July 31, 2023
First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright: You got to love our musical entries. Thank you. Thank you. Good morning everybody.
My name is Sheena Wright and I am the first deputy mayor of the City of New York and for the past year I have been the very proud co-chair to Mayor Adams' Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. From the very first day of this administration, the mayor has focused on keeping New Yorkers safe. And as we walked in the door in this administration, he made clear to every single leader, and you'll see so many agency leaders here and other leaders in this administration, that it was a collective responsibility. It was not just for the NYPD and other law enforcement officials, but it was for each and every one of us to make sure that that was a part of our remit in the work that we would do.
He says often, you've heard it many times, we have to go upstream. And that's what every single agency in this city and mayoral office is focused on making sure that we prevent the causes that create gun violence. Because every single person who is the victim of gun violence is one too many and every person who picks up a gun and fires it is one too many.
When he called us all together, every city agency in the city, and said: "What is your contribution going to be to ending gun violence and creating community wellbeing in the City of New York?" These agencies answered the call. He wanted us to be very focused on data and information. Precision is a word that he uses often. He made sure and really commanded us to engage with communities. This was not something that can be done by city hall alone. We had to be in partnership arm in arm with the communities that were most impacted. And we knew that in order for the plan to work, we had to address the root causes. So one year later, here we are. We've held many meetings and I'm so grateful to have had the partnership of my co-chair A.T. Mitchell, workshops with agencies and very importantly went on the ground in communities engaging over 1,500 New Yorkers, including 800 young people to really understand what we needed to do.
Today we're unveiling these recommendations as part of our blueprint for community safety. The blueprint details programs that are already preventing gun violence and maps out core strategies to strengthen them and align them even further. Everything from the work that we do for summer youth employment to our B-HEARD programs and other programs and initiatives addressing mental health. What we understood when we came together was that access to jobs, employment opportunities, how our commercial corridors are doing, the state of housing, the state of our public housing, as well as even sanitation all of these things contributed community wellbeing and community safety. And so this blueprint recognizes that all of those things have to work together. It is both a public health and a community development approach.
So this blueprint would not be possible without so many incredible partners, certainly the leaders that are here today, but also many institutional partners. We are joined here by members from John Jay, leaders in criminal justice, many CMS providers that are on the front lines doing the work every single day, Everytown for Gun Safety, which is a national organization that has been focused on this effort, as well as the United Way of New York City that has been an important partner. I'm very grateful that the team internally has been working extremely hard on these issues and we have all been led fearlessly by our mayor, Eric Adams. Mayor Adams.
Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thanks so much, Deputy Mayor, First Deputy Mayor Wright. And I just cannot say enough about the number of conversations Governor and I have had together on this issue. We started out everything from dealing with transit safety to just so many other issues and just being a real partner and AG James for just looking at everything from the types of guns, going after the gun manufacturers. Just really damning all of these rivers. I say it over and over again, there are many rivers that feed of the sea of violence. And the partners you see here today from the Attorney General, the Governor, amazing DAs in both the Bronx and Manhattan and Brooklyn, Staten Island and Queens, taking down gun crews and what they're doing, finding the right balance of how do we go after proactively dealing with the guns.
And this is something that Public Advocate Williams has talked about for years. I remember during the days of being a council person and then being a borough president, even going back as far as being a state senator talking about the many issues that impact gun violence and how do we have a proactive approach to it. But you can look at government, this is our job. Our job is to do this, but it is not A.T. Mitchell's job.
He is not elected or hired by government. And the number of days that I have responded to crime scenes shootings throughout this city, sat in hospitals, watched the men and women of the crisis management system respond. They don't have bulletproof vests, they don't have helicopters, they don't have the artillery that the law enforcement community currently possess, but they've been doing the job. A.T. you are just a symbol of the entire crisis management operation on the frontline every day and I cannot thank you enough for over almost 40 years of friendship watching you do this work in a real way, saving lives. Thank you so much for it.
And many are here, these crisis management men and women are here. And they were not new to me. I've known them for so many years and they looked towards this administration and say, "We can just hold on long enough for Eric to be the mayor because he gets it."
So our time has arrived, our time has arrived, and now we have to get something done. There's a small window of opportunity to bring the level of aggressiveness that we need, intervention and prevention. We've been doing the intervention and what was needed, and I said over and over again, public safety's a prerequisite to prosperity. Public safety and justice is a prerequisite to prosperity. It is what I campaigned on, it is what I promised and what I committed to the people of this city. And you're seeing the results. Homicides are down. Shootings are down. We are hearing on those extreme recidivist individuals through July 29 shootings in New York City have declined compared to the same period last year. And just think about this number for a moment. Since taking office, we have removed 11,000 guns off our streets, 11,000 guns. The removal of those guns, we cannot do it effectively or correctly if we didn't have the right partnership with our district attorneys, and all that they had to go through on dealing with the new changes of laws. They stood up and they still handled the cases appropriately. With the partnership of our partners in Albany, both in the Senate and Assembly and the leadership of the governor.
Our actions has contributed to New York City being the safest big city in America. Sometimes those random acts of violence like we witnessed over the weekend, it sort of takes away from the correct narrative. New York City is the safest big city in America and we need to be clear on that. And I think that we need to keep letting people know that over and over again. This is a direct result of what we're doing. We know what's work. That's why the work of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force led by Deputy Mayor Wright with all the stuff you have on your plate, Sheena, you just dug into this and delivered a qualitative product. Listen, I knew what I was doing. Job well done. Job well done.
And so we're making a historical step that I believe is going to cascade throughout the entire country. With this new Blueprint for Community Safety we're not just talking about it, we're spending about it also. We are going to allocate $481  million to this plan that would double down on public safety efforts, invest in our most impacted communities. The map is clear. You do an analysis of the map. You see high gun violence. You're also going to see high unemployment. You're going to see dropout rates high. You're going to see mental health issues high. You do an overlay in a GPS mapping system of this and you will see the same problems are isolated and concentrated in the same community. And this is what Chancellor Banks has been talking about over and over again that if we don't start really being more proactive, we are going to be in a constant perpetual cycle of being reactive. And that is not what this administration is about. We're an upstream mindset so that we could prevent people from falling in the river that we don't have to pull out of the river downstream.
We're going to activate every level of city government because it's a holistic approach and we're going to prioritize prevention based approaches to public safety. It is the result of a cross agency collaboration that brought together our teams from 20 city agencies specializing in public safety, healthcare, workforce development, education and more. The way to deal with these issues is to approach it in a holistic way and partner with our amazing former commissioner, Commissioner Sewell, and now picking up the reins of the current Commissioner Eddie Caban, we're going to continue these partnerships in a real way. And continue with our state partnerships. And again, I just want to emphasize the role that the governor and attorney general has played with our partners both in the Senate and Assembly, both those leaders, Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie and Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins. This is our way of saying this is an all hands on deck moment.
First Deputy Mayor Wright is correct. The people, everyday people sitting in the meetings having good solutions, sharing them with us, we cannot thank them enough for coming to meetings over and over again as we put this plan into place. Time and time again, community members advocated for their needs and proposed these real solutions because they know better than anyone. That ending gun violence requires more than enforcement, more than policing far much more. It requires attention and investment. That is why this blueprint is on a community development approach that focuses on preventive measures and long-term strategies. We sought out to answer a key question over and over again that we heard, “How can we stop the violence before it happens on our streets?” 18, the number of youth town halls we did across the city with young people, I was blown away. People often want to define this for young people, every town hall, two things came up over and over again. Public safety, better relationship with police and dealing with mental health. Over and over again all the town halls we did with these young people, they were more forward-thinking than anyone else. And I did not hear one town hall that they stated they wanted their school safety agents out of their schools.
So I don't know who other folks are talking for, but those young people had a relationship with their school safety agents and they wanted them in their school. They don't want to be abused. They want to be treated with this respect and dignity that they deserve. And that's what this plan is all about. We sought out answers and we got the answers. We looked at housing, employment benefit access, community vitality, trauma-informed care, how many times we hear that A.T.? Trauma-informed care over and over again. In early interventions to protect our youth our city must start intervening earlier and focus on positive youth development before it is too late. That means increased investment and support for our young people, like $22.5 million towards the Department of Youth Community Development’s Work, Learn and Grow Program that offers year round employment opportunity.
And it's about jobs. Jobs, jobs, jobs. That's why we're doing the hiring halls. But we also are investing $6.6 million for job training for our out of school and out of work youth. 18 to 24, the countless number of young people who are not in school, they're not working, they're not in training, they're doing nothing at all. Someone must throw them a lifeline and tell them there's a better road and a better opportunity and that's what we're doing. We're going to increase access to jobs training and career opportunities and the important work being done by our CMS providers and our violence interrupters who can mediate conflict before they erupt into gun violence. I see your sister out there in Harlem all the time doing this on the front line, responding to jobs.
And thanks to the funding from our partners in Albany and the philanthropic sector, we are taking these groups work to the next level, increasing wraparound service for at-risk youth. We see them, we see the profile, we know what happened, learning disabilities, mental health issues, dropped out of school, a foster care system. We know the pattern. So why are we waiting in allowing them to pick up a gun instead of giving them an opportunity and picking them up in the process. And giving providers operational support so they can worry less about paperwork and more about saving lives.
All of these require more than just investment, it requires trust. That's why we must rebuild community and police relationships from the ground up. And this is such an important role that Commissioner Mark Stewart and our Commissioner Eddie Caban is doing, what Commissioner Stewart is doing in the community affairs, he has redefined the Community Affairs Unit to build those relationships between police and community. And that relationship is not severed all over the city, some communities embrace their police because of their interactions, others fear their police. We're going to dismantle that wall and we're going to allow our community and police to work in operation. That is what this police department is doing under the leadership of Commissioner Caban and the Community Affairs Commissioner Mark Stewart. These efforts will begin with neighborhoods in Brooklyn in the 73 and the 77 Precincts and in the Bronx in the 40, 42, 44 and 47 Precincts and it would expand to other neighborhoods across the city over time. We must dam every river that leads to the sea of violence.
My blueprint, a lot of work, a lot of effort went into this document. My life's work went into this. I know the importance of this. I know what it represents to far too many. If you have never gone to a crime scene, if you have never stopped in a hospital and talked to a mother who experienced violence or a dad, if you've never really heard the cries, you cannot do this work in the bleachers. You can't be a detached spectator. You have to get on the full feel of dealing with this on the frontline. There's never been a mayor in the history of this city that brings more information in this area and have been on the frontline as much as I have. And so when I first became mayor, people were asking, "Why do you go to the crime scenes? Why do you sit in the hospital? Why do you speak?" Because if you don't have a clear understanding of what this is impacting, if you're not the DA or Darcel or Eric Gonzalez that go to these scenes and speak to the loved ones and the family members, you can't sit in the ivory tower. You can't be so detached in the sterilized environment of city hall. The dirt and grime is on the street and I see it. I saw it. And it empowered me to bring together my administration. We have to start the process of ending this violence.
I'm just blessed at this moment, the intersectionality of the governor, of the AG, of groups of DAs, of community activists, we've all come together with all of our agencies and we are going to do the best we can. Is it going to be perfect? Hell no. We're perfectly imperfect. But goddamn we're dedicated and we are going to fight this head on. Thank you.
First Deputy Mayor Wright: Thank you Mayor Adams, and as you can see that that's why we are here. We are incredibly grateful, everyone in this administration is so grateful to be in lockstep and in partnership, arm in arm with this governor who has seen this as a key priority and we're very grateful for your partnership on this effort as well. And we will continue the work in the days ahead. Governor Hochul?
Governor Kathy Hochul: Good morning. Good morning. This is what a strong, healthy, productive relationship between the State of New York and the City of New York looks like if you've not seen it much before. United together in a common cause to eradicate crime and violence and pain from communities. That is what Mayor Adams and I have talked about incessantly. It's what we wake up thinking about, we go to bed thinking about how we can roll up our sleeves and work together. To not rest on the laurels of this being not just the safest big city in America, but you also live in the safest big state in America. But that's not good enough for us, we're going to keep raising the bar because every New Yorker deserves the security of going to bed at night themselves knowing that they and their children, their loved ones are safe.
So I thank Mayor Adams for helping us redefine the relationship between two very important governments
and letting the people of know that the era of the governor and the mayor fighting each other is over. That we're going to fight for the people of New York. So thank you mayor. Thank you to an extraordinary attorney general who also understands that lessons we can take from New York City and what you're doing here, mayor, with your incredible team, can be applied throughout our state and we are committed to making sure that happens as well, Attorney General Tish James.
And I want to thank the First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright and A.T. Mitchell for dedicating the last year of your life to this, but your entire lives to this. And we'll look back on this time and say, this is when we truly began a change, that people started really believing that their leaders are committed. And I thank you for the energy behind this blueprint, I think it looks extraordinary. I've actually read it. Spent a lot of time traveling and I've read every word of it and it makes sense to look at this problem from so many different facets. It's not just a policing issue, but thank God for we have the finest police in the world right here in New York City, along with our state police. I need to say our state police as well. But thank you.
Also, our Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, we've had many conversations about the role of what a community can do to a person, whether they have a good education and decent housing, and how that can affect their outcomes in life. And I want to continue working with you, our great Public Advocate Jumaane Williams. Let's give him a round of applause.
And our district attorneys who are out there every single day, and in fact when they're not on the streets doing their work, Darcel Clark and Eric Gonzalez, they're up in Albany helping us make sure that the language of the laws are allowing you to do your jobs and that you receive the resources that you so desperately need, and we did deliver on that this year. So let's get round applause for our district attorney.
I've decided to not work independently on this issue, that I'm literally deploying my top aides to be embedded with this task force so we can get results for this city, but also that we can use for the rest of the state, and that's how we're going to do it. I also know that we have some backlogs in our courts. It happened before, but really was exacerbated by the pandemic when so many trials never happen. And as a result, you have two scenarios. One is that people are languishing in Rikers waiting for their day in court because the system is so backlogged and jammed up, and that is not justice. But also we have people who are still on the streets who need their day in court. So if necessary and justice demands, they end up behind bars. So that is why in my budget, I said, "How can we help our district attorneys and our public defenders get to the right place?” So we allocated $170 million, first time ever, record investment in both those sides of the equation to make sure that justice is truly achieved.
I also am supporting the effort with the summer youth program, the employment program, because young people don't just need a diversion, a healthy diversion and adult supervision in the summer months. They need help and engagement throughout the year. So we're allocating $24 million so you can help replicate what you do in the summer all year round. I think that's going to make a difference for our kids as well. We talk about getting guns off the street, it's extraordinary the number of guns off the streets, not just here but across the state. I was just in Buffalo talking about this on Friday. I convened my first couple months as governor, not just a statewide effort, where we literally have NYPD embedded with state police, our leaders across the state, federal partners. But I said, let's take it to the other states because we're not making the guns here. They're not made in Brooklyn, they're not made in the Bronx, they're not made in Buffalo.
They're coming in from other states. So why aren't we working with the other states, especially the enlightened nine around us and say, "We're on the same team here. Help us stop the illegal guns from coming into our streets." And that's what we're doing. And that's one of the reasons why the numbers are being dramatically changed, the number of guns off our streets. But one more area we made a big difference. The extreme risk orders of protection, the red flag laws.
After we had the massacre in my hometown of Buffalo where 10 people were slaughtered grocery shopping because of the color of their skin, we went back to Albany and we said, we need to beef up these red flag laws and literally require that when a scenario happens where someone is in danger of doing harm to themselves or to others, that we have the power of society to protect ourselves and get their guns if they own them out of their hands before they hurt a human being. And we have taken over 9,000 cases where extreme risk orders of protection that is up 600 percent from what had been happening before. That's another way we're getting more guns off the streets because I'd rather be in the business of preventing crimes than solving crimes. And that's an important strategy as part of that. So mayor, I'm also focused on two more elements of your pillars that you've identified. One is housing. I think most New Yorkers know I want more housing.
I want more affordable housing because every New Yorker deserves the dignity of a safe, decent home in a good neighborhood. And young people who grew up in a ZIP code that does not offer, that have strikes against them from the very first day. And we're going to change that. We're going to keep building. And that's how you drive down the cost of housing by adding more supply. And the last area I want to mention, mayor, because this is so important to all of our efforts here, mental health. Now people are finally talking about it because there was always a stigma associated with it. People didn't ask for help, and very few people want to go into the profession. We're changing all that. This year's [inaudible]. And I want to thank our leaders in Albany, majority leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins and Speaker Carl Heastie for teaming up with me to say, "This is an enormous problem. We cannot play small ball anymore."
We're going big. $1 billion commitment to help the whole continuum of care needed for mental health services. That's how you start changing lives. So mayor, I have a long speech here. I'm not going to deliver it because this is from the heart. Just as you are here because of the person that your profession turned you into, as someone who knows... You've seen so much on the streets and now you're in a position to do something about it, that is powerful, my friends, that is powerful. Working with our violence disruptors and putting more money from the state to help people like A.T., I've tripled the investment in programs that I know are working because I've seen it from the streets of Buffalo all the way to Brooklyn.
We're making a difference with people who are talking about their own life's experiences. They may have had time in jail, they may have been part of a gang, but they also know that they're the ones who can be the trusted voice in a community, where young people will trust them more than they're going to trust the governor, the mayor. That's how we're changing this as well. So mayor, I want to commend you and your team for your commitment, your dedication to doing what's right, what people expect, what is needed. You've always been. But I'm here to show the united front that we have the state, the city, all of our partners against crime and protecting the citizens of our streets. Thank you very much, mayor.
First Deputy Mayor Wright: Thank you so much. Governor Hochul. Our next speaker is certainly not a stranger to the city. Although she represents the entire state, we claim her as ours. And I know Brooklyn really thinks they have a hold on you, but you represent all of us and someone who, as the mayor said, of her own lived experience, she brings to the job every day as she represents us as attorney general for the State of New York, Tish James.
State Attorney General Letitia James: Thank you. So I don't need this step, but thank you deputy mayor for that kind introduction. I truly appreciate it. I want to thank the Mayor of the city of New York, the Governor of the great state of New York, A.T. Mitchell. Of course, my colleagues in law enforcement, District Attorney Eric Gonzalez and District Attorney Darcel Clark and also our police commissioner who I had the opportunity yesterday to dance with in the Bronx, Police Commissioner Caban. This is the whole of government and we want to thank the mayor of the City of New York. The deputy mayor was correct. I am no stranger to this issue. For the last 25 years, unfortunately, the Mayor and I and countless number of others who are here on the steps, we've attended too many funerals. We've held too many mothers and fathers over open caskets.
We've been to too many hospitals. We've been to too many crime scenes. We've buried too many Black and brown boys, particularly boys. The number one cause of death for Black boys is homicide, the number one cause. And I've been through a number of mayors as a former City Council member, as a former public advocate of the City of New York. I have visited and talked to a number of mayors, but I can think of no other mayor who has made this a top priority, who campaigned on this issue and someone who not only talks about it but has acted on it because we are in a state of crisis. And so I want to thank on behalf of all of the individuals that I represent, and particularly in those precincts that were mentioned, all of the individuals who have lost loved ones, all of the individuals who no longer have a son or a daughter at a dining room table. I want to thank the mayor of the City of New York, Eric Adams.
Because we know that gun violence plagues our community every single day and has taken far too many lives in this city and in upstate and in this country. But many of us standing here know painfully well that gun violence does not impact our communities equally, we know that the daily shootings and gun related deaths in New York City are mostly concentrated in a small portion of our neighborhoods. And they are disproportionately claiming young Black and brown men. And they're disrupting their lives and the lives of countless number of New Yorkers. And it's unfortunate that people of color cannot do innocent and common things like going to a barbecue or a block party or walking to a park or going to school or walking around our neighborhood without the fear of gun violence. That's not natural. And that's why we've got to treat this as the crisis that it is, and bring the whole of government to the table.
So today, Mayor Adams is making good on his longstanding commitment to public safety by investing in targeted and community driven measures to get the guns out of our neighborhoods. Because as the governor mentioned, I don't know of any gun manufacturer in Brooklyn or Manhattan or the Bronx Queens or Staten Island or even upstate, but they're brought here on the Iron Pipeline, I-95, all of these states with lacks gun laws. And although we represent the whole of government, the reality is that Congress can do more. The fact is that as the Attorney General, I know that these gun manufacturers and distributors are immune. I cannot sue them because of this immunity that has been put in place by Congress, protections to the gun manufacturers and gun distributors. Product liability doesn't even apply to any of them, yet we see the carnage each and every day and the parents turn to us and say, "Something has to be done." Those 10 people who were slaughtered in Buffalo, who simply went shopping at the top supermarket, the question that they ask is, "Will we be successful, Tish, in our litigation?" And I don't know the answer.
The Mayor's plan represents an incredible investment that will help us continue our work, the work that we are doing each and every day to target the root of gun violence by investing in our youth and ensuring that they have an opportunity from a young age. Expanding access to housing. And let me say it again. Housing, housing, housing, housing, housing. And not just affordable housing, but supportive housing. Supportive housing for individuals struggling with MICA, mentally-ill, chemically-addicted individuals. Organizations that were closed under previous administrations now need to be opened. More support for the violence interrupters who are on the ground each and every day because of their lived experiences. Putting in the real and necessary work to improve police and community relations because believe it or not, despite what you may say, there's communities that want the police on their blocks. They know the police. They want to establish a relationship with the police.
They respect the police, but they want the police to respect them as well. Because when you give people an opportunity, when you give them a job, when you give them a home, when you see them, when you talk to them, when you respect them, you are giving them hope and purpose and letting them know that the government is there to serve them, not to ignore them. And when we give our children, our kids places to be in afterschool programs where they can learn and recognize that they too can one day be the Attorney General of the state of New York and let them know that we want to get involved in their activities and increase funding in parks and open spaces. These new programs will go a long way, my friends, in addressing so many of the issues that we are seeing at the local level, and will build on all of the important work that we're doing each and every day to crack down on gun violence.
It's an honor and a privilege to work with my district attorneys as we take down gun rings, as gangsters and members of gangs all across the city of New York. I appreciate that. I appreciate the fact that the Mayor and I stood together and we sued those companies that were illegally selling ghost guns, those unserialized guns that unfortunately are undetected and pose a threat to law enforcement. We've worked together, all of us here to take down these gun trafficking rings and hosted a number of gun buybacks. Since everybody's boasting about their numbers, as the Attorney General, I've removed 7,000 guns. But the fact is that the Mayor and the Governor now are coordinating all of us and we're all working in one purpose. And that is to address the scourge of gun violence, which has taken too many young men, too many young men.
I want to thank him. I want to thank his administration. I want to thank the Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright, and yes, Mayor, you did the right thing by appointing all of these women to positions of leadership. Thank you every day for making New York better and greater. Thank you so much for addressing this scourge of gun violence. I'm committed to removing as many guns as possible as the Attorney General. And I'm committed to working with law enforcement, and I'm committed to working with all of my colleagues and government each and every day to continue to make New York City and New York State the safest place in America. Thank you.
First Deputy Mayor Wright: Thank you so much, Attorney General. Next up, we have someone who has been fighting for these issues in these communities his entire career and has worked in partnership with this administration and we're grateful for his leadership, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.
Public Advocate Jumaane Williams: Peace and blessing, loving light to everyone. Thank you, Mr. Mayor, for bringing us all here. Thank you to governor, the AG, first deputy mayor and A.T. Mitchell and all of CMS, the DAs who were here first. I want folks to know and understand how dope this really is. You have city and state government standing together, together on the same page, fighting gun violence. It doesn't happen all the time. So we got to celebrate when it does because many of us have been asking for this for a very, very long time. So I want us to make sure we take a moment to celebrate that.
And I remember Victor, when I was growing up, was the first person I know where I live, who was shot and killed. I remember I was old enough to understand something bad happened, but not really aware of how and where to put it in. And as I went to high school, [inaudible], Jeffrey Whitehead, Alex Rodriguez, Dominique Sylvester, people were getting shot and killed when I was in high school. And what I was told is the influx of police in the communities were to stop the shootings that never stopped. And we're here now only have added lots and lots of names to those that I have just mentioned. And I began to understand, I think what people know right now. Because if I was to ask you to think of a safe community, you would not think of a community that has the most police and most arrests in it.
No one does. The precincts that are chosen here have those things, but we still don't consider them safe. And that's not, because was mentioned our law enforcement don't have a role to play, but it's because for far too long we've asked them to play all of the roles of what needed in these communities. That's a really important distinction to point out, and it's something that so many of us agree on, but have trouble pushing forward. We have to also know we are the safest big city in this country, and one of the safest. We have to mention that even though the media sometimes doesn't, but what we also know is that means nothing to the people who are being killed and their families who are left behind. And we have a lot of work left to do.
Now, I'm proud of the work I did on the task force to combat gun violence in the City Council, which A.T. was a part of. I got a shout-out K. Bain who was there from the beginning when we got this money and the work that he's doing across the country. He was definitely part of the problem. You wouldn't want to know him way back then, but he's a huge part of the solution now. And I've worked with three administrations. The first one was a little skeptical, the second one put some great funding into it. But what I felt was like there was... As we were growing, the CMS was growing, there was a stagnation of the work that needed to happen, particularly around when the pandemic hit and crime rose.
But what I want to lift up from this administration and this mayor is the granular level work that we're trying to do now, the infrastructure that we've been pushing to be built in these communities. We understand infrastructure, we understand granular level work, but for some reason we only understand it with the NYPD. And what this blueprint in my mind will do will ask the commissioner of the DOE, the commissioner of Housing, the commissioner of ACS, and all of the folks that should be doing the grand level work to be structured in a way in these communities that need the most resources because they've been starved for far too long. Because in one zip code, just by virtue of where you were born, you have to work really, really, really hard to fail at life and two miles down the road just because of the virtue of where you were born, you have to work truly, really, really, really hard just to survive.
And the question is why and what are we doing to fix that. Now this work has to be invested in even through short headlines and long political campaigns because sometimes those things damage this work as we ask people's emotions to override the intelligent thought and thinking when it comes to public safety. But we have to push through the naysayers and we have to push through it because I have lost count of the funerals that I've gone to for people who look like me and held too many mothers that look like mine. And they're still dying. And New York City can be a leader when it comes to this. And so I have been pushing for this. I'm so glad that it's here. Thank you for the work that's being done, Mr. Mayor.
My guess is in the days and the weeks, we may have some conversations about how best to put the plan forward. I think that's going to happen. But today we have to all stand together and commend you for putting this forward, a step toward the infrastructure we've been trying to get for so long. So I thank you for that. I thank you for having me here. I thank you all. We've been trying to get to this place for a long time. Please, let's continue to go out and save some lives. The answer to public safety is not locking up as many black and brown people as possible. It's investing in the communities that have been disinvested for such a long time. Peace and blessed and loving light you all. Thank you so much.
First Deputy Mayor Wright: Thank you Public Advocate. And our next two speakers before we have our my co-chair A.T. close us out are our district attorneys. As the Mayor said, we are focused on initially six precincts, which make up approximately 30 percent of the gun violence in Brooklyn and in the Bronx. And these fearless leaders have been partnering with us and tackling it head on. So first up, DA Eric Gonzalez, I'd like to bring you up. Thank you.
Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez: Good afternoon everyone. It's an honor to be here and it's a proud moment for me as Brooklyn District Attorney to be with our Mayor and with our Governor, our great Attorney General, First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright, A.T. Mitchell, and our Public Advocate, Jumaane Williams. Because when I first became District Attorney, I issued a plan for Brooklyn, and it was a safety plan, but it was a plan about moving forward. And it obviously acknowledges that the District Attorney's office and our New York City Police Department has to focus on enforcement, that we have to make sure that each and every day we're waking up thinking about how do we make our cities safer. And we've done tremendous work in Brooklyn. Brooklyn is the safest municipality in this state.
But it's an enforcement piece, but it's also investment. And the mayor's plan that I was able to review and be part of and be a partner in is about how do we build community. If we look in Brooklyn, and I bet it's the same throughout all of our boroughs, it's the same four or five precincts that have dogged us for 30 plus years. It's the same neighborhoods, the neighborhood I grew up in East New York and in Brownsville and East Flatbush and Bed-Stuy, and we can name them. Neighborhoods that have been historically under invested in. And the mayor's plan is not just an enforcement plan, it's a plan about building this community up. Because we understand that if we build people, if we provide them with life skills and social mobility opportunities, that people can leave the guns behind.
And when we invest in community and police relations, young men do not have to carry guns to feel safe. They can rely on the apparatus of government and public safety to do that work. So many young men come through my office arrested on gun charges, and when we speak to them, we ask them, "Why are you carrying a gun?" It's because they don't feel safe in their own community and they don't see a future for themselves. Bringing these resources, housing, education, employment, and building them and connecting them to our CMS workers, investing in those people is the only way that we can expect young people to trust us and to leave the guns behind. And so governor, thank you for your investment in our local initiatives and putting in so much money. I appreciate, and I'm thankful for all that you have done for the DASS around discovery.
Mayor, you've been a tremendous partner to my office and to all the district attorneys, and I stand able and willing to support you in this effort with your First Deputy Mayor and A.T. Mitchell, and of course, my fellow DAs and our great new police commissioner, Eddie Caban. This is going to work and I know it's going to work because the Mayor helped fund a program very similar to what he's building out in these six precincts in Bedford-Stuyvesant. And we have a small project. It's a project that's looking at a small number of gang involved young men, and we've challenged them to leave the guns behind and to date in that area where this program is running that the Mayor supported with his funding, gun violence has virtually ceased. Good luck.
Bronx District Attorney Darcel Clark: Good morning. Thank you, Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright. Mr. Mayor, thank you, thank you. Governor, thank you. AG Tish James, thank you. A.T. Mitchell, thank you. Jumaane, thank you for those kind words. I'm standing here as a district attorney of the Bronx to say thank you, not just for myself and the work that I have to do every day, like my colleague Eric Gonzalez, but for the 1.5 million people of the Bronx that are saying thank you. That finally, finally, an investment is going to happen in our borough for public safety. I have been raising sand for eight years as DA.
You all know that I am not a shrinking violet. So you're never going to have me just standing silently speaking about the things that we need. And I'm speaking here today saying thank you. Because finally, we are not going to operate in silos anymore. But we're going to put the investment in the communities that need it most so that the people could be safe. That's what they want us to do. That's what we're supposed to do. So this shouldn't be just a celebration like, "Oh, we're doing something good." We're supposed to be doing something good. And I'm glad that we are finally recognizing that we can all get together and get this done. And it takes money and it takes responsibility and it takes trust of all these people standing behind me. I'm looking at so many of these people I know, this is community. This is not just government, this is government and community and law enforcement. This is a shared responsibility. Everybody plays a role in public safety.
So when I had my Safer Bronx Through Fair Justice Initiative, that's what I talked about, not just the prosecution that I have to do. I get that, I can do that. But what I really need the help is in the prevention, to keep people from coming into the system in the first place, to keep them from making those bad choices of picking up that gun in the first place.
And the only way that we could do this work, this task force being the number one priority in getting this happening, because we had to listen to the people that it affected most. We could all sit up in our offices every day and think about what the city needs and what our communities need, but guess what? We don't know unless we are down there with them, we're out there with them. And I have walked these streets. I have hugged too many mothers. I have talked to too many young men. I have seen babies killed on the streets of the Bronx. I am tired of it and I needed help, and here it is now. Here is the help. That's what we need.
Jumaane Williams said, "The safest neighborhoods don't have the most police. Yeah, we got police, it has the most resources." And I grew up in the Bronx my whole life, I was there when the Bronx was burning. Those same communities still don't have the resources. Those are the same communities where the kids have the guns now, where there's no jobs, where there's mental health, where the schools are poor, and there's no jobs and they're going to jail. And look, I'm the only one standing up here that can say I have sentenced people to life in prison being a former judge, presiding over cases where I've seen young Black and brown men being sentenced because they didn't have the help they needed before they had to appear before me.
So this is the time people, this is the time now for us to make those investments. I know the Bronx is happy, and I'm standing here saying thank you to all of you for recognizing that the Bronx needs the help and you're now giving it to us and we stand ready, willing and able to accept it and to engage in it to make our community safer.
So thank you to the Crisis Management System. All of my teams are here, I see them all up here. We walk those streets, these anti-violence marches and everything. It's doing more than just marching, it's telling them that we love them and we care about them and we want to see them live. And I'm going to make sure that everybody has that opportunity to live because this is about life and not the death that the guns are bringing. So thank you, thank you all for helping.
First Deputy Mayor Wright: Thank you DA Clark. You can always leave it to the boogie down to represent. Thank you. I also want to acknowledge Bronx Borough President Vanessa Gibson. Where is she? Thank you so much.
Our final speaker is the co-chair of this task force and as the Mayor said, he's done this, this is his life's work. I've learned so much from him in this process, and I'm so grateful to be in partnership with him.
AT, his signature line, he has a quote, it's an African proverb, and it will tell you everything you need to know. The proverb says, "The child who is not embraced by the village will burn it down to feel its warmth." And that's what this work is, it's making sure that the village is meeting the needs of the children. And thank you AT at for what you do. Thank you. Come on up.
A.T. Mitchell, Co-Chair, Gun Violence Prevention Task Force: I'm going to liven this place up a little bit, Mayor, if it's all right with you, because that's what we do in the CMS and our communities, we liven it up. We bring life. So repeat after me.
Audience: There is more of us.
Mitchell: Then it is any of you.
Audience: Then it is any of you.
Mitchell: Say it again. There's more of us.
Audience: There's more of us.
Mitchell: Then it is any of you.
Audience: Then it is any of you.
Mitchell: You see there's many more of us, many more God-fearing, law-abiding, tax paying, school going, kids playing people in this city than it is any criminal, anybody that wants to disrupt our lives with violence. Believe it or not, we have more money than they do. We really can invest our way out, and that's what I love about today.
I want to thank you Mayor Adams, my good friend, for choosing me to be a part of this task force. This was a historic moment when he called on me because this hasn't been done before. Like others have said, I've worked in this work alongside so many other different administrations. I think I date back to Giuliani and then Bloomberg and then de Blasio and now with my brother Adams. And this has never been done before. This is a historic moment.
Thank you to my First Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright, my co-chair who's been my partner at the task force level. I've learned so much from you, and it's been easier to work with you because you come from the nonprofit sector and you understand exactly what it is for us those are in the nonprofit sector. She gets it right away. That means this administration.
Of course, I would love to acknowledge our great Governor Kathy Hochul for being here this afternoon. It made a lot to us, a difference. We honestly had a different date, but because you were coming here, we had to make sure that we make ourselves present. So thank you so much for being with us this afternoon.
Our Attorney General Tish James who we too go back very, very long, many years. I appreciate her consistency. She's always been who she says she is. And to see her as our state attorney general, it gives me joy to know that I know the state attorney general personally. Thank you so much AG James.
My good brother, my comrade, public advocate Williams, as been mentioned, we go back as well to before elected office, and now to this brother go through the city council and emerge to the public advocate role. He's been a true voice of the people, and we've been on this task force journey before in the Bloomberg administration, and so we know exactly what it feels like. And as a city, we really appreciate you as well.
To the borough presidents, I understand Borough President Gibson is present…
Oh, that's what I love about my sister because she and other BPs have been our partner. But no one more like BP Gibson, to be honest with you. She's a different borough president as it relates to this issue when it relates to gun violence. And of course our district attorneys, both Gonzalez and of course…
I'm sorry, Darcel. But I apologize. My good sister, BX, of course, Borough District Attorney Clark and the deputy mayors of your administration and Chief Advisor of course, Ingrid Martin and others. I got a lot of thank yous, to the chancellor, my good brother in the New York City Department of Public Schools, Chancellor Banks and all of the commissioners that have been a part of this.
But I do want to shout out a number of commissioners, one of which, Commissioner Vasan from our Department of Health and Mental Health and Hygiene, excuse me. Thank you so much. His agency has been on the frontline. Our new commissioner of the police department, Commissioner Caban, thank you so much. Congratulations. I get a chance to congratulate you. But no other commissioner, in my honest opinion, has been more on it than our commissioner of the Department of Youth and Community Development, Keith Howard. Thank you so much FDM for giving us Commissioner Howard.
But more importantly, I want to thank my new colleagues, the men and women of the various city agencies of the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. Those men and women that we've met over the past year, we've actually grown now to become colleagues. We've been in upper rooms, we've been working on the weekends, we've been going into the neighborhoods. And so those of you who have come out throughout those task force meetings, I see you Jeff and others. Thank you so much for your time, Darryl. And of course you know my good brothers and friends, I can call you colleagues now. Thank you so much for your hard work.
But I cannot, of course not thank the mighty, courageous men and women of the New York City Crisis Management System. My partners who have been alongside of, worked alongside of now for many, many years, those of you who have walked over the Brooklyn Bridge with me. Last year this time we came over to accept this charge from the mayor. We came over in the hundreds, if you remember outside, it was sweltering hot outside like it is this past week.
But the men and women of the Crisis Management System, organizations head like [inaudible], Iesha Sekou, my good brother, Lance Furtado and K. Bain, my other brother, Gilly Delgado and of course James Dobbin and others from Guns Down and Life Up. Can we give them a hand clap please? Of course Pastor Monrose, I cannot thank you all enough for just being my colleague as well and trusting in my leadership.
So as I said, it's been a complete year. We've been having many meetings and of course citywide convenings and of course I cannot close without thanking my, and you and I FDM staff, Meera, Angelina, Linda, RT, and I know I've seen Jose somewhere in the crowd, but thank you. I see his hand right now. Good. I wanted to also publicly thank you all because it's been hard coordinating this effort, and you've been doing a fine job.
Today is the day that we've all been waiting for. Just like the Mayor's blueprint to end gun violence, the Gun Violence Prevention Task Force Action Plan is a detailed document that consists of seven major strategies all vetted and approved by this administration, and more importantly by the top six communities within the 30 precincts responsible for more than 90 percent of the gun violence in New York City.
Our plan that we are releasing today is just like the unlimited number of degrees and awards that we all here and may have in our possession. It looks nice on paper but will mean nothing, and I mean nothing, without the commitment and the dedication to apply the things that we have learned to produce this document. Words on paper without action are meaningless. This is why I'm extremely excited about being a partner of this administration that prides themselves as GSD, getting stuff done, in a nice way of saying that.
As mentioned, we will eat the elephant in the room one phase at a time. First, we are targeting the top six precincts, two of which I was raised, the 73rd and the 75th precinct, better known as my DA said, East New York and Brownsville, Brooklyn. But we are also targeting the other four up in the Bronx. These six, because they are responsible for close to 30 percent of all the citywide homicides and shooting. That means that we are not leaving out the other precincts. This is just the first phase.
This plan is also a living document whose ink will never completely dry because it'll be interchangeable according to the uniqueness of each neighborhood that we have identified. No two neighborhood plans will mirror the other, but each plan will compliment the other because we're going to learn from each of the plans as it rolls out.
No longer would a neighborhood and communities of our plan be historically last or least prioritized. Starting today and beyond, they are... Just like, excuse me, I apologize. Starting today and beyond, it will be just the opposite. Just like in the news, they are the first mention as the top stories of the day and on the front page in your newspapers when it relates to gun violence and negatives, comments. If it bleeds, it leads.
In our plan, we were very super focused on the overall prevention of gun violence from ever happening. We were more interested in the upstream things that can be done in order to end gun violence in the city. Communities highlighted in this plan will be prioritized and excused to the front of the line to receive the benefits from the city, billions of dollars of industry resources. In other words, the communities that would historically benefit last from our city bank of resources will now be expedited and be the first to be serviced via this plan.
The Neighborhood Safety Alliances that's a part of this plan of these precincts will be to watchdogs within the community to see their action plans throughout the implementation phase and watch them become reality. I am extremely... Where is that plan? I am extremely confident in this plan because of the great minds of the men and women of the task force and the men and women and the boys and girls of the communities that help us create it.
I'm even more confident in this plan because of this mayor and his administration's leadership that you see displayed behind me. And finally, I'm even more confident in this plan because of, as mentioned by our governor, because of the United forces from the city and the state that you see standing united here today.
Without their unwavering partnerships, it would be impossible to end gun violence in this great city of New York. Just like the military have an armed forces. The military has the Marines, the Army, the Navy, and the Air Force for a reason. We here in New York state also now have a United forces when it relates to fighting gun violence. And so I'm looking forward to working alongside of every one of you to make sure that these things become a reality. Thank you so much Mayor Adams again for the opportunity, and I look forward to continue our work. Thank you everyone.
Mayor Adams: Do a few on topic before we go to off-topic. Do a few on topic before we go to off-topic.
Question: Mayor, and also for the company, can you enumerate specific metrics to see if the blueprint would be successful or not successful? Not just [inaudible], but actual metrics that we can hold you guys accountable to?
Mayor Adams: Hold us accountable. We are all in this together. It's not just me, it's not the folks here, it is the men and women of the media highlighting some of the good things we're doing, lifting up those people who are participating. Hold us accountable. We are all in this together. It's not just me, it's not the folks here, it is the men and women of the media highlighting some of the good things we're doing, lifting up those people who are participating.
Let's find room in your papers and your news stories of talking about the good news so we can start making people feel good about themselves and good about the city. So it's not just us. Because when a bullet leaves a barrel of the gun, it does not discriminate if you're a reporter or if you're a police officer.
So what we are going to do, as we stated, we're going to look at those 30 precincts. We're going to start with the small number and we want to see a substantial decrease in violence, an increase in employment, increase in services, increase in infrastructure. Those are the metrics that we are going to be looking at.
How do we bring down the violence? Because if we bring down the violence without increasing the opportunities, then we just building a pipeline for a new generation of dealing with the violence that we're seeing.
Question: Can we just get specifics to all? Can we just get specifics to all?
Mayor Adams: When you say specifics, you want numbers? When you say specifics, you want numbers?
Question: Yeah, percentage increases, [inaudible].
Mayor Adams: No, we don't. We don't have that. We already dropped in the percentage decrease in shootings, percentage decrease in homicides, percentage decrease in the seven major categories. No, we don't. We don't have that. We already dropped in the percentage decrease in shootings, percentage decrease in homicides, percentage decrease in the seven major categories.
We are giving you those percentage decreases, and for some reason it's not finding its way on your pages. We're showing you the substantial decreases across the board.
We’ve had 17 weeks in a row of decreased violence in our city. So we have the stats. It's more than stats. It's about the quality of life of New Yorkers. Because if you drop statistically, but the same communities are still having a steady flow of violence, what good is that? That is what we are doing. 17 weeks in a row of decreased violence in our city. So we have the stats. It's more than stats. It's about the quality of life of New Yorkers. Because if you drop statistically, but the same communities are still having a steady flow of violence, what good is that? That is what we are doing.
Question: [Inaudible] the numbers have decreased around the city, but Staten Island has seen a 50 percent increase in shooting victims the other day. What unique challenges have there been on Staten Island and what unique steps will be taken there?
Mayor Adams: Well, I think it's a combination of things that we're seeing of... Listen, this over proliferation of guns in our city, both the AG and the governor talks about it, we don't manufacture them here. And the areas in Staten Island that we want to really zero in, we have a new precinct commander there that is extremely excited about how we go in and get on the ground and look at those target areas. Well, I think it's a combination of things that we're seeing of... Listen, this over proliferation of guns in our city, both the AG and the governor talks about it, we don't manufacture them here. And the areas in Staten Island that we want to really zero in, we have a new precinct commander there that is extremely excited about how we go in and get on the ground and look at those target areas.
Precision policing is what we're looking at. We have a great crisis management team over there. We have to get in there, identify who are the shooters, what are the services that are needed. And that is why, although we're focusing on the 30, that we are not going to ignore those areas where we're seeing some spikes in crime right now.
Question: Thank you. Mr. Mayor, about the 485 million, where's that coming from? Has the money already been allocated and is it coming from any particular agencies?
First Deputy Mayor Wright: Yeah, just about every single agency you see represented here has resources in their budget. As AT Mitchell said, these particular communities are being prioritized. Yeah, just about every single agency you see represented here has resources in their budget. As A.T. Mitchell said, these particular communities are being prioritized.
So in the most recent adopted budget, there was an additional $40 million that was put in to bring us to that number. And so everything from New York City public Schools, we're going to be extending the use of school buildings, providing more resources for the Project Pivot program to the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene to the small business services, every single agency.
So there's a detailed breakdown that we'll be happy to share, as well as a detail of key performance indicators, which we are, as the mayor says, what gets measured gets done. So there's some clear indicators that are part of this plan as well.
Question: 485 is for FFY 24, is that-
First Deputy Mayor Wright: Yes. Yes.
Question: A lot of the education programs in the blueprint seem to be like expansions of existing programs. I'm curious if the city is committing to any new education programs that haven't been previously announced through the blueprint. A lot of the education programs in the blueprint seem to be like expansions of existing programs. I'm curious if the city is committing to any new education programs that haven't been previously announced through the blueprint.
Mayor Adams: You said education program? I'm sorry. You said education program? I'm sorry.
Question: Yeah. Education programs that haven't been previously announced. Is there any new programs that the city is committing to today? Yeah. Education programs that haven't been previously announced. Is there any new programs that the city is committing to today?
Mayor Adams: And you talking about inside the school itself or just using the Department of Education? I just want to understand your question. And you talking about inside the school itself or just using the Department of Education? I just want to understand your question.
Question: Yeah, that are administered by the Education Department. Yeah, that are administered by the Education Department.
Mayor Adams: A couple of things. One, the brilliant use of what Chancellor Banks is doing with Project Pivot, the extended use, we are allocating funding to keep our schools open longer for safer spaces for our children. A couple of things. One, the brilliant use of what Chancellor Banks is doing with Project Pivot, the extended use, we are allocating funding to keep our schools open longer for safer spaces for our children.
And when you look through the blueprint, you're going to see some of the other initiatives that the chancellor's doing. Even with the partnership that we're doing with Google, how we're leaning into our paid internship program.
This is the holistic approach. And what the first deputy mayor is trying to share, many of our agencies were not zeroing in on using their existing budgets to go after the holistic approach of ending the feeders of gun violence. We now have given a new charge that you are to look at your budget and make sure that you are buying into this overall plan and what are the feeders of ending gun violence. And that's what the chancellor has done. And all of these agencies that are here are part of that overall plan.
How are you, Marcia?
Question: I'm good, Mr. Mayor. So you, Mr. Mayor and the Police Commissioner Caban have talked repeatedly about perception versus reality. You said the reality is that New York City is the safest big city in America.
Mayor Adams: Yes. Yes.
Question: People don't believe that. How will this program change the random acts of violence that makes people believe that makes people believe that they're not safe?
Mayor Adams: Well, I don't know if I agree with you that people don't feel that they're safe, because when you have 56 million tourists in our city, we are capping out of four million riders on our subway system, no one wanted to get on this train.
Well, I don't know if I agree with you that people don't feel that they're safe, because when you have 56 million tourists in our city, we are capping out of four million riders on our subway system, no one wanted to get on this train. Remember, governor, back before we did our subway safety plan?
I'm out this weekend in the parks, these random acts of violence shake our confidence, but it does not paralyze us. And I am seeing every day as I walk the streets, on the subway system, in our parks, going out and moving about, people are saying, "Eric, we see a difference."
Now, when you have an incident like we saw over the weekend with this young man was experiencing that hate crime, and we will find the person responsible, it shakes our confidence. When you have someone that randomly assaults someone because they have a real mental health issue on the street, it shakes your confidence.
When you have 8.5 million people in the city, you are going to have from time to time random acts of violence. And we must address that. And part of doing that is revitalizing these communities and having our young people play a role in that revitalization.
It's the safest big city in America. We continue to drive down crime even more. We don't like these random acts of violence that we witnessed. The commissioner and I, we would talk and say, "This really gets in the way of the overall energy that people have of this city has recovered." This city has recovered, and we are going to do everything we can to go after those random acts of violence, those people who are extremely dangerous.
We are going to do everything we can. We are going to continue to do it. But in a city of this size, are you going to have random acts of violence? I don't know, a year, even when people say crime was at its lowest. I don't know a year that we didn't have those random acts of violence in the city. But I keep going back to what many people don't want to acknowledge that everyone talked about Giuliani being this symbol of safe.
Right now, his last year, we are a substantial percentages lower in crimes than when his last year was, and he used Draconian measures. We did not use Draconian measures, and we're safe. So if the symbol was safe back then, then what does that make me?
Question: For the deputy mayor, where's the 40 million being put into of these seven strategies? And then also, for the governor, the six million that the state's contributing, whereabouts is that going to go in here?
Mayor Adams: Well, you can't rush yourself. You can't rush yourself. We'll give you those exact numbers. We'll give you exact 40 million. And with the six million, we want thank governor for the 6 million. We'll give you those exact numbers. Fabien, we'll give it to you. You guys talk every day, so he'll make sure you get it.
Question: To the mayor, the governor, the attorney general. This is obviously a united front on gun violence. What message does it send intentionally or unintentionally to the rest of the country, Democrats nationally, Republicans nationally, ahead of 2024, that New York state is doing something about gun violence?
Mayor Adams: Well, New York, we lead in so many ways, and we have communicated with our state, our federal partners, minority leader, Hakeem Jeffries, Senator Schumer, Senator Gillibrand, leaders, Schumer.
They have been partners, and it clearly shows everyone is saying that Democrats are soft on crime, and that's just not the reality. When you look at some of the gun bills that have been unable to get through Congress, it's Republicans that's blocking them. When we want to fund some important initiatives around supporting police with resources to Republicans, they continue to block them. I say to the Dems all the time, "You have a good product. You have to make sure people know the product." I think it's a mistake not to sell the good product that we have as Democrats.
So I think this is the right message and the partnership we have on the federal level has helped us to do the things that we are doing. Senator Schumer and Congressman Jeffries have been real leaders in the area. Governor, you want to touch on that?
Governor Hochul: You can say you're serious about fighting crime if you're not serious about getting illegal guns off our streets. And that is the difference between blue states and red states, and the statistics bear it out. Right now we have 4.1 homicides per hundred thousand residents. The average is about seven homicides per hundred thousand. And it is concentrated in the Democratic states where crime is lower than in the states where they're not worried and taking seriously the specter of gun violence.
And until everyone, every leader of this nation, every governor, Democrat or Republican, takes seriously the fact that people are dying in all of our streets, not democratic streets, but all of our streets, that we will not have a solution. This calls for a federal response, but also every governor can have a red flag law. Every governor can invest in violence disruption program. Every governor can make sure that they're focusing on mental health. Every governor can focus on education and health and making sure our police and our district attorneys have the resources they need. And that is the message we're sending across this nation because Democrats, democratic led states and mayors are focused on one thing and that is keeping our citizens safe.
Question: [Inaudible] law enforcement efforts to reduce the number of guns on the streets and with the understanding that it's often too late to get to a 17 or 18 year old kid. Can you please tell us your thoughts on the importance of discouraging 9 10, 11 year old Black and brown boys, and with the understanding that you've got worried grandmas and moms and pops that going to be on the stoops this evening, what this plan does to address that?
Mayor Adams: Leading into I think one of the most significant things that the Chancellor has done, he knows that we have a captured audience with our children. And prior to his arrival, we were not going after the crisis management type organizations with Project Pivot. We rolled that out last year. It was about how do we get into the schools and engage our young people at a early age, and there has to be some real results. If we're dealing with the issue of a child who's not in school, high absentee rates, we can't have people continue to provide services, and they not turning around what the issues are. And so I am really looking towards the chancellor and what he's doing around Project Pivot, what he's doing around afterschool programs.
We have to, in a very soft way, introduce the whole aspect of developing a full personhood of our children, and public safety is one of them. And I'm leaning on him to accomplish that task because that's who our children are. Our children are in schools, after school programs, organizations. We are really leaning on the chancellor to help with that deep level of prevention that we're talking about. And this is full circle for me.
A lot of people don't realize the whole concept of CMS in this state came from my sponsoring of Operation Snug, guns called backwards. The first $5 million came through me as a state senator. So I went from $5 million to over $400 million. But this is consistency. I'm not new to this, I'm true to this. I've been doing this for a little bit.
Mayor Adams: Okay. Okay. Thank you all. We'll do few more off-topic. Thank you.
Question: [Inaudible] report this weekend in New York Post about prostitution in Queens. Can you talk to me a little bit about why this been [inaudible] since according to that recording six arrests in that area of Queens, and what you're going to do about it, and if something like that can lead to more crime?
Mayor Adams: Yeah, no, and I concur with you. I was out there last week, I think it was Thursday. I was out there and about 1:00 am, 2:00 in the morning, because I wanted to get an observation of what was happening. And there is a plaza that's there where there was illegal vending and just dangerous food service. And then I walked along... Can we try to move that out? Then I walked along Roosevelt Avenue under the L line, and it was clear. There was open prostitution. It was just filthy, and there was just a state of disorder.
I called the precinct commander who came to meet me over there. We walked together, I was with Assistant Commissioner Daughtry, and we put in place a plan, reached out to the commissioner of DSNY. Commissioner Tisch immediately went there to deal with the illegal vending, the trash issue. And now we're putting in place an operation to deal with the sex workers.
Now mind you, while I see the dangers of sex workers and the health issue and some of the violence in some of the sex trafficking, there are those in government who are trying to push to legalize it. I disagreed with it then. I disagree with it now. And as long as the law is illegal, we're going to put an operation in to go and deal with this. Well, let him finish. Did I answer your question? Yeah, yeah, go ahead.
Question: So with some of these women who have been exploited, who have been trafficked, are there any plans or are there any programs in place to stand-up services around them so that they can reintegrate without necessarily going through criminal justice system?
Mayor Adams: People like to believe that sex workers are a victimless crime. That is not true. As borough president, I worked with young ladies who were the victim of sex trafficking. And so our goal is to go in to communicate with the sex workers, get them the services that they need. Someone did a good story in one of your tabloids over the weekend talking about someone who was able to get out because the pimp was forcing them... The conditions are horrendous, and we want to also go after the John because the demand is creating the supply, and it's far too often the Johns get away with what they're doing. But we have zeroed in on it.
What I saw over there was horrendous, and we cannot allow that to continue. And many of those women are victims of aggressive, dangerous pimps that are forcing them into this occupation, and we are not going to allow that to happen.
Question: So last week the NYPD said they're going to expand encryption apps citywide across our radio frequencies. They've already started at six precincts in Brooklyn. And the City Council came out and criticized them for not having a plan to include the press in this. They said they're–
Mayor Adams: To include the what? To include the what?
Question: The press. The press.
Mayor Adams: Okay. Okay.
Question: They said they're considering their options right now, but were not exactly specific about what that would look like. What do you think of that when you think of the criticism?
Mayor Adams: Well, listen, everything we do at the foundation is public safety. And as someone reported over this weekend, our GLAs are through the roof of... Bad guys are smarter than people think they are.
And if we want to figure out a way how not only are the everyday press, public, the citizen apps, et cetera, but bad guys are looking at this. They can see when we're responding to a crime. They know when it's reported. We have to make sure we find that proper balance, and that's what we're going to do. So I understand the city council may have an opinion on this. I got it. Others may have an opinion on it. I have to make sure that bad guys don't continue to be one up on us so that we can go after some of these very dangerous people that are in the city. A small number of people are creating a lot of violence, and we have to get it right. And that's what we are doing right now.
Question: Hi Mayor. Hi Mayor.
Mayor Adams: How are you? How are you?
Question: Fine. I have a question about reporting by the New York Times on DocGo's contract to provide migrant services and concerns over their approach. Why did the city pick a company with such limited experience in the area of migrant care to handle this work? And do you still have confidence in them?
Mayor Adams: No, you said limited experience in handling- No, you said limited experience in handling–
Question: They worked on Covid and–
Mayor Adams: I'm sorry. Were what?
Question: DocGo, worked on Covid and the pandemic and sending doctors out, but now they're working on migrant services. So why did you select them, and do you still have confidence in them?
Mayor Adams: First, let me answer the latter. Yes. I still have confidence in them. They've done an amazing job for us. We talking about... What we up? To 92,000?
93,000 people. 93,000 people that have gone through our city and having to do this. They did an amazing job during Covid, which we were pleased with of mobilization, deployment, moving people around, is a skill to it. And so I don't know for the cost analysis for the quality of the product, remember at the Roosevelt Hotel and at different locations that they are, and I'm seeing a level of professionalism.
Now when you have thousands of employees, are you going to find one or two that's going to do something wrong? Yes, you are. And then you have to take appropriate actions based on them doing something wrong. But to state this entire organization that helped us navigate Covid and now helping us navigate this humanitarian crisis that I don't have confidence in them, no, I have confidence in them. And we're going to scrutinize them. We're going to make sure, "Here's your contract, here are the services. If you do something wrong, we're going to bring you in, and you have to correct it." But they've done a Herculean job of this humanitarian crisis that we're facing.
Question: Mayor, on that topic of the migrant situation, we've seen migrants sleeping on sidewalks in the last few days. Obviously it's very hot. The federal government says they're sending a liaison to New York. Is that enough for you?
Mayor Adams: No, it's not. I've been consistent and clear and we had a meeting with our City Council, our state lawmakers and others who we had a good, healthy conversation. And I've been saying this. Many of you have been here with me that eventually this was going to come to a neighborhood near you, and it is. 91,000 people of... What we have done in comparison to other cities is just remarkable. And having someone embedded is a good start. That came from the Secretary of Homeland Security. We want to thank him, but I've been very clear on what we need. We need to allow people to work, and there's nothing more anti-American than you can't work. We need to control the border. We need to call a state of emergency, and we need to properly fund this national crisis. And there was some good things that came out of the meeting with the congressional delegation.
I want to really thank Senator Schumer and Leader Jeffries for both bringing everyone to the table, entire New York delegation, but we need help. We need help. And it's not going to get any better. From this moment on it's downhill. There is no more room. I was at the Roosevelt on Saturday, and I went there on Sunday. They lined up around the block hurting the businesses there, this is not going to get better. We put buses there for cooling systems, but it is just not sustainable. And I'm just real. I want to take my hat off to Assemblywomen Rajkumar and those 54 electors that signed on a letter together to really say that New York does not deserve this.
Question: Hi Mr. Mayor.
Mayor Adams: How are you?
Question: I wanted to follow up on that. So you have been very clear about wanting the decompression strategy, wanting faster work authorizations. What are you hearing on that? What is the impediment and are you thinking about is there another fourth idea? I wanted to follow up on that.
Mayor Adams: Another? Another?
Question: Fourth idea. I mean there's money, there's work authorizations, there's the decompression strategy, but we haven't heard anything from Washington. We've gotten some more money, but we haven't heard anything on work authorizations or decompression. What's the problem? What's the holdup, and is there a fourth idea that you want to put to them?
Mayor Adams: Yeah, number one, we have not got money. Out of the $850 million that Senator Schumer and Leader Jeffries was able to push through, we got 30 million. 30 million, and there were bordering states that received more money than us, and they're using the money to bus people to New York. If this wasn't so sad, it would be funny. And we were promised an additional allocation of money. We have not gotten that yet. But when you look at the dollar amount that we are spending, it dwarfs our needs. And so to go to a fourth or fifth when we haven't gotten the foundational things is just throwing out more things.
I have been very clear, if I can get work authorization, this would be a substantial game changer for us because we have a lot of jobs that need to be filled. We could take people out of the shadows of the black market. We could hire throughout the entire states. My partners in government are saying, "Eric, we're willing to help, but we cannot have people just come and sit around." And so work authorization, my congressional delegation is calling for it. My local electors are calling for it. We're all calling for it. We need a response from Washington, and I have not gotten a yay or nay, and we need it.
Question: Mayor, did you talk to Eric Ulrich in a way that made him think that you were warning him about an investigation into him? And have you heard any rumors about his alleged gambling addiction? And if so, why would you promote him up the chain?
Mayor Adams: Well, first of all, I was reading that article. I felt like it was a reboot of Goodfellas. Come on. Listen. I made it clear. You sent out my statement. Right? Okay. I had no knowledge of his investigation. No one from the Police Department, no one from the DA's office... Why would it make sense to appoint someone a commissioner if you know they're under criminal investigation?
Question: He raised a lot of money for you.
Mayor Adams: Yeah. A lot of people raised a lot of money for me. I had thousands of donors. I out-raised everybody that was in the race for the most part. So no. No. That's the bottom line. No. And I don't know.
The DA has his job. I have my job. And let me tell you something. All my books that I've read about mayors, administration, previous administration, presidential administrations, there was something I walked away with before becoming mayor. You can be distracted and you could be busy answering the same questions over and over again. I have an entire city to run during the most challenging times, and I'm not going to be distracted. And you've been on the campaign trail. The words are the same, stay focused, no distractions, and grind. I'm not going to be distracted. I got to navigate this wonderful city out of the challenges we are facing. And if y'all want to acknowledge it or not, I'm doing a damn good job.
Question: Mr. Mayor, when you were at the Roosevelt Hotel, did you see migrants sleeping on cardboard boxes, sleeping in vans overnight? Your staffer said that it was a temporary location in these vans for them to stay. Is that acceptable? You've said that you don't want New York to turn into a San Francisco or a Seattle, and what else are you considering? Are you considering parks, perhaps more tents in city parks?
Mayor Adams: So here's where we are right now. Yes, there were people sleeping in cooling vans. There were people along the sidewalk. We have to localize this madness. We have to figure out a way of how we don't have what's in other municipalities where you have tent cities all over the city. Our next phase of this strategy, now that we have run out of room, we have to figure out how we're going to localize the inevitable that there's no more room indoors. And we have to figure that out. And that's what I got the team working on right now. And when we roll out to next phase of this, I'm going to publicly announce it, but I can assure you that this city is not going to look like other cities where there are tents up and down every street.
Question: When you say localize [inaudible]--
Mayor Adams: Come on, but I like burning it.
Question: Will we have more tents in... You okay? Will there be more tents in parking lots or again, like I said, are you considering massive location, say Central Park, Bryant Park?
Mayor Adams: We're going to roll out the next phase of our operation. We're going to publicly let it be known.
Question: Mr. Mayor, I wonder if you state your failure to get any help from Washington is the victim of presidential election year politics because the president looks at New York and says, "It's Blue York. People are going to vote for me anyway." But they need, for example, like Arizona, borderline state, where if you help New York, they're not going to be happy there. So is he ignoring the needs of New York because he wants to get elected president and he thinks he needs borderline states that could help him?
Mayor Adams: I'm not sure what's the logic. His campaign team is putting that together. But it is clear that the congressional delegation and the Senate understand how important this is for New York City. And they have been extremely responsive. And I cannot thank them enough to put together the meeting that they did with the Secretary of Homeland Security. And so I'm not sure of the strategy of their administration. This could impact the thoughts of how we are handling this crisis. But I'm not sure of it. I have no idea. All I know is we need help. This is not sustainable, and there's going to be a drastic, drastic impact on the city financially, and as well as just the morale of our recovery. Okay.