Mayor Eric Adams reflected Thursday evening on a day spent alongside the President of the United States, and the plan to tackle gun violence.
Around the same time President Joe Biden was being driven to JFK Airport after a late afternoon visit to P.S. 111 in Queens, Mayor Adams returned to City Hall in order to discuss the historic visit and the way in which the president outlined efforts to help stop rampant gun violence in the Five Boroughs.
According to Adams, he urged the president to meet with local community groups who use proactive methods in order to prevent youth from ever picking up a firearm to begin with. The mayor ushered Biden to Long Island City where he spent time alongside advocates who have dedicated their lives to ending bloodshed in their neighborhood of Queensbridge Houses.
“I’m sure he was truly impressed by what he saw out in Queensbridge. The number of shootings that have dropped substantially, based on the work K. Bain is doing. I wish I had him for the whole day, because I would have taken him out to East New York,” Adams said.
Adams explained that he is looking to build a partnership between crisis management teams to work in conjunction with the NYPD so that heavy law enforcement presence will no longer be needed in hard hit communities.
The mayor has work to do to bridge a historical divide between city agencies and the police department; however, he says going forward he will be looking to pool all resources to ensure change is made. The mayor also stressed that officers will not be pulled from dangerous areas overnight, but instead will make a gradual progression as they become safer.
Adams also said that the president pledged to offer more federal funding in order to help battle the rising crime, and the mayor said he was particularly grateful.
“He was dealing, earlier this morning, with terrorism overseas. But he came to New York to deal with the terror that many people are experiencing right here in the city and come up with real ways and solutions,” Adams said.
Comparing a new antigun-crime strategy to a level of cooperation not seen since the 9-11 terror attacks, he also admonished those for making assumptions about his gun blueprint. For those concerned about an increase in police brutality as officers attempt to tackle the gun pandemic, Adams declared that the anti-gun task force will not be wearing plain clothes but modified police uniforms and will be highly vetted. He believes there doesn’t have to be a choice between fearing officers or fearing crime.
“They [New Yorkers] don’t want to be disrespected in policing. But they also don’t want to feel the abuse of violence. That’s what they’re saying. And they don’t have to live with either or, and that’s what I am saying as their mayor. We’re not going to tell you that you have to be heavy handed in policing in order to be safe,” Adams said. “We need to rebuild that confidence, people are going to regain their trust, and we’re going to build a different relationship with the police department.”
The mayor also spoke on the importance of dealing with poverty and education, something he feels is a contributing factor in crime, as well as stopping the flow of guns from outside of the city via greyhound buses.
“I stand shoulder to shoulder with the President, calling on this 911 type response to deal with violence in our city and making sure that this could be a safe place and a model we could move throughout the entire country,” Adams said.
Ex-Brit turned Manhattan resident since 2008.