New York City Mayor Eric Adams and senior leaders of the Adams administration’s public safety team on Wednesday highlighted key public safety achievements made during Adams’ first year in office.
While acknowledging that more work must be done to make all New Yorkers safe, Adams pointed to key indicators of progress, including double-digit decreases in shootings and homicides; a recent downtick in major crimes, both on the streets and in the subways; an increase in weapons found in jails; increasing fire safety training; and a reduction in pedestrian deaths; among other items.
“It’s been almost a year since I took office as mayor, and thanks to Deputy Mayor Banks, Police Commissioner [Keechant] Sewell, the multitude of commissioners in our administration focused on public safety, and all their teams, we are making our city safer every day,” said Mayor Adams. “Murders and shootings are down by double digits this year, and, more recently, major crimes are down both on the streets and in the subways.
“We’re also making great strides through all of our different public safety agencies,” he added. “We knew these changes wouldn’t happen overnight, but, every day, we continue to dam the many rivers that feed the sea of violence in our city with investments in both intervention and prevention. We’ll continue to engage New Yorkers at every level on the issue of public safety and make sure 2023 is even safer.”
During year one of the Adams administration, the New York City Police Department’s (NYPD) strategies to address gun violence have had made a significant impact, Adams said.
He said 6,985 guns have been seized citywide, and gun arrests citywide are at a 27-year high.
These seizures include 430 ghost guns, which marks a 73-percent increase compared with the same period in 2021 and is the highest number in city history, the mayor said.
He said shootings have declined by 17.5 percent, and shooting victims have decreased by 16.5 percent, which means 302 fewer people have been victims of gun violence this year as compared to last year, and that “lives have been saved, families kept intact, and neighborhoods made safer across all five boroughs.”
In February, Mayor Adams announced phase 1 of his Subway Safety Plan to reduce crime in the subway system.
In addition to efforts address transit crime, the administration said it made comprehensive investments to provide shelter to more than 3,000 New Yorkers experiencing homelessness in New York City subways.
In October, Mayor Adams and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced a surge of 1,200 additional overtime NYPD shifts in New York City subways to increase patrols on platforms and trains each day.
Adams said the NYPD alone has completed more than 1 million subway station inspections in 2022, “resulting in real progress in the transit system”, including: A 12.8-percent reduction in transit crime during the month of November; over 27,200 people removed from the system for breaking transit rules; and over 8,600 arrests in the subway system for breaking the law.
Neighborhood Safety Teams
The mayor said the Neighborhood Safety Teams employ “focused crime reduction strategies, precision policing, and enhanced supervision to effectively improve quality of life, increase trust, and reduce gun violence in New York City.”
Assigned to 30 commands and four public safety areas, Adams said the teams made more than 2,000 arrests in 2022 — including 494 gun arrests — and seized 414 guns.
Adams said the New York City Department of Correction (DOC) has made “significant progress” addressing staff shortages and investing in its workforce, upgrading jails infrastructure, and taking steps to reduce violence behind bars.
In January, the mayor said about 2,600 uniform staff were out sick. As of the end of November, DOC was averaging under 800 daily sick absences — an about 70-percent decrease, Adams said.
He said DOC staff have recovered more than 5,000 weapons and over 1,300 items of drug contraband year to date, “resulting in safer jails.”
The mayor said more weapons were recovered during the first 10 months of 2022 than in the yearly totals for each year between 2018 and 2021.
He said DOC also launched a new tablet program for people in custody, providing them with access to a variety of free programming and services, including educational services, digital law library access, e-books, and the largest expansion of free phone accessibility in DOC history.
In Fiscal Year 2023 to date, Adams said DOC has seen a decrease in slashings and stabbings by 5 percent department-wide and a 60-percent reduction at the Robert N. Davoren Center, which houses young adults.
Fire Safety and Emergency Management
In 2022, the mayor said Fire Department of the City of New York (FDNY) made a “concentrated effort” to educate New Yorkers about fire safety and enhance emergency preparedness.
He said FDNY trained more than 258,500 New Yorkers in fire safety education — including nearly 140,000 students — and held over 2,000 fire safety presentations.
Adams said the city’s “Keeping Homes Fire Safe” campaign reached over 60,000 New Yorkers with life-saving fire safety information.
He said FDNY distributed or installed more than 13,000 smoke alarms and trained more than 25,600 people in CPR training, including more than 7,000 high school students.
New York City Emergency Management (NYCEM) signed up 1 million New Yorkers for emergency alerts from Notify NYC in 13 languages and doubled the number of grassroots emergency networks that completed NYCEM’s Strengthening Community program, the mayor said.
Adams said New York City is reducing traffic violence — “bucking trends being experienced in the rest of the nation, which has seen pedestrian fatality rates reach a four-decade high.”
In partnership with New York State, he said 24/7 speed camera operations began in August 2022 “and are already having a dramatic effect — reducing speeding in camera zones by 25 percent.”
In August, Adams said cameras recorded more than 755,000 speeding violations — “a number that has continued to drop month after month, with approximately 661,000 violations in September, 586,000 in October, and 565,000 in November.”
“New York City is on pace to end this year with fewer traffic fatalities, stopping the rise in traffic fatalities that began in 2019,” he said. “Pedestrian deaths are down 7.5 percent this year, with the current total the third lowest in the city’s recorded history. Overall traffic fatalities are also down 7.6 percent from 2021.”
“We call it the ‘public safety ecosystem’ – all of the city’s public safety agencies are working together as one toward our common goal of keeping New York City safe,” said Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Philip Banks III. “Each piece of that puzzle is critical to the health of the entire system.
“While there is certainly more work to be done, the results are clear that this strategy is working,” he added. “Making sure the public feels safe and is safe remains our top priority, and we will continue to tackle public safety challenges head-on in a comprehensive way to protect New Yorkers.”
“The NYPD is confident about the future of our department, our city, and all the people we serve,” said NYPD Commissioner Sewell. “Our team is in place; we are forward-facing, innovative, and prepared for success in 2023 and beyond. This is our opportunity to work even harder to rise, meet, and overcome every challenge — because the women and men of the NYPD will never stop fighting for New Yorkers.”
“Fire safety education is critical to public safety in our city,” said FDNY Commissioner Laura Kavanagh. “Our members engage with every neighborhood, working with schools, community groups, religious leaders, elected officials, and our fellow city agencies to distribute and install smoke alarms and bring lifesaving information in multiple languages to New Yorkers. We are pleased to stand with Mayor Adams to spread the message of fire safety to all New Yorkers.”
“We are proud of the work we have done so far in the first year of the Adams administration,” said DOC Commissioner Louis A. Molina. “We are working every day to rebuild our agency from decades of neglect and create a sustainable, safer, and more humane correctional system for everyone who works and lives here. We will continue to use a commonsense approach to implement best correctional practices to ‘Get Stuff Done,’ and we thank Mayor Adams for his unwavering support and leadership.