crimes. If there had been some sort of protocol for resolving an argument between a mother and her son in Harlem last week, the outcome might well have been different, and the two officers who were killed might never have met. of gunshots.
Liz Glazer, a former federal prosecutor who led Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office for criminal justice for several years, said she believes the way forward lies in a “robust prevention infrastructure” that includes meaningful improvements. social housing and conditions that aggravate frustration and despair. . “The problem with Adams’ plan is that he does both,” she said. She was encouraged that the plan takes prevention into account, but was cautious about the department’s history of zealous intervention. “The question is, which way will this go? »
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