NYC Mayor to bring back gun crime unit following spate of shootings

AP Photo/Brittainy Newman

Last week in Manhattan, two police officers were shot, one of them fatally with the other being sent to the hospital’s intensive care unit. That officer lost his battle and died today. These were far from the first shooting victims in the city in only the first few weeks of the new year, but the brutality of the slaying left many people shocked. That incident was one of the things that newly installed Mayor Eric Adams cited when he pleaded with the citizens of New York to help the police get the violence under control. Going further, Adams announced that he wouldn’t be waiting for someone else to take action, but would begin the process he promised to deliver on the campaign trail. To the great disappointment of progressives and the city’s Black Lives Matter chapter, Adams stated his intention to restart the plainclothes anti-crime task force that was eliminated by former Mayor Bill de Blasio and to do so “right now.” (National Review)

Following the fatal shooting of a police officer in Manhattan last week, Mayor Eric Adams on Monday unveiled his new strategy to combat rising gun violence in New York City, starting with the deployment of an anti-gun crime unit next month.

“We will not surrender our city to the violent few,” Adams said.

The city will launch a reinvented version of the plainclothes anti-crime unit, which was disbanded amid the civil unrest prompted by the murder of George Floyd, to emphasize fostering community trust in law enforcement rather than the aggressive crime-fighting tactics that had provoked protest from Black Lives Matter.

In what will probably be seen as a nod to the progressive portion of the Democratic base, the new units will be named “the Neighborhood Safety Teams.” Additionally, the problem of the mentally ill homeless, such as the person who pushed an elderly Asian woman to her death on the subway tracks will be addressed. Mental health professionals will be dispatched down into the subways in cooperation with transit police to try to identify potentially violent people and intervene before they can do more harm.

This isn’t going to make everyone happy. Keep in mind that shortly after he was elected, Adams suggested that he would bring these specialized crime units back into operation. City leaders from Black Lives Matter immediately responded by saying that there would be “riots, fire, and bloodshed” if Adams attempted to do that.

So could this plan actually work? In an editorial for the Post, Bob McManus points out that Adams’ plan contains a number of flaws and sops to the progressive left, but it would still make a difference for the better. He notes that the plan included provisions to address “social concerns related to crime” and other leftist tropes. But the parts that actually address gang violence and gun violence may lead to more cooperation with the police by the public.

So now we are hearing the first faint hints of a return to common-sense law enforcement — an acknowledgment that it’s time to get actual criminals off the street. Or, to quote Adams speaking from City Hall yesterday, “We’re going to [target] the trigger-pullers.”

To that end, he promised that the NYPD’s hugely successful anti-crime patrols — dissolved by Bill de Blasio — will be reinstated. And that they’ll be deployed to 30 violence-wracked police precincts within three weeks.

Strong words and a promise of swift action, just 24 days into a new administration. This is a hopeful combination.

I remain hopeful that Adams will be able to succeed, but it seems obvious that he’s going to run into some situations where some “tough love” will be required. If he allows the NYPD to start cracking down on the gangs and getting illegal guns off the streets, what will he do if BLM makes good on its promises and begins rioting and burning down the city yet again? Will the NYPD be instructed to largely stand back while reporters describe the activity as “mostly peaceful protesting?” Or will they start filling up the police wagons with looters and arsonists and put them behind bars for more than a few hours? To do so would require some political backbone that’s been missing for a very long time. Let’s hope Adams has the right stuff.