October 22, 2022
Governor Kathy Hochul: Good afternoon everyone. Just want to take a moment to acknowledge the individuals you'll be hearing from shortly. That is of course, our mayor — I'll introduce him momentarily — our commissioner of police and Janno Lieber, the head of the MTA.
We're here to talk about a core belief that we all share, that for 118 years, this subway has been the lifeblood of our city. It connects millions of hard working New Yorkers, their jobs, their homes, to their families every single day. And it helps visitors from around the world explore the greatest city known to man or womankind. Without it, New York would not be New York.
Since my first day, as in office, I've said we need our subway system to truly work. It has to be on time, but most importantly, it has to be safe. And the good news is, since the pandemic, ridership is up. We're currently averaging about 3.6 million riders a day. That's a great sign. It means that New Yorkers are finding their way back, getting back to normalcy in their everyday lives. They're getting back to work, they're getting back to school, they're visiting friends, they're going to shows.
But we have to make sure that that progress stays on track because even as ridership continues to tick up, it's still below pre-pandemic levels. But I want it all the way back. And New York needs it all the way back. That's ultimately how our city functions best. The more people on the subway, the less congestion. I walk the streets of this city almost every day. It is very congested. We also have to have a dynamic, heavily used transit system, but we know there's a hurdle.
There's a hurdle to — it could be a barrier to getting us there. People are still very much concerned about transit crime. I've heard this from New Yorkers. As I said, I walk the streets, I take the subway, go to baseball games, like we're expecting in a few hours. There'll be a lot of people taking the 4 train up to see the Yankees. We all have heard that seeing the subways with the stories, the headlines, violent attacks, muggings, a 15-year-old boy losing his life to violence just a week ago, nine homicides in our subway so far this year; tragic losses of life.
Here's what we have to continue to do. Focus on what we have in our control. Focus on getting that sense of security back. And I'll continue to use the resources of the State of New York and bring this violence to end. I'm constantly asking my team, and they're the best. We speak regularly about what we can do. I'm always saying, "What can we do to make our subways safer?" And my answer back to everyone, I say, "Do whatever it takes." And that's why we're here today, to be joined by my partners, these leaders. We have a crime fighting strategy. We've leaned into proven law enforcement strategies, investing in new technologies that'll make a difference. And we're providing New Yorkers to support and the help they need.
Here's what we're calling it: Cops, Cameras, Care. It's easy to remember the three Cs. Now, I want to be very clear here. This is not something we started thinking about recently. Something we've been laser focused on, the MTA, NYPD, since the beginning. The mayor and I have been working to find solutions literally since his first day in the job. I believe was January 6th when we went to the subways together and talked about a new era of cooperation between the state and the city to solve these common problems that we share.
We also talked about how we're going to continue to overturn every single stone in search of an answer, because my top priority as the governor of the State of New York is to keep New Yorkers safe. And that means on our streets, in their homes, and on our subways. What we're announcing here today is a beefing up of the police presence on the subway platforms and cars. Proud to announce that MTA Police, where I have oversight — they report to the MTA, which reports to me — will be working with the NYPD to strategically deploy more officers and allow them to increase their presence on the platforms and trains as well. It's a tactical approach. Where is the need the greatest? How do we bring in reinforcements? We are the reinforcements, and that's what we're announcing here today.
So here's how it'll work. MTA Police will be taking primary responsibility for the first time for policing stations linked to our major commuter rail hubs, Penn Station, Grand Central, Atlantic Terminal, and Jamaica Station. What this will do is to allow the NYPD to increase their coverage across the subway system. I'm also proud to announce that we're going to help fund the deployment of more NYPD officers to perform these services. We're going to make a significant investment from the state's Public Emergency Fund to support the additional officers on subways throughout the days. And we'll continue to work with the city to find a dedicated revenue source going forward. Mayor Adams will speak more about this.
But I first want to say this. To Commissioner Sewell, the brave men and women of the NYPD, I thank you for the incredible work you're doing and the challenges that law enforcement has to encounter every single day. Supporting law enforcement, deploying more resources, bringing in reinforcements from us is an important first part of the strategy. Expanding law enforcement is just one side of it, but also we want to have a more significant presence, visible presence. People want to see that there's an officer there when they need help. It's also an incredible deterrent. It's an incredible deterrent when you think about it.
The key takeaways, we'll do whatever we can, whatever is necessary to keep New Yorkers safe. But it's not just increasing the police presence from the numbers standpoint, it's also making sure they have the training they need to really help New Yorkers. Right now, the New York State Office of Mental Health gives training to New York State Police and first responders in crisis intervention. But we have to make sure that all the first responders working in our subway system also have these critical skills.
That's why today we're also announcing we're expanding our training to inform MTA Police, the NYPD and EMS, on how to transport and deal with individuals in need of psychiatric evaluation. This training will incorporate the best practice for engaging the street and subway homeless population, helping officers better understand the problems they're facing and how to deal with them so they can de-escalate and ensure people get the help they need.
What else we going to do to help keep New Yorkers safe on our subways? Second is cameras. Last months we announced that we'll be installing cameras on every single subway car. That process is underway. Janno can fill you in on more of that. But I'm glad to say with the supply we have, and we're in search of getting more procurement, we've already installed over 200 cameras across this system. And finally, I mentioned the three Cs. Cops, Cameras, and Care. Back in January, we stood together at Fulton Station and talked about not just cracking down on subway crime, but also we shared our plan to address homelessness.
Again, at the time I think you were very surprised. I think the mayor had been on the job just a few days. I was a fairly new governor. And what they saw was this partnership. For a long time, there had been… I'll just say wasn't a partnership, and we changed that dynamic so we could bring our resources together. What we're talking about next is understand that too many New Yorkers experience homelessness in our stations and our trains each night. Back then, we announced the creation of our Safe Option Support system, SOS, critical intervention teams to focus on engagement, outreach and real genuine support that keeps people from cycling back into the system.
We made a lot of progress. Our teams made contract with almost 2,700 individuals and have enrolled 410 in direct services to keep them from having to return. But we've seen over the last few months, even more need to take care of these individuals. And here's the action we're taking. For the first time ever, we'll now have a new initiative from the Office of Mental Health. We're launching the Transition to Home Initiative. This will add dedicated inpatient beds, 50 to start, and ensure that people get the help they need, not just to go to Bellevue and come back out the next hour. This is longer term supportive assistance housing to get them in a system where they can be stabilized and not ever have to return here.
And we'll be focusing on the most severely mentally ill individuals that we have identified here in the subways. We know who they are. We know who needs the most help. And I believe that not only will this provide help for them, it'll also help alleviate the fear of many of our riders today. We'll be focusing on announcing the details later. We also announced in our budget earlier this year, 27.5 million dollars for hospitals to receive the same Medicaid reimbursement for psychiatric beds as they do for medical beds. And let me tell you why this was important. Months and months ago, I said, What's happening? Why is there such a growing population of people with severe mental health challenges on our subways? And what I learned was is that because there's a differential in how patient beds are reimbursed under the Medicaid program, a normal medical bed that requires to say basic training nurse and doctor, gets reimbursed at one rate, psychiatric beds got reduced at a lower rate.
I said, let's make up that differential. That's what our money from the state went towards. So there's not an incentive to have fewer psychiatric beds, and we are told that would bring on upwards of 1,000 new beds online. We also had to make sure that we have the staff. 9 million dollars we allocated to make sure that we had more psychiatric staff to take care of you. You can remove people, but you also have to make sure that they get the treatment they need so they don't come back. We're making sure our hospitals know they have a place to discharge people to. It's not called the subway. It is called longer term assistance. And also know that there's a lot of people who may not be ready, even just to be discharged. They're going to need this help. So we don't want this recycling of people back into the system.
We're also launching a short term community residential step down program for individuals being discharged — monitor them, help them, stabilize them so as they transition back into the community and after receiving their support. This will build on the 12 million dollars we have also for 500 additional supportive housing beds. We know this won't solve the problem overnight, but what you need to hear today is an intentional effort. We know who the most severely mentally ill are. We know how people feel and the anxiety they feel when they encounter people, and they're not sure if they could cause harm to themselves or their family members. This is a strong source of anxiety. I know this. We know this won't solve it overnight, but the effort is being undertaken, and I'm so grateful for the mayor and the NYPD for being such outstanding partners in this effort. They also have answered this call from the beginning. We are all stepping up our efforts to make sure that we can serve and protect. And I also want to thank the mental health providers and the SOS teams for ensuring that New Yorkers get the care they need.
Again, through this multifaceted crime fighting supportive project, this initiative, adding more cops, installing more cameras, and providing more care to make our subways safer let people know they're welcome here, they're safe here, and this is exactly what New York needs, and that's what New Yorkers deserve. Thank you very much.
At this point, let me turn it over to Mayor Eric Adams. We have partnered so closely on the challenging issues facing the city. The State of New York is here to always lend our support to your efforts. Mayor Adams, thank you very much.
Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Really want to thank the governor just for her amazing partnership from day one, from day one. As she indicated, January 6th, we were here talking about subway safety. And we always had the concept of safety clear in our minds. Safety in our city, above ground and underground. It's not just stats. We can give you stats all day. The question is how do New Yorkers feel? We must match the actual impacts with how New Yorkers feel on the streets and in the subway system.
I made it clear as a campaigner and as the beginning days of being mayor we were going to zero in on gun violence, we were going to zero in on predatory crimes, we were going to make our subway system safe. Those were the key points that we raised. Do the analysis — gun violence and murders dropped by double digits in the last 10 months in office due to the work of the police commissioner and the men and women who are on our streets. 27 year high in arrests, close to 6,000 guns removed off our streets. Thousands of those who carry guns have been incarcerated. We have witnessed the deployment of our anti-gun team that did exactly what we stated it was going to do.
We then, on January 6th, we turned our attention to our subway system. What was the results of what the governor and I partnered up in doing? When I spoke with her, she says, "Eric, what do we need to deal with the actual problems we were having in our subway system? You do the analysis."
2019, the last time we had a pre-COVID ridership, we witnessed over 2022 a 4 percent decrease in crime. 2019, comparison to 2022, 2018, a 5 percent decrease. In the last 10 years, we've seen almost a 17 percent decrease in crime based on the initiative that was phase one of what we wanted to accomplish.
We're now moving into the next phase of methodically dismantling the obstacles that are in the way of having a safe subway system below ground and safe streets above ground, of dealing with the stats of crime and the feeling of New Yorkers. We're not going to abandon that. We can tell New Yorkers all the time that we have decreased crimes in certain areas, but if New Yorkers don't feel safe, we are failing. And we are not going to take that out of our equation. And that's why the omnipresence of police officers and the removal of those who are dealing with mental health issues is crucial to our second phase of this important plan.
New Yorkers must be able to ride the subway system with confidence that they are protected from crime, harassments, and threats. And this is what we are zeroing in on. And I heard it over and over again, and as the governor stated, she hears it, we both hear it, and we are immediately responding to it over and over again. That's why these increased resources from the state are going to place what we... focus on what we need the most. More uniform officers on the trains and the platform, omnipresence. People have stated over and over again they feel better and safer when that uniform officer is there. And we're zeroing on the end on that focus.
More inpatient treatment for people with severe mental illnesses. This is a real issue above ground and below ground. And more personnel dedicated to getting those who shouldn't be on the subway off the subway. You see them. Sometimes they're visibly present, no shoes, talking to themselves, loud, boisterous. The system cannot be to walk past them and ignore that they're there. That's why we zeroed in on this in the beginning of removing the encampment and other places where people were living on the system. The bottom line is that we need people to be safe on the subway system and feel safe on the subway system. And we've made progress, as I indicated, and we're going to continue to do that.
Major index crime in the subway system has dropped from 2019 comparison 2017, 2018. That is clearly where the numbers are, but the feeling of the system must match those numbers. All of these efforts are the result of our first phase, and we will continue to move into the second phase of our subway plan, removing thousands of illegal encampments, transitioning people who are living on this system. Over 2,600 people that needed shelter are now in shelter, providing services to those who wanted to remain in our safe havens and some form of shelter system.
But we've done more since the day that we stood here on January 6th. We've conducted over 756,000 safety inspections in our subway system. Uniform patrol historically has been disconnected. The individuals assigned to precinct personnel were historically disconnected from the subway system. We changed that dynamic. Now, officers are parking their vehicles, precincts located in precinct boundaries. We're conducting inspections. The total number of the overall inspections is 752,000. 19,000 people were removed from the system who were violating transient rules, something that Janno talked about all the time, that people were allowed to violate transient rules and they were being ignored. We did not continue that.
After our operation announcement on January 6th, 75,000 summons. Chief Wilcox and his team responded accordingly. No more standing back watching summonsable offenses. Over 75,000 summons were issued. Over 5,500 people were arrested for violating and committing crimes on our subway system. And so I'm proud of what they have done after we made that announcement on January 6th.
We're heading into a new phase of our plan. We're going to ratchet up our efforts to address serious crime and help those with severe mental health problems. And we are going to do it in a methodical and strategic way because that's how we got the results we were looking for. We're going to continue to do it in a well organized, coordinated, methodical way.
Of the nine homicides that we've had on the subway system, this is why we're zeroing in today on mental health, 40 percent of those homicides came from people with the mental health history. 40 percent. This is our focus. Dealing with people who have mental health illnesses must be a focus of any plan moving forward. The New York City Police Department has had to remove 1,500 emotionally disturbed persons from the system this year — 1,500 — to prevent some form of incident from taking place. And this investment we're making today on mental health support is crucial to how we accomplish the goal of New Yorkers being safe and feeling safe. That's the combination we're talking about. When the governor talk about cops, cameras, and care, all three must come together to reach this goal.
The commitment that the governor has just announced is going to make a major difference going forward. The resources will fund approximately 1,200 overtime hours — shifts a day, or approximately 10,000 overtime men and women hours a day. Think about that for a moment. That's the omnipresent we're talking about. This will dramatically increase police presence on our trains, deter crime and disorder. That uniform means a lot. When people see the officer walking through the trains, when people see the officers on the platform, this is going to allow us to compensate and have that visible omnipresent we're looking for. It will allow greater enforcement of subway rules. It will curb fare evasion. We just arrested a gentleman who evaded the fare. He was carrying an automatic weapon on his possession. People who evade the fare, in many cases, they're coming into the system to commit a crime, and that is why we're zeroing in on fare evasion. This will also provide the extra personnel we need to engage with people who are clearly in need of mental health support.
And I won't rest and the governor won't rest and our team won't rest until this system is a safe place for all who utilize the system. We must address the perception and the reality of public safety. And that perception is what people are feeling. People say over and over again even if they're not immediately the victim of a crime, they're saying, "We feel unsafe. And we must address both those as aspects of public safety. And this expanded partnership we're announcing with the governor will do just that. The governor has been a steady partner. I cannot thank her enough. From the first day of taking office, she has been clear on why public safety is the prerequisite to the prosperity of this city. She has helped in shutting down the iron pipeline. She has focused on gun traffickers and illegal guns with us stood, side by side. She pushed against the activist Supreme Court and challenged some of the rulers and decisions that have come down from the Supreme Court. And she put crime and public safety at the top of her agenda, something that I did and I truly believe in. We've reached many milestones together, but this is a long road and we have a long way to go. New Yorkers need to feel safe and they need to be safe while they're riding the subway morning, noon, and night. And today's announcement is going to accomplish that.
And so governor and Janno and the entire team, I thank you for what we have accomplished, but we know we have more to do to address the actual crime in our city and on our subways and how New Yorkers feel every day. That is something that the police commissioner and I are committed to, and that's something we're going to continue to move forward. We've made great strides on our commitment to address the issues of gun violence in this city and homicides. And we know we need to make those same strides to deal with those other major crimes such as robbery and assaults and burglaries. We're happy that during the month of September, we witnessed a decrease in felonious assaults in the city. The plan we put in place, we are seeing the results that we are looking for and what we expected. Do we have more to do? Yes, but we know we're going to turn around the crime issue in the city, above ground and below ground, and what we are putting in place has accomplished much of the goals we set forth, and we're going to continue to move in the right direction. Commissioner?
Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Thank you, Governor Hochul. I'm pleased to be joined here with Janno Lieber, CEO and chairman of MTA and some other representatives. Keeping our subway safe is of paramount importance to the NYPD and the MTA, and we're pleased to partner in this endeavor. I want people to know that the NYPD will never waiver from that commitment to everyone in this city across the system. The NYPD is launching our transit safety awareness campaign. One crucial part of this plan is communication — the open, free communication between the Police Department, the transit authority, and the people that we serve. Everyone across the city, we need the public to know that the police are here for them. So in close collaboration with the MTA, subway conductors will announce when their train is entering a station where a transit district is housed, and where exactly those districts are located in that station.
An announcement will also be made by the conductors whenever they see a uniformed officer on the platform. These announcements are so riders are aware that the police are there, and they can offer assistance as needed. With the mayor's and the governor's assistance, we are going to continue to enhance and increase the coverage system-wide, by extending and adding to the tours of officers with specific focus on the active train stations and lines. NYPD officers will be on platforms and riding the trains and can address any issue in real time. A third component of this campaign is our Community Affairs Bureau officers out with our crime prevention division, actually visiting stations, handing out pamphlets, and educating riders on subway safety. This is all on top of the thousands of train runs, platform sweeps, and station inspections done by our officers in the transit system every single day.
This campaign adds additional levels to our visibility in the subway system. It is all part of our highly visible, intelligence-driven approach to subway safety. We take this very seriously. It plays a critical role, as the mayor said, of keeping the subway safe, and making people feel safe too. As the mayor said, the efforts that was announced at the beginning of the year with the mayor and the governor has seen progress, but we know we have so much more to do. It is because of our increased engagement that we have seen these successes, but again, we know people want to see police officers. You can hear and see the exhalation when people see a police officer enter the train, ride the train, and are on the platform to assist them when needed. We want to make sure we have the omnipresence with the announcements and with the increased officers or on the trains. It's my pleasure to introduce our partner in this endeavor, CEO and chairman of the MTA, Janno Lieber.
Janno Lieber, Chair and CEO, Metropolitan Transit Authority: Thank you, Commissioner Sewell, for your incredible partnership. Thank you, Mayor Adams. Thank you, Governor Hochul. This has been a tough couple of weeks for New Yorkers who use the mass transit system. They've been hearing things that are alarming to them. We've been through this in the past. We have seen episodes where subway safety came into the public eye, because everybody rides the subways. It's where all New Yorkers experience safety. So when they see something bad happen, they said, that could have been me. What we didn't have before, was this partnership, leadership of Governor Hochul and Mayor Adams, the partner closeness between the state and the city to figure out solutions. Let's be honest, for a long time, elected officials looked at the MTA and kept the challenges the MTA comes across cyclically at arm's length. That's not what's happening here. We've got a governor and a mayor who are passionate and have been talking about this since the beginning of the year.
I just want to be clear. What Mayor Adams said is true. I go out to those end of line stations in the middle of the night, and I see the cops of the NYPD and the outreach workers out there, and I see them appropriately and humanely trying to coax people, who are struggling and are living in the public space, into services. I've seen the success that they've had. But the toughest people to reach are the ones that Governor Hochul talked about. We're talking about people with severe mental illness, we're talking about people who have psychosis, we're talking about people who are hallucinating, and their struggles in public are upsetting. Watching them struggle and watching them not make the choice to move into services is painful. Now we have leadership at the state level that says we're going to help those people make sure that they get services, and we have leadership in city hall saying, "We are going to..."
Think about the numbers that the mayor put out there. We're talking about close to doubling the presence numerically of the transit police force. The mayor has been talking about this since the day he got into office — an ex-transit cop who's passionate about subway safety, and he's had a partner in the governor. The MTA is contributing by leveraging our very large presence at four major commuter rail hubs — Grand Central, Penn, Jamaica, and Atlantic Terminal — to take over some of the space that the NYPD has to cover, so that they can even further redeploy officers so we can maximize the presence, the omnipresence, what a great word, omnipresence in the system. I just want to note that what the police commissioner said is exactly right. Seeing a police officer is the one thing that our riders tell us makes them feel safer. Now there are going to be a lot more police officers available to make that difference.
I just want to underscore the importance of the mental health initiative the governor has set in motion. We're joined by Commissioner Sullivan of the Office of Mental Health, and my office, with the leadership of Governor Hochul's team, has been in dialogue with her. We have to help these severely mentally ill people get out of the public space, get into treatment, get stabilized. The multi-pronged care strategy that the governor has set in motion is really a huge start. As I said, we've had challenges, both of reality, we're nowhere like where we were when Mayor Adams was policing the system in the 80s and the 90s numerically, but we're having alarming episodes that scare New Yorkers and have to be dealt with. We are responding today with the leadership of our governor and our mayor, by attacking both the reality of safety in the subway system, and the perception as well.
I am so grateful for the partnership of the Police Department, I don't want to underemphasize it, to make sure that we are communicating every time so that our riders know that the cops are there. Do you know that every day I read about what arrests are made, and a huge portion of them are (…) something bad happened, but there was a cop on the platform, and the rider was able to alert someone and there was intervention or an arrest. The end of line operation, I don't want be repetitive, but the end of line operation and the interventions at the fare gate for fare evasion, every day, literally every day a fare evasion arrest or stop. They're usually tab summons, it's not arrests, leads to a loaded gun being taken off the streets. This is working, but we have to do more, and today we're hearing from the mayor and the governor, the leadership and the partnership that says we are doing more. Thank you both.
Governor Hochul: With that I’ll be able to take any on-topic questions.
Question: Thank you. Governor, Mr. Mayor, just a question. All of you have said today that people tell you that they feel safer when they see a police officer on the train, but some of the recent fatal attacks that have taken place, the shooting of the 15-year-old, and the man who was pushed into the tracks in Queens, happened at places where there were police officers. So this idea that it serves as a deterrent, how do you answer that to people who say, "Well, this is happening even when police are at the station?"
Commissioner Sewell: I think police at a station will always be some level of deterrent. There are those who are motivated to commit offenses, or people who are suffering from mental illness, that it may not be as much, but I think it's important that we do deploy our officers so people do feel safe. Then hopefully we can deter that behavior or prevent that behavior, or as Janno said, we can make an early apprehension as quickly as possible. We have to have our officers in these stations.
Mayor Adams: … Because this is very important. We have to look at the totality of public safety. What we have found in our analysis that when that police officer makes that quick apprehension, he's prevented the repeated crimes. There's a small number of people who are repeated — committing these crimes. Just the other day, Stillwell Avenue, a fare evasion, two in one day, one carrying a .22, another carrying a .45 automatic. So it's about when you make those quick apprehensions, when you are on the system, that helps people realize there's a police officer there, they are feeling better about that uniform present. That's the number one thing we hear, I see a cop, I feel better, I feel safer. That cop making that quick apprehension prevents this person from repeatedly conducting that crime.
Question: And if I... Sorry, go ahead.
Governor Hochul: I just want to also add that the MTA is going to be ensuring that there are security guards at the turnstiles as well so they can monitor situations, that if someone sees something, hears something, they have one more person they can speak to while they're in the station, but also to deter. You talk about the person apprehended… fare evasion, but then they actually are apprehended and they have a weapon with them. That's what we're talking about — is having different points where people see that presence, whether they first arrive on the platform in the train, and not only do the commuters see this, but also the people who may be intentionally wanting to do harm. Now, that doesn't account for someone who has a mental health episode where it's uncontrolled behavior. That is why we're working so intently to get those people, and they've been identified, they just needed a place to go, and that's why we quickly amassed the resources, location, and staffing for the beds to give those people a place to go.
Mayor Adams: Hold on one moment, because this is so important, what you raised, Gloria. Go back to January 6th. January 6th, we talked about what has historically been. We ignored fare beaters. On January 6th, we came in, this administration, governor and I got together, we said we're not ignoring that anymore. We've been catching people evading the fare, carrying guns, going on our system, potentially committing crimes. We zeroed in on it and said we're no longer going to have a policy where we're going to ignore fare beaters. January 6th, we stated that we're going to remove the encampments off our system, because people felt disorder based on all those encampments. We did that. You ride through the system right now, you don't see encampments at every other station. We zeroed in on those with mental health illnesses.
People attacked us from doing it and we said, no, this is not the right thing to do. Over 2,000 people that were sleeping on our system, we put them into other ways, safe havens, wraparound services. So, the plan we rolled out January 6th, I believe allowed us to ensure that we're beating the numbers from 2019, 18, 17 and 10 years ago because we strategically did this, and now we're here today saying we're going to zero in on those 40 percent of our homicides. 40 percent were people with mental health illnesses we are zeroing in on that. So, this plan methodically moving forward is what we accomplished. Although in January 6th when we did this, people were yelling, saying it's the wrong thing to do. We did the right thing. And that is why we saw the success that we did.
Question: You care about the numbers. You said 1,200 overtime shifts, is that 1,200 more police officers or they're just being held over? And how many security guards and are they armed security guards?
Commissioner Sewell: I'll answer for the police officers, there's 1,200 overtime shifts — the equivalent of 1,200 overtime shifts. So, we could do eight hour shifts that we can extend towards as well. So, that's the equivalent of 1,200 overtime shifts.
Commissioner Sewell: They are in addition to what we already have there, this is an additional overtime shifts and (inaudible).
Governor Hochul: The security guards will be in uniform but not armed.
Mayor Adams: And we did this, we did this in 1984. Janno, going back to when I was a transit police officer coming out the academy, crime was high, not as high as it is now. Crime was high. I did what was called APs, eight at night to four in the morning. Every night we had to do an additional two hours. We use that over time to do the omnipresence that we're looking for. It was successful, it drove down crime, and that is what we're doing now. We're having officers out there during the times that we're seeing the highest level of crime, the highest level of ridership, we're doing a complete analysis of getting that omnipresence that's needed to re-put the faith and safety in our system.
Governor Hochul: And just to the state's involvement in this is to support the mayor with the overtime by helping to free the overtime costs through our Public Emergency Safety Fund in the short term. And then also look at dedicated sources going forward because obviously this is not a budgetary expense that was accounted for. So, that's the assistance that the state is providing. This is our communication together. You did this, you need some extra help, we're there to support you.
Mayor Adams: The number crunches will have to get that for you. I'm bad at math.
Question: Good afternoon. Mayor Adams, can you tell us what was discussed at the crime summit and specifically if bail reform was a topic that came up? If not, why not considering the feelings of crime in New York City?
Mayor Adams: First of all, we had a good healthy cross section interaction. Governor's office, lawmakers, public advocates, district attorneys, defense attorneys, judges. I was just extremely impressed in the room. And here's what we came away with. Everyone wants to point one word to dealing with the criminal justice issue. We have bail reform, bail reform, bail reform. No, it's more than that. There are many rivers that feed the sea of violence and we discussed every river in the room, a part of them today and tomorrow we are going to discuss more. Everything was part of our conversation. The problem of crime is not one incident. We want to keep thinking it is, but it's not. And that's what we put on the table today. What is the role of the police, the judges, lawmakers, prosecutors, defense attorney? How do we come together and deal with the criminal justice problem? Everything was discussed for today's session and we're going to follow up tomorrow's session.
Question: Hi, many people experiencing homelessness, experiencing mental health issues say that they actually feel safer on subways rather than in the shelter system. Is there anything that the city, the state can do to make people who are unhoused feel safe?
Mayor Adams: First of all, no, they don't. That's what people like to say. That's a soundbite. “People rather live on the street. They rather live there.” If you are dealing with severe mental health issues, how do you make that determination? If you are a schizophrenic, if you are bipolar, if you are walking the subway system with no shirt on in 20 degrees weather, no shoes on, yelling at yourself, how do you make that decision? I feel better about being in the subway system than being in a place where I could get wraparound services. I refuse to subscribe to those who continue to say people are better off living in a tent on the street, living in a subway system under stairs, or waiting to create a crime for someone. That's not acceptable. And I don't buy that theory, I don't accept that theory. Our shelter system is a humane place where you can give wraparound services and the care that you deserve. We can't be a city where we allow people who are in danger to themselves and others to walk our street. That is not going to happen in this administration.
Governor Hochul: And what I'd offer is that we've identified the most severely mentally ill individuals through our SOS teams. We put people out there to see who they are, who literally cannot take care of themselves. But because there has not been a place to take them, have had to remain there. That's what we're announcing here today — in addition to the homeless shelters — that there now will be facilities stood up, which have not been there before, supporting the local — the private sector but now the state is taking responsibility to provide true services. I'm not talking about overnight, I'm talking about longer term care where they're not discharged until they really can function on their own or on a program of therapy, doctors, medication. And I would say the people I talk to who are on the subways every day, they know who they are too. They're the most frightening because they don't know if they're going to have an episode that could result in harm to them or their children. That's where the fear originates and that's what we're focused on in this continuum of how to tackle this very complicated situation.
Mayor Adams: That's right.
Question: Quick question. So in regards, when it comes to policing, obviously you guys are talking about policing being important and being number one priority when it comes to tackling this issue. What would you guys say in regards to residents that believe that some police officers are doing their job and then we've seen other police officers on the subway tracks, I mean on the subway station congregating, they're on their phones, they're not paying attention. We've seen throughout different subway stations where police officers are all together, all around talking amongst themselves, not paying attention to what's going on. Well how would you address that to residents of New York?
Mayor Adams: And the commissioner is here, we have… Chief Wilcox is here and I concur with you on those numerical minority that are out there that didn't get the memo. And we are clear on reinforcing our expectations. Now that's not to say that every time we see an officer on his phone… because now technology is on their phone, their memo books, and other aspects of doing the job. But not being aware, situational awareness, congregating together, having four or five officers standing at the token booth or four or five officers congregating together, that is not patrol. That is not patrol. And I think it's unfortunate that for the last eight years we have not taught officers how to patrol this system correctly. And we are now going back to the basics, just as I was taught as a transit police officer, patrol is not spending eight hours standing somewhere. It is patrolling the system, looking out for those who are trying to harm innocent people. That is the type of policing we're doing. Commissioner.
Commissioner Sewell: And so to the mayor's point, as I'm sure you remember, the mayor made this an issue very early on that he did not want congregating and it's been addressed. As he also stated, those phones that you see the officers carrying, they are computers. They do a lot of their work on those phones. They use those to give directions to tourists, to log their calls, to see — be on the lookout alert. So, those cell phones are crucial to their job as well. But we are also concerned when they don't have the situational awareness that we're looking for here, but we see progress. Their summons are up, their arrests are up, their interactions are up, their end of the line operations are up. So, we see the progress that our offices are making based on their activity and based on their engagement with the City of New York.
Mayor Adams: Thank you.