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Transcript: Mayor Adams Makes Public Safety-Related Announcement With NYPD Commissioner Caban

April 3, 2024

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Deputy Commissioner Tarik Sheppard, Public Information, Police Department: All right. Good afternoon, everybody. While we wait for everybody to take their seats, just want to thank everybody for coming. This is our quarterly crime briefing. First one of the year.

You're going to first hear from the mayor, then the police commissioner, then the chief of crime control strategies. We'll take some on‑topic Q&A; and then after that, we'll reset and we'll do our off-topic. All right?

You'll get a quick briefing from Chief Chell before we do the off topics on the incident in 52, then we'll take the off topics. All right? Thank you.

Mayor Eric Adams: Thanks so much, Deputy Commissioner Sheppard. And thank all of you for being here. And again, we want to just really thank the men and women of the New York City Police Department and just really send out a thought, a positive thought, to the family members of Jonathan.

As you know, we buried Jonathan on Saturday and the entire department and the city are still dealing with the impact of losing a young officer, a dad, a husband. We want to continue to lift his family up with prayer as they go through a very difficult time.

I think that we all know that I say over and over again, we came into the office, this administration focused on three things: public safety, revitalizing our economy and making the city more livable for working class people of this city.

And we're going to continue to accomplish that. And I coined the phrase that public safety is a prerequisite to our prosperity, and we see it every day and we hear it every day from the public.
A few days ago we went through our subway system, Chief Chell, Deputy Commissioner Daughtry and Deputy Commissioner Sheppard, to communicate with everyday New Yorkers. And I said at the briefing, there's a stark difference in the subway system from what I saw January 1st, 2022.

Encampments are gone. Even those who have been sleeping along the tracks and in the system, you do not see that presence. We have more to do, a lot more to do, but we are clearly moving in the right direction.

And this city is going to continue to rebound and today is a real indicator of that. And we are very clear, not only with all of my deputy mayors, but this police department. We know the biggest challenge that we are facing, I say over and over again, it's three areas: recidivism, recidivism, recidivism.

There are too many bad people who are doing bad things to good people of this city and they believe they have the right to do that. A small number of people are committing a large number of crimes.
The second is severe mental health illness. We're seeing it on our streets, we're seeing a correlation between some of the actions that are taking place and how it's impacting those who need assistance. And we're hoping our partners and colleagues in Albany would assist us with giving us the teeth we need in Kendra's Law and other actions.

And lastly, these random acts of violence. They're clear. When I left Officer Jonathan's funeral and traveled up to the Bronx where a 2‑year‑old baby was shot the day before their birthday. These random acts of violence get in the way of the good work we're doing. It sends a signal that this is a city that's out of control; and facts, the numbers show it is not out of control.

This is the safest big city in America, and the numbers reflect that, and the movement of the police department continues to reflect that. And sometimes I feel that, you know, some people are disappointed that this is the safest big city in America because it can't drive headlines. We're the safest big city in America and we continue to become safer and safer every day.

It's clear to us that while we are dedicated to protecting the people of this city, we're going to continue to focus on those dangerous individuals who are committing far too many crimes. And today I'm proud to announce that overall crime continues to trend downward in New York City and is down year to date.

Homicides are down double digits this year. Shootings are down double digits this year. Burglaries are down double digits this year, and car thefts are down double digits this year. And this is a big deal and these are big numbers that we're looking at, particularly when you look at car thefts, it’s a problem that cities are wrestling with across the entire country.

You'll see here in New York, what we are doing is working. The work of Commissioner Caban, the incredible leadership team you see here today, Chief Maddrey, Chief Chell, Deputy Commissioner Daughtry are really focused on going after those crime problems and bringing these numbers down.

And murders were down over 17 percent through the first quarter of 2024. Shooting incidents were down 26 percent in March and nearly 19 percent for the first quarter of this year. And we know that coming out of the pandemic that car theft skyrocketed, particularly driven by what we were seeing on social media, Kias and Hyundais and Hondas. Those numbers have shown real improvement.

We took action. Commissioner Caban met with the team and stated, we need to revitalize and reshake up how we dealt with car thefts. I remember being briefed by Deputy Commissioner Daughtry on how there was a lack of connectivity of going after car thefts and making sure we focus on them.

And not a one‑dimensional approach, everything from using AirTags to going after the areas where cars were dumped. We saw a comprehensive approach to addressing the problem and the results are decisive. The comprehensive plan to combat car thefts we announced this past fall that has deployed more offices and embraced new technology has delivered great results.

We now have a dedicated patrol car in each precinct that is working to identify stolen vehicles 24/7. We have enhanced training for patrol officers, and we are also working on the DMV to notify owners of specific vehicle makes and models that are being targeted for cars. You are seeing a collaboration that has never been witnessed before with other agencies on city and state level.

We identified that the Kias, Hyundais, Hondas were victims of thefts. We went to the Department of Motor Vehicles and became proactive to inform people that your car is one of the number one target areas. We looked at the areas where the cars were being stolen from, did those communications and told them what are ways to protect a huge investment as a car investment. And the results have been clear. And following our efforts, car thefts will continue to go down and we're going to continue to lean to this area. First quarter of this year, cars theft — GLAs, as we call it — they were down 10 percent.

And this is not the only transportation crime that is moving in the right direction, after we surged more than a thousand additional officers. Commissioner Caban spoke with me in January and stated, I see a problem in our subway system. We need to respond immediately. And that's exactly what the commissioner did. We spoke with our OMB director. We surged a thousand additional offices in the subway system in February and the results were produced right away.

We introduced technology in the subway system like cameras and data‑driven officers deployment, and we are going to continue to do that to make sure that there's a holistic approach to solving these problems. There isn't a one size fits all.

If we do this just by surging police officers, we're not going to get the results we need. We're going to surge police officers; we're going to use technology and we're going to call on the other parts of the criminal justice system.

Public safety is not just police. Public safety means the right laws, the right judges, the right prosecutions and the right education to the public as they move through the system.
Transit crime was down 15 percent in February after we made that movement and an additional 800 cops being used correctly. And as we leave the month of March, we may have entered March as a lion, but we're going out as a dove. We're down 24 percent in March.

We're down in crime in the subway system, folks, for the first quarter. We're down. We're down 24 percent in March. We're down in February. Can we please stop saying we're up in crime in our subway system? We are not. We're down in crime in the subway system. Bringing transit crime down overall for the year in 2024, that's what we've done this quarter.

And let me repeat this again, transit crime is down. Our public transit system, especially our subway system, is the lifeblood of our city. I said it over and over again, and New Yorkers are safe on our subway system.

I'm down there talking to the passengers, communicating with them, and many of them keep saying over and over again as we move through the subway system, they say to me, Eric, can people stop saying we're unsafe down here? It's the best subway system on the globe and we're the safest on the globe.

It's an ongoing effort. We have a lot to do. We're not turning back. We're not going to take our feet off the gas. We know that we want to continue. We want to get rid of those six violent felonies on our subway system and focus on passengers having a great experience in our system.

And I'm really proud to introduce this technology that I called about in January of 2022 of identifying guns that people carry on our system. We called for it, we're doing it. Many of you ask me over and over again, Eric, when are you going to come up with this technology? We came up with it and what happened? You all started complaining about it. I mean, you can't win for losing.

This is great technology and we're going to iron out the kinks. If we don't get it right the first time, let's say they have a 70 percent hit ratio, that's 70 percent we don't have.

This is great technology. This city is leading the way in introducing technology on how to make this city safer, and we're going to keep doing it. That's our goal and that's what we're going to accomplish.

And so I want to thank, again, the men and women of the New York City Police Department for placing their lives on the line every day, running towards danger, making sure the city is safe, risking their lives for New Yorkers.

And that was a constant reminder that we saw when we looked at Stephanie and her family as they buried her husband and a father, and today's numbers are a reflection of that. You know, the most profound thing that I saw when I looked at that tape when Jonathan was killed, and I heard him say, I'm shot, I'm shot. He knew he was shot, and he still wrestled the gun out of the shooter's hand. He still was on the ground fighting, although he was shot.

These are the men and women who protect the city, and we owe them a debt of gratitude and we should rethink that all the time. This is not about politics, it's about public safety. And what this team has done all day, all night, producing the product and making sure the product keeps our city safe.

And I got their backs and I'm going to fight hard for them. I don't want to go through another funeral where we lost a police officer or we lost a member of this city. It hurts a lot. It hurts a lot. I want to thank you, Commissioner, and the men and women who are up here serving our city. Turn it over to the police commissioner.

Police Commissioner Edward Caban: So, thank you very much, Mr. Mayor; and as always, thank you for support. On behalf of the men and women of the New York City Police Department, we know you are always here for us and appreciate that.

And good afternoon, everyone. On behalf of the executive team and the entire New York City Police Department, thank you for being here and welcome to One Police Plaza. We're here today to go over the crime data for the first quarter of 2024 and to update you on the work our officers are doing to keep New Yorkers safe.

But first, I want to thank everyone, from my law enforcement partners and elected officials, to police departments and people that showed up across this country and also for the incredible compassion and support they showed the Diller family last week.

Four days ago, 10,000 mourners came to pay their final respects for Detective First Grade Jonathan Diller. Detective Diller was murdered by a career criminal who carried an illegal firearm and thought nothing about pulling the trigger. He was murdered doing the work that we asked him to do: fighting crime, reducing violence and ridding our streets of illegal guns. And [Jonathan] was good at it.

And the men and women of the NYPD are honored to continue it in his name and in the name of all we have lost. We will never forget our solemn vow to Jonathan and to his family. We'll work hard every day to uphold his remarkable legacy.

Now turning to the data. Major felony crime is down in five or seven categories year to date, including reductions in murder, rape, burglary, grand larceny and auto theft. This work has led to a 2.4 percent drop in overall major crime for the first quarter of the year compared to last year.

Furthermore, both shooting incidents and victims continue their citywide declines in 2024, extending the downward trend we've seen over the past few years. These reductions in murder and shootings are extremely important, but we know that we still have work to do.

I've said this before and it bears repeating. The only acceptable number of shootings in our city is zero. That is the goal and the work of our sector cops. FIOs, Gun Violence Suppression Division, Detective Bureau, Community Response Teams and many others is laser focused on ending gun violence.

In the first three months of 2024, we are moving in the right direction. Three of the five New York City boroughs saw a reduction in shootings, and your officers took more than 1,500 illegal firearms off our streets and out of the hands of violent criminals.

Add this to the already incredible work that's been done since this administration began, and it's more than 15,000 guns seized. Every gun we take makes our neighborhood safer. This intensive work will continue to drive reductions in violent crime.

In recent weeks, our transit system has been in focus. As New Yorkers rightfully demand safe subway, trains, platforms and stations, we must make sure that our subways are safe and that our riders feel safe, too. So, after upticks in some crime categories at the beginning of the year, we amplified our uniform presence at turnstiles, on platforms and on train cars. We stepped up enforcement and we're exploring various new technologies to keep our riders safe.

And today, I'm happy to report that major crime in transit is down 23.5 percent for the month of March, driving an overall crime reduction of 1.1 percent for the first quarter of this year.
The turnaround happened in a very short time period, but it didn't happen by accident. It is the direct result of the hard work and unmatched dedication of your NYPD officers. There is no doubt that this work makes our city safer.

But if we're going to keep that momentum going, we have to deal directly with an issue that has troubled the criminal justice system for years, and that is widespread recidivism. Major felony arrests in our city are currently at a 25‑year high. They are up another 11.1 percent for the first three months of the year, and they've increased in every New York City borough. Arrests in housing are up 17 percent year to date, and the arrests on our transit system are up nearly 60 percent.

So, what's happening here? Of course, there are several things going on. We have seen one factor become very clear: in many cases, we are arresting the same people over and over again. When it comes to committing crime, the risk just don't outweigh the rewards and the lack of consequence makes it easy to re‑offend without a second thought.

This is incredibly frustrating to law enforcement. It's hugely unfair to law‑abiding citizens and has a negative impact on both actual and perceived public safety. This is a serious issue, and it's past time that we start taking it seriously.

New Yorkers are fed up with the revolving door. They want a system that holds people accountable for their actions and they deserve a system that is focused on the rights and needs of victims. For our part, the NYPD will continue to do everything we can to keep our community safe. We look forward to work with all of our law enforcement partners and together with the people we serve to get it done.

Now I'll turn it off to Chief Michael LiPetri, who will give some further details on the numbers. Chief.

Michael LiPetri, Chief of Crime Control Strategies, Police Department: Thank you. Good morning.
So, again, just to expand a little bit on what the police commissioner said as far as the data for the first quarter of 2024. We talked about shooting reduction; 56 less victims this year compared to the same quarter last year. But again, when you look at 2022, let's not forget, we were down 416 victims for 25 percent. So, if you look at the first quarter of 2022 compared to this quarter, 113 less victims, that's a 37 percent decrease in shooting incidents.

We talked about decreases in burglary; 500 less burglary victims, but we also know that that 500 has probably tripled or quadrupled because there's many people that live in residence or commercial locations or use a commercial vehicle. Last year, 2,000 less burglary arrests. So, again, we're building on it. So, what does that say? We could be down another 2,000 burglaries and we were already down 2,000 burglaries last year.

Let's talk about shoplifting. Shoplifting in New York City has been, you know, front and center for three years, four years now. When you look at shoplifting arrests, we talk about recidivists, and I'm going to talk about recidivism now.

7,000 shoplifting arrests in New York City, 7,000. When you look at the 7,000 arrests, we've identified 550 people that account for 44 percent of all the shoplifting arrests this year. So, that's over 3,000 just tied to 550.

Let's look at these 550 career criminals. Not shocking, arrested 23,000 times. That's a disgrace. It's a disgrace. It really is. 23,000 times. Let's look at them. 42 percent convicted felons. It's not easy to get convicted of a felony, 42 percent convicted felons.

How many people? Three quarters are walking around the streets right now and all of them are committing a shoplifting offense as we speak.

Let's look at a symbol of a broken system. Let's look at a symbol of a broken system, and I will be talking about this perpetrator, but I could talk to you about many more. This is going to be perpetrator career criminal Emmanuel Santiago. He is a convicted, violent, predicate felon for being in possession of a gun in 2014. He also has six additional misdemeanor convictions. He also has an extensive bench warrant history.

So, let's start in July of last year; and unfortunately, this is a common theme. In July of last year, Mr. Santiago, already having been convicted of carrying a gun, gets arrested for another gun. He gets indicted, indicted, arrested, another gun already having been convicted of it.

Two weeks later, he walks out the door. He had a stay for a warrant in another jurisdiction. Two weeks later, he walks out the door to start committing crimes in the Bronx, mainly the southern Bronx, mainly in and around housing developments.

So, here we go. In September, he steals a vehicle. Again, not one victim. How many people needed that vehicle to go to the school, to go to work, to go to a store? He walks out the door, no bail set. Let's keep in mind, he's already been indicted on a gun, he's already been convicted of a gun. He walks out the door. Not shockingly, he doesn't go back to court, and he bench warrants.

Well, we arrest him again, this time for dealing crack cocaine in the Bronx. He walks out the door, no bail. Again, if we're counting, this is the second felony he gets arrested for while out on an open indicted gun. He bench warrants on that, also.

On March 8th, he gets arrested for a misdemeanor. What's he doing? He's walking around the streets of the Bronx waving a box cutter, which keep that in mind, because he commits a couple more crimes just like that. He gets R.O.R.’d for that misdemeanor.

On March 13th, the NYPD arrests him multiple times, makes an arrest and he gets arrested for multiple offenses. He gets arrested for grand larceny. He's in possession of, he's in a car where he's obviously in possession of, so he gets a stolen car. So, he gets arrested for that.

He also gets arrested for breaking into an off‑duty member of the services vehicle where he takes police department property, and then he gets arrested for three burglaries, although all three of them get downgraded to petty larcenies.

So, now let's just put this in perspective. He has, right now as we stand, seven pending OCA cases. He has six other dockets, three of them felonies, four of them misdemeanors.

I just looked at this individual this morning again, and Chief Kenny's warrants squad is presently looking for this individual, because he's wanted for two other very serious crimes in the end of March where he breaks into a storage container, he's confronted by an individual and he then slashes that individual. So, he's now wanted for a felony assault and a burglary.

He also is wanted after an investigation by the squad for breaking into another vehicle, stealing property and allegedly using the credit card of that property.

So, if you can't think of a better person to show a broken system, these career criminals are leveraging the current system. The NYPD is making a 26‑year high in these types of arrests, 26‑year high. Over a thousand gun arrests for the first quarter, just like the last three years. Average those, you've got to go back 26 years to get the same average.

Career criminals, recidivists, they know about bail reform, they know about judges not giving a bail, they know about the burdensome of discovery. The system has shifted in their favor. That's what has changed.

Do you think this individual will be walking around the streets? These are not victimless crimes, these are not victimless crimes. Do you think he'd be walking around the streets before the change? No.

And small change is good, but not this change, not a change that is for the recidivists and not for the community and the police. Thank you.

Mayor Adams: Do me a favor, Chief.

Chief LiPetri: Yes, sir.

Mayor Adams: Pick up your mic. Pick it up.

Chief LiPetri: I picked it up.

Mayor Adams: And drop it. That's called drop‑the‑mic moment.

Chief LiPetri: Got it.

Deputy Commissioner Sheppard: All right, so we'll take some on‑topic questions.

Question: So, in last quarter's briefing you said that there were 700 more victims of domestic violence in 2023 versus 2022. Where do we stand now that Q1 is under our belt this year?

Mayor Adams: I'm sorry, I can't hear. What was the question?


Okay. Okay.

Chief LiPetri: Yes. So, we do see still another increase in our domestic violence incidents. Not as substantial as last year. It is something that, you know, there is no other agency that is more proactive in trying to prevent domestic violence. You know, we have a whole domestic violence team that falls under the chief of department.

Every single CompStat we talk about victims of domestic violence and what, you know, we could do to prevent; and ultimately, if not, bring a good case to the DA's office.

And there are many, many programs, you know, that the NYPD are front and center involved with: Safe Horizon; obviously, criminal justice centers across the city. But yes, we do still see an uptick in domestic violence and we are obviously front and center and concerned about it.

Question: Do you have the year to date numbers or Q1 versus Q1 last...

Chief LiPetri: So, I do. Sorry.

Mayor Adams: We'll get back to it.

Chief LiPetri: Yes, I mean, it's up, it's up five percent, approximately 100 victims, 90 victims. And again, we see upticks in the assaults, both the misdemeanor and the felony.

Question: Thank you.

Chief LiPetri: You're welcome. 

Question: Yes. Hi, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Question: Good. For you. Thank you. Okay.

You've often talked about the six felonies in the subway, and the other day you said people don't want to hear that there's just six felonies in the subway.

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Question: There's a lot of, you know, fighting, disorder, you know, people throwing food, people getting into it. Is that quantifiable, and how do you attack that? You know, we're talking about data here. How do you quantify that and how do you attack that disorder in the subway? Because people are very bothered by that.

Mayor Adams: And it is, and we saw when we were on the system two nights ago, this guy was on, I don't know if that was a pit bull, what kind of dog was that?

John Chell, Chief of Patrol, Police Department: A pit bull.

Mayor Adams: It was a pit bull?

Chief Chell:    Bull Mastiff.

Mayor Adams: Yeah, you know, this huge dog. I walked around the corner and I was scared as hell. I was like what the hell are you doing here with this dog?

And so what we've witnessed over the years is just an erosion of just the proper etiquette to ride our subway system. And that erosion has just continued and continued and it became an anything that goes system, and now we're taking this corrective action of what is expected.

We were at 125th Street and Lexington Avenue. Uniform officers were there, we were all standing there, and you would have, the guy, people were walking through the gate or attempting to walk through the gate so frequently, and one guy told us, well, this transit is free, it has been free for weeks.

No one was taking the initiative of saying, this is the expected behavior on our system; we are now taking that initiative. We had officers that were there, that were correcting the behavior. We were not correcting behavior on our system, and people just tended to believe that everything goes, you know?

Question: So, does a police officer go up to the guy with the dog and say, like, you have to leave? Like what do you do?

Mayor Adams: Yes, that's what we're doing. We're no longer being this passive, let's just sit back and just whatever happens, we don't feel we can take actions anymore. Remember, the person who carried the gun, that shooting that we saw on the A train, he didn't pay his fare.

We're finding over and over. Bill Bratton had this right when he first took over the transit police. He said the person that you allow to not pay their fare, they're going into the system to commit a crime. And we moved away from that.

And now you're seeing officers being extremely proactive, those quality of life issues. You're not going to do things that offend the other passengers and make the passengers feel as though the system is not safe. And that is where we're at right now.

Now, people sometimes push back and say, well, you're being heavy handed. We're not being heavy handed. We're saying here's the expectation. And I push back on anyone who tells us that the public does not feel comfortable when they see a uniformed officer.

I don't even know where that logic comes from. You know, you're on the train at 2:00 a.m. in the morning and that officer's standing next to you in that car, that's comfort. Your child rides that subway and that officer's there, that's comfort.

So, that numerical minority with that voice that people feel police should not be on the subway system, that is not what every day New Yorkers feel.

Question: Hi, mayor, police commissioner.

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Question: Good. How are you?

So, I know we've heard from you, mayor, in the past about recidivists, but hoping to hear from the police commissioner about what would you like to see on both the city and state level when it comes to recidivists and in order to tackle and keep them locked up?

And then also, according to the Police Department's rolling report there was a historic surge in assaults in 2023 which neared 28,000 for the first time in the city's publicly recorded history. So, hoping to get your comment on that as well. Thank you.

Commissioner Caban: As far as your first question, I would like to, there's a lot of tentacles in the public safety ecosystem. And our Chief Chell said it numerous times: when we're all working together, it works right.

And you see that the numbers driving down crime, but once again, it has to work out right. Chief LiPetri gave an example of someone who shouldn't be out, who's out committing crimes over and over again. That has to stop.

Question: So, what specific proposals? What would you propose to Albany in order to keep that from happening?

Commissioner Caban: Obviously, we'll let the lawmakers do the laws. I'm going to concentrate on making sure our city is safe. That's my job, and that's what I'm going to continue to do.

Mayor Adams: Right. Right. And I think that, I think that's what people get mixed up. When we think public safety, we only think police. We only think that Commissioner Caban, you know, the numbers are showing the historical high in arrest of violent felons.

Then he turns it over to us, us being the City Hall, the lawmakers, and he's saying, Eric, here's what's driving the crime. They brought it to my attention. We have a recidivism problem. And so if we just focus our lawmakers, focus on how do we deal with those repeated offenders. That's what we should be looking at.

We have to focus on two areas that will totally change the city: focus on those with severe mental health issues so that we can do involuntary removals and the wraparound service that they deserve.

There's nothing bad with taking someone off the street that does not realize they should not be on the street. That's humane.

And the second is looking at our laws that are causing these repeated offenders to walk through, come through the system. And lastly, you can't legislate judges stating this person should not be on the street. What Chief LiPetri just raised, you're arrested with a gun in July, we're not even a year and you're back out to the point that you slash someone with a razor.

So, the other parts of the criminal justice system, they must play their role. The judges must play their role. Our prosecutors must prosecute, and we can't inundate prosecute with paperwork, they need to be prosecuted, which they want to do. All of my DAs would like to do that.

And so we're hoping our lawmakers look at the recidivism part of this. That is the focus that we want, we think, are important. Recidivism, people with severe mental health issues, that will really assist this police department in bringing down the problems we're facing. 

Question: For either the mayor or the police commissioner, I think by every indicator you've talked about today, particularly for the subways, crime is down, the frequency of crime, be it 100,000 riders, a million riders, is really small in terms of the frequency.

But do you agree that the impact of crime on subway, where you're in a, subway car, you're a rider, in a confined metal space with a whacko with gun or a knife fighting is something that really is somewhat indelible for the riders and probably very hard for you to overcome in terms of perception?

Mayor Adams: Well, first of all, it becomes challenging when someone writes a story saying homicides are up 150 percent. That's a problem. You know? It becomes a problem when you have these issues where someone is shoved to the tracks because we're not able to use the tools we need to get that person the help that they need.

And so we're clear. When we speak to passengers on the system and we engage with them, they're very clear. Stop these random fare beaters that are just hopping this turnstile while I'm swiping my MetroCard. Deal with people who are dealing with severe mental health issues that we're seeing yelling on the subway station, screaming, doing things that make us feel unsafe, and going after these violent offenders.

Passengers are knowing exactly what they want, and we are in alignment with the passengers. And let's see our police. They want to see their police. They want to see them walk up and down down the train station. I've never heard one passenger say, I don't want to see police. Never.

And so that is what we have to do to deal with how people are feeling, because you have to feel safe and you have to be safe. We are winning on being safe, now we have to win on feeling safe.

Question: Good afternoon, Mayor Adams.

Mayor Adams: How are you?

Question: Gentlemen. Good afternoon. So, we're hearing a common thread, obviously, about the subway. Can you hear me? Yes, okay.

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Question: It's a perception versus reality. I think Juliet Papa got to it and so did the gentleman from the newspaper. And you've addressed what is being done on a nuanced level to address the disorderly conduct. But overall, this is a perception versus reality problem.

It is a perception versus reality problem, not just with the major crimes, but just with all the random videos that are online. And I think also it may be part of the fact that this has actually been happening in the subway for decades, but people are seeing it now.

Mayor Adams: Yes.

Question: Right? So, is it realistic? How realistic is it? And what else can be done to fight that perception because it's still there, despite it, you know, the subway crime being down, the largest biggest city with, you know, the safest large big city.

But the perception is still there. And that seems like it's going to be the hardest thing to target. Is it unrealistic to think that the city can actually bring that perception down? Because that is the perception, right?

Mayor Adams: No, well said. And I think you hit it out of the park. And if we go back to, I don't know if it was March of 2022, I committed the cardinal sin and said, perception is playing into this. You know, everyone blasted me, oh, you're out of touch, it's not reality. 

I said it back then, I always knew from the days of being a transit cop that perception can override this. So, these guys can bring crime down to zero, but if you don't feel safe because you see this disorder going on, then you're going to say that, hey, we're not safe.

And so what we are doing, what this team is doing, is making sure our officers are visible. When we hear from the riders and we say, what makes you feel unsafe? They say, we want to see our police officers.

We want to go after those quality of life issues that, they have been ignored. You know, you should come up to 125th Street and Lexington Avenue and watch what was going on there. People were just saying, we don't have to pay the fare. We can do whatever we want.

And now these officers are trying to, they're changing the course of what is expected behavior on our transit system and really what's expected behavior in our city. That's what we are at right now. What's the expected behavior.

And that's why I keep saying, recidivism, severe mental health, random acts of violence. And those random actions that we're seeing on our system is playing on exactly what you're saying. So, we know that if we have a clean, safe system, if we deal with the severe mental health, that's what our SCOUT initiative is important because we have to engage them, get them off the system and give them the care that they need.

And then we have to go after, with Commissioner Caban and Chief of Transit Kemper's doing, we're saying to our officers the days of walking passed disorder, those days are over. We are not, we are going to correct conditions and we're going to correct behavior. 

So, if you, it used to be if you're on patrol and you see someone laying on the platform, soiled clothings, yelling and screaming, officers did not want to engage them, because if they engage them, someone takes a picture of them engaging them, then they're blamed for doing something wrong, then everybody turns their backs on them.

I'm not. I'm sending you out there, I'm your general. I'm sending you out to fight a battle and I'm going to be with you when you fight that battle, because everyday New Yorkers want that cop to correct that condition. Our cops were afraid to correct conditions because it created conditions that they became scrutinized from what they did.

Chief Michael Kemper, Transit, Police Department: If I can just jump in just to drive this point home what the mayor said. And our cops are doing tremendous work. We are engaging these acts of lawlessness in the subway system, our cops, every single day.

Let me give you some data and maybe give you an understanding of just how focused and how dedicated our cops are, and I'm talking about just the first three months of this year. Over 4,800 arrests in the subway system. It's up 53 percent versus last year.

Now these acts, these lower level, if you will, acts, disorderly acts that weigh heavily on our riders' minds, which I believe is what we're talking about, whether it's fair evasion, smoking, disorderly behavior. We document them on Tab summonses and C summonses. Tab summonses, 48,770 so far this year in the subway system. C summonses, 1,666 so far this year.

Fare evasion, our focus on fare evasion. I hear this all the time, you've got to stop the fare evaders. Over 34,000 fare evasion contacts already this year. What do I mean when I say fare evasion contact? That's either an arrest or a summons for fare evasion.

So, we are focused; and again to the mayors point, we are engaging these acts of lawlessness at or near historic highs in the subway system and we're going to continue that way.

Mayor Adams: And we don't, hold on, hold on, hold on. And you know, this is very important, what the chief's saying. Your question is just so important. We're not going to always have to do this. We're not going to always have to do the fare evasion, the quality of life. We're not going to have to always do this.

We're going back to '84 when I was a rookie transit cop. Commissioner Bratton understood we have to stabilize the system because we came from an era when no one thought our system could be safe, and so the bad people, the bad guys, would just do whatever they want.

So, we're at the place of stabilization. Once we send a message out you cannot enter the system, just jumping the turnstile anymore, people are going to respect that and they're going to stop doing it. You cannot come into the system and just be a slash worker where you cut people's pockets and take their items. There were, people felt as though there were no rules.

And so what we're doing right now, we don't want to have to do tab summonses, we don't want to have to do arrest for fare evasion. We need to stabilize the system and say the days of ignoring your fellow passengers are over. The days of disrespecting people who are riding the system, those days are over.

That's what we're doing; and once we do that, then we no longer have to worry about these problems that we're facing. You know, we walked into a place where no one was prosecuting fare evasions, no one was making, officers were saying, well, why am I arresting this person when they're not going to be prosecuted, and it's the repeated offenders.

And so even the businessman started to say, wait a minute, this person is not paying his fare. Why am I paying my fare? It became a pandemic of disorder that we are now correcting the sins of the past. And you're seeing a difference. And people are now realizing and officers are now realizing, we are no longer going to allow anything to go in our system.

And let me tell you something. It blows my mind that you have this small, loud, numerical majority that are saying that you should allow this to happen. You know, if you stop shoplifters, you are criminalizing shoplifters. If you tell people they can't do fare evasion, that you are hurting the poor.

No, the poor are swiping that MetroCard. You know? We have allowed philosophical, theoretical people to get in the way of the real life of keeping our city safe. And we're not going to succumb to that.
This city is going to be safe as it is, and we're going to respect working class people that are doing the right thing. Ms. Jones going to Duane Reade, she pays for her shampoo. She doesn't snatch and walk out and attack the person who stops her.

Mr. Harry, who's a messenger, he swipes his MetroCard. And he's angry as hell that this guy has a suit and tie on and jumps the turnstile when he's paying. And that's what we hear. They say, this can't be happening. 

Question: Hey, guys. How are you doing?

Mayor Adams: How's it going?

Question: Good, good.

Mayor Adams: Just a couple different things. When you mentioned that there were 550 for shoplifting, is there a big number that encompasses all seven major felonies; and of that number, what role does mental health play?

And secondly, the New York Post had a story that talked about how felonies had, there was some internal document where felony assaults were supposed to be worse last year than they were this year. Is there any comment you guys have about that?

Chief LiPetri: The second question, I don't understand...

Question: There was a story that the Post did earlier today talking about how some statistics that were finalized I guess in Q1 that were applied to 2023?

Chief LiPetri: This is how I'm going to explain it. So, every year the CompStat book has to close because we have to report on our uniform crime data to the FBI. Investigations continue. So, a person who might be not a victim of a crime, say a good example is lost property. Somebody lost their wallet, we document it on our complaint report. Weeks, sometimes months later, they were compromised. Their credit card was used, their checking account was tapped into. That now is a grand larceny.

Same thing as a simple assault. We go to a simple assault. We don't observe any substantial injuries, it's not articulated that there's any substantial injuries, it's a misdemeanor assault. A reinterview by the detective squad a week— not even, days later, but sometimes it could be a week later — now they went to the hospital and now they have a fractured nose. That rises to an Assault 2.

It happens every single year. Every single year we have a few hundred complaints that rise and we also have a few that go down. So, it's nothing but that.

Deputy Commissioner Sheppard: I know we had still had a few hands in the air, so why don't we take a couple more on crime?

Question: Thank you. I'm just curious on the subway issue. You're throwing out stats, but I wonder how many, do you have an assessment of how underreported and not reported crimes are? You talk about officers not always affecting the stops regarding turnstile jumpers.

I myself have seen incidents where people don't bother reporting incidents and it just seems too many riders in car after car, station after station, events are happening and perhaps they're just not being reported at the same rate because it seems nothing is really done about it.

Chief Kemper: What kind of? Fare evasion is still happening, you're saying, or.?

Question: You can go down the litany...

Chief Kemper: Well...

Question: ...of what I personally witness and many others in this room.

Chief Kemper: Well, let's have an honest conversation: we can't be at every fare gate and stop every fare evader. We can try. And again, let's have another fare conversation. And we're talking about this every single day, and I don't see a response from anyone in this room.

We are arresting people every single day over and over and over again. Is that clear? Do you, does everyone hear what I'm saying? Where are the consequences? We could have so many less arrests and so much less effort and such a safer subway system if there were consequences.

You've got to ask these other stakeholders these questions. We're here. I'm here. I'm available every day. I'm accountable. I give you the answers. But I get the same questions every single day. Yes, I mean...

Mayor Adams: And Jonathan, to answer your question. From what I understand, you're saying that our cops are looking at crimes and not...

Question: I'm not talking about the officers, I'm talking about generally a victim [inaudible] same thing with [inaudible], just don't report shoplifting and [inaudible].

Chief Kemper: So, we ask, listen. We respond, when they respond, we even publicly state if anyone's a victim of a crime, report it. We have cops throughout the subway system, I'm sure everyone in this room sees them, we're on platforms, we're on trains, we're in mezzanines,

If you see the cop, you could report it to the cop there. You could call 911. You can go through 311, you could walk into any precinct to report. You know, we encourage people to report anything that they see. We can't force them, but we encourage it.

Deputy Commissioner Sheppard: And John, I talked to you about this before and we talked a lot about this issue. And I know you're not saying people are losing faith in their police. They have faith in their police, but they may be losing faith in the overall system. And I think that's what Chief Kemper is saying as well, is that there are plenty of other stakeholders that we've got to spread this out and ask these questions to, because as you see, the cops are doing the work and people have faith.

And we were on the train the other day with the mayor, myself, Chief Chell, Deputy Commissioner Daughtry. People were saying to the mayor that they appreciate it, they see a difference. However, they want to see consequences for the actions that they're seeing, whether it's in the subway, the stores.

As you know, we've done retail stories together for years. And the common theme there was recidivism and no consequences. That's the same thing we're dealing with right now. Next question? 

Question: How are you doing?

Mayor Adams: What's happenin'?

Question: I was just wondering if I could get some additional color on the 7,000 shoplifting arrests that were mentioned from Q1, first confirming that number, but is there any nexus to the illegal smoke shop problem, which I know has been persistent, or is there any nexus to migrant crime, which I know the NYPD began tracking more closely some time ago after officers were assaulted. So, is there any nexus to that; if not, any more color on what those shoplifting arrests look like?

Chief LiPetri: Those shoplifting arrests encompass three categories, either a simple petty larceny, a grand larceny or a shoplift, but then becomes what the mayor touched on, violent where it then rises to a robbery. So, it's one of those three categories for approximately 7,000 arrests.

Last year, we made over 20,000 of these arrests, substantially up from the year prior. And again, when you look at the 7,000 arrests, you're talking 550 people that have done more than 3,000 of them, and almost half are convicted felons. So, you know, that's an issue.

With 75 percent of them walking around the streets, you know. There's nobody more, you know, and you know to the police commissioner, mayor, the task forces that they put in place, there's nobody more, you know on, you know, up here today that talks to retails than me.

And they are, they are struggling and they are fed up with the system. It's broken. It's broken. You want to talk about misdemeanor prosecutions? There aren't. There can't be. Check out the discovery law. They have to, you know, when you have an agency, the NYPD that's at a 26‑year high for major arrests, that's what the prosecutors have to focus on.

Unfortunately, they can't focus on the misdemeanors because of the burdensome discovery laws and the short timeframe, the short timeframe that that all has to be certified.

Question: The types of businesses, though. Is it the illegal smoke shops...

Chief LiPetri: No, illegal…

Chief Chell: All right, so let me jump in.

Chief LiPetri: Go ahead, John.

Chief Chell: Let me jump in to the smoke shops, this is the data I do have in front of me. Just for the 2,466 smoke shops we have in the city, just calls for service, of the 4,800 911 calls, 368 of the 4,600 involved some sort of larceny. As to was it an actual larceny or not, I don't know, I'm just giving you 911 calls for 2,500 stores, over 4,800 911 calls. All right?

Question: Thank you for that. Appreciate it. 

Question: Hi. My question is into the recidivism. Mayor, you had put out some priorities when it comes to Albany this year for their budget. Are you speaking that to them directly about changing some of the laws that they've put in place? What do those conversations look like?

And everybody's mentioned it here, the perception problem. You're looking to invest in those gun detector machines. Is it time to change that strategy from investing into those machines and to instead investing into some training of all the cops that are in the subway system, better training them for engagement versus taking the route of going of these gun detectors and continuing to search cops in the system.

Mayor Adams: We have engaged in repeated conversations about recidivism and we continue to do so, and it's a multi‑pronged attack. It's dealing with those recidivists who are having a disproportionate number of high number of crimes, and we continue to engage in that.

Second, part of the issue, as you look at the case that Chief LiPetri laid out, judges have some of this power right now, they have to utilize the power. How do I have someone out on a gun arrest after a gun conviction, come again, allow them to go out on their own, don't come back to court, have a bench warrant. That's, a bench warrant means you were told to come back to court and you didn't. I mean, the pattern is unclear.

So, we want to correct and modify the recidivists, but we also have to use the powers we have right now. And if we're not utilizing the powers we have right now, that's a problem. And so the judges must be part of the criminal justice system conversation. Dangerous people should not repeatedly be part of the revolving door.

And let's talk about the technology. I am blown away that we do not see how impressive it is to have something that can see in a non‑intrusive way if someone is carrying a gun. That is just beyond imagination to me, that we are saying don't use a device that can, in a non‑evasive way, determine if someone is carrying a gun on our subway system.

And we should do one or the other. If we're able to have a camera that can use this technology to determine if someone is carrying a gun, we're going to use it. If I can stop a person from carrying a gun from entering our system, that's a huge W for this city, and we're going to use it.

And training our police officers? We have the best trained police department on the globe. They are being trained. They know how to do their job. They're doing their job. Chief Kemper just raised, he just told you the level of enforcement that we're doing and how we've been successful in doing it.

So, this is not a lack of training of police officers. They knew, they know what they needed to do. They just needed a mayor that told them you can do your job. That was what was missing. They got a mayor that says, you have the right to do your job, what the public expects from you.

But we are not going back from using technology. And each time I hear somebody complain about it, I'm wondering if they're carrying a gun. Any of y'all packin'? 
You know? This is an amazing technology that I called for. We got it, and we're going to expand it. This is a great moment for our city. 

Deputy Commissioner Sheppard: Chief LiPetri, just remind us about the gun arrests and the level of gun arrests that the officers are out there recovering, last year and this first quarter.

Chief LiPetri: Yes. You know, again, well over 4,000 gun arrests last year. For the last three years, we've averaged over 4,000 gun arrests. Quick math, obviously, we're right in that same line. We have 1,000 for the first quarter, and you got, like again, you gotta go back 25 years to get numbers comparable, approximately 25 years. You gotta go back a long time, let's put it that way. All right?

So, they're grabbing pistols more than ever, and that's a very, very dangerous job, but they're very good at it.


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