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Transcript: Mayor Adams Appears On ABC’s “GMA3”

April 2, 2024

Eva Pilgrim: Welcome back to GMA3. A number of high‑profile crimes have added to concerns about subway safety here in New York, making some New Yorkers second guess riding what the mayor calls the lifeblood of our city. According to the NYPD, despite a January surge, transit crime is actually down slightly year to date versus 2023. 

DeMarco Morgan: And joining us now is the mayor of New York City, Mayor Eric Adams. Always good to see you, and thanks for coming on. 

Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thank you. 

Morgan: So, before we talk about the subway crime, let's talk about these, you know, accusations and allegations that women have been punched across the city, several places across the city, claim it on TikTok and now there have been, what, two arrests? 

Mayor Adams: Yes. Yes. Despicable. You know, they better hope that I'm not out on the street when I see that takes place. It's unbelievable that you see the corrosiveness of TikTok not only forteaching people how to steal cars, how to ride on top of subway stations' trains. But just this pervasive, negative, anti‑social behavior. And for a woman to walk the street, I have two sisters, it's unacceptable to be punched in that manner. 

Now, this version of TikTok is not displayed in China. China, which puts out TikTok, you can't have this in their country. That is why we're going after social media companies. 

Morgan: So, we do see these incidents happening on video. 

Mayor Adams: Well, we've seen a few in the city, but one is too many. We see this trending when someone sees something on TikTok, Instagram or one of these social media platforms, they duplicate this behavior and there's a real correlation between the negative actions and what people are seeing trending on social media. 

Pilgrim: Let's talk about what's going on in the subways, because that's something a lot of people around here are talking about. People just don't feel safe riding the subways. subway anymore. What's going on there? 

Mayor Adams: Our subway system, when you look at the number of riders we have, 4.1 million a day, six felony crimes a day. We're going after those six. But our problem, severe mental health illness. 

We have three major problems; one, recidivism: 38 people who assaulted transit workers were arrested 1,100 times. 547 people arrested for shoplifting were arrested 7,600 times. Then we have these random acts of violence; and lastly, the real issue is severe mental health illness in this city. 

Morgan: So, what is the city doing when it comes to mental health illness and also firearms in the subway? 

Mayor Adams: Well, number one, you know, there's not a one magic bullet— excuse the pun— to fix these problems. You have to have a combined effort: the technology that we rolled out that can detect guns. You know, this is real technology that could detect if someone is carrying a gun. 

Putting our officers where they need to be, to make sure we use the stats to determine where are we dealing with gun issues in the above ground so we could focus below ground. And then, having officers change this mindset of actually patrolling. 

I was a former transit cop, and you have to move throughout the system, not be stationary, not just looking at your phones. This is about engaging the passengers, letting passengers feel good again. 

Now, when it comes down to mental health, severe mental health illness, we [had] a real bill up in Albany. Remember back when I was talking about involuntary removal? People who are dealing with severe mental health illness, not just you're depressed one day, but severe mental health illness. You can see it. They don't know that they're in danger to themselves. 

When I visited people in tents and in shelters and in encampments, I saw human waste, stale food, drug‑powered paraphernalia, people were schizophrenia, bipolar. They were in harm to themselves. 

And so whoever embraced the belief that people should be allowed to live on the street that way, I don't. And that's why you don't see any encampments in our city. You don't see these large tents like you see in other cities, because I refuse to accept that in the City of New York. 

Pilgrim: New York City police officer Jonathan Diller was killed in the line of duty. I want to talk about him. You spoke at his funeral. I mean, that death has really rattled a lot of people here. 

Mayor Adams: It has. It has. And you know, when I became mayor, I started with the commissioner, former commissioner at the time and the chief of patrol and now deputy commissioner of operation, we started a unit called CRT. And they had the joke, the name of called the khaki boys because they would wear khaki pants. And they went out to dangerous people. He was one of them. 

And you know, when I was in the hospital room seeing his family and the doctors were massaging his heart, we were all hoping that we would not lose this 31‑year‑old young man with a beautiful child, beautiful baby. And it just humanized us, and it's just so raw what these officers are feeling. 

This was a bad guy, 20 arrests. His accomplice in the car was just arrested in April for a gun crime. We have this revolving door. Everyone wants to protect people who commit crimes, we need to protect people who are the victims of these crimes that are committed. 

Pilgrim: Mayor Eric Adams, it's always so good to have you here. 

Mayor Adams: Thank you, good to see you. 

Morgan: Thank you. 

Pilgrim: Thank you.

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