Secondary Navigation

Transcript: Mayor de Blasio Holds Media Availability

December 8, 2021

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good morning, everybody. Well, when you think about all we've been through in this city over these last two years, we keep learning the same lesson over and over again. The key to saving lives, the key to moving forward, the key to our recovery is vaccination. This is what has allowed us in this city to start coming back as strong as we have. We got a lot more to do, but we made a lot of progress and New Yorkers should be very, very proud of that. We've got some information I put- I think it puts into perspective very clearly what's going on.  The CDC announced yesterday for the entire United States of America, 60 percent of Americans are fully vaccinated. Now, that's important and that's good, but let's compare now with New York City's reality, what we have all achieved together. Here's some breaking news, as of today, 70 percent of New Yorkers, every single one of us, all ages combined, 70 percent of all New York City residents are fully vaccinated. That's a very big deal. Look, we know we've got more to do, and that's why we're taking strong measures to keep moving forward. But this is the kind of fact that to tells you something about New York City, why we are as safe as we are, why we are strong as we are in the face of COVID.

Now, I've said in recent dates, we're dealing with a triple threat now The new Omicron variant, the winter months coming on, when people are going to be indoors a lot more and,  of course, something beautiful holiday gathering, but also meaning a lot of people are going to be close together. Those three pieces together mean we're going to be dealing with new challenges with COVID. The answer to that is stronger and stronger measures to fight back. But so far, what we have done has allowed us to get to 70 percent of all New York City residents vaccinated compared to 60 percent of all Americans.

We've got more to do. We've got more to do, but let's look at some of the things that have worked for sure. The incentives,  the mandates have worked when it comes to adults where 89 percent of all adults have had at least one dose when it comes to our 12 to 17-year-old New Yorkers, 82 percent now have had at least one dose. The area we need to focus on a lot is our youngest New Yorkers, of course, they've only qualified for the vaccine for a few weeks now, but we're at 20 percent, now that's a good start, but we got to go a lot farther, a lot faster.

And so, the announcement I made on Monday, the Key to NYC expansion, the focus on private sector employees, the focus on second doses, all of these are measures to help us move forward rapidly in the face of these new threats. And we can do it. New York City is already proven how much we can do. Let's go take the next step. Now, let's keep safe. And I always say whatever we do, avoid shutdowns, avoid restrictions at all costs. We do not want to go back to what we went through in 2020. So, these new measures are going to help us keep moving forward.

Now, parents, we want to make sure you get your children vaccinated, particularly youngest kids, and we've updated our NYC COVID Safe app to make it easier. I want to give a shout out to Errol Lewis at NY1, who asked me the great question. He is a parent himself. And he said, Hey, parents have to be able to store their children's vaccination information on the same app. We're now – we've updated the app to allow that to happen. So, parents, you can have your information and your kids' information on that same NYC app. The good news over a million New Yorkers have already downloaded the NYC app to date. This update, it'll make it even easier to use for families. So, go get it and use it to make sure everyone is safe.

Now, why don't you hear from a couple voices, powerful voices, that are going to put in context, why our new actions matter. The decision to ensure that private sector employers are making sure their employees are vaccinated, what that means for the safety of all of us and the future of all of us. I want you to hear first from someone who's really been a leading voice during COVID nationally. She served on the Biden-Harris Transition Committee on COVID Issues and is also Clinical Assistant Professor of Meta and Infectious Diseases at NYU's Grossman School of Medicine. My pleasure to introduce, Dr. Celine Gounder.


Mayor: Doctor, you couldn't have said it more clearly and sharply, and I really appreciate, I've always appreciated your voice over these last couple years, and I think you lay it out powerfully. We all want to move forward. This is the way we do it. Thank you so much, doctor. I want to hear from another New Yorker, who's been a powerful voice throughout this whole crisis and has so often been saying, let's take the next step to keep people safe. He's been ahead of the curve many times. He will soon be the next Manhattan Borough President, but now he is still the Chair of the Health Committee in the New York City Council, Council Member Mark Levine.


Mayor: Thank you so much, Council Member, and you've been a big piece of helping us to figure out the right path forward. Really appreciate your help all along the way.

All right, everyone. So, again, keeping New Yorkers safe, bringing the city back that's the mission.  Recovery for all of us. Now, we are one of the safest places in America right now when it comes to COVID and we are also, as we have been for a long, long time, the safest big city in America, when it comes to public safety overall, we've had some real challenges during COVID profound, painful challenges, but the city keeps fighting back. Communities keep fighting back. NYPD keeps fighting back. So, I want to go over some key facts. This is going to be the last time we talk about the efforts against crime, the efforts to create public safety and build on it in this city. We throughout the administration, we've given updates. This will be the last one of this administration. I joined by Commissioner Shea, who you'll hear from in a moment. And I want to say he and I have been on this journey together eight years, and it's important to recognize the extraordinary work of the men and women in the NYPD pre-pandemic. The amazing progress was made. And then during the pandemic-pandemic up against everything, the way the NYPD kept finding ways to make an impact and to work more with communities, no matter how many challenges. Look, right now, even looking back on the difficult year 2020, and was one of the most difficult years ever for this city. Still New York City, the safest of the top 20 big cities in this country. The current rate in New York City, the current crime rate is 10 percent below the national average.

So, the whole country has seen a horrible impact, not just of COVID and a horrible human impact of COVID, but the impact it had, the social dislocation, the increases in crime has happened everywhere, but here there has been more success fighting it back. And we got more to do, much more to do. Let me just say upfront, there is so much more to do to make the people low, the city safe. We're going to keep doing it to the last minute. I know the next administration going to take that and go farther. And we know there's some areas, where we have particular challenges. We've had particular challenges in Upper Manhattan, particular challenges in the Bronx, but in the other six borough commands, we've seen a lot of progress, a whole lot of progress in the course of this year. Looking at November specifically, November 2021, we do see some really good things.

Again, we got challenges, but we see some good indications as well, when it comes to one of the most powerful and meaningful statistics. The number of murders in this town, the decrease of 17 percent in November 2021, compared to November 2020. 17 percent decrease in murder, one month compared to the next to the last, I should say. Burglaries down 6 percent. There are indications of these efforts working, even with the challenges and look, what was really powerful, was the Safe Summer NYC initiative. A lot of work went into to it. After 2020, we saw such profound challenges. A very powerful strategy was put together by the spring of this year. It was put into effect. Since that policy was put into effect in the spring of 2021, shootings and murders went down, they actually went down in the course of the summer compared to the previous year. That is only a second time that's ever happened since 1993, that during a summer crime levels went down compared to the previous summer. That is a tremendous credit to Commissioner Shea, to Chief Harrison, to all the men and women of the NYPD. Since the Safe Summer initiative was implemented in May of this year, murders down 12 percent compared to the same timeframe, 2020.Shootings down 13 percent compared to the same timeframe, 2020. Unfortunately, around the country, we saw very painful difference. We saw a much worse situation, big cities, some of the biggest cities in the country, Los Angeles, Houston, Philadelphia, San Antonio, Austin, unfortunately all had substantial increases in murders and shootings. New York City went the other way, the better way. There's a lot more work to do, but what we know throughout not only these last couple years of COVID, but what we know overall is some basic concepts worked and they will keep working. I'm going to talk about neighborhood policing. I'm going to talk about precision policing but let me give you the overall.

Now, looking at the full eight years, we've all been here together and the work that Commissioner Shea has done, not only this role in his previous roles, Deputy Commissioner, John Miller, who's with us. And so many other members of the team, many of whom have been through the whole eight years in crucial positions making this happen. Here's the bottom-line, index crimes, those major crimes that are the number one focus we have when we talk about where we're going on public safety, those index crimes. Over the last eight years, index crime in New York City has decreased 11 percent from the beginning of this administration to now index crime has decreased 11 percent. 

Huge decrease and how did it happen? Precision policing. That's the focus on the small number of people who drive the violent crime. And when there was a day a few years ago early in the administration, Bill Bratton said to me, look, in a city of well over eight million people, there's only a few thousand who drive most of the violence. The focus, the incessant focus on those people has made a huge, huge impact. The gang takedowns, taking shooters and violent people off the streets, the incredible work of the gun suppression division. Gun arrest no, the highest they've been in many, many years. So precision policing, also neighborhood policing. This is something we innovated over these years. It works. It is a game changer. The focus – relentless focus on building closer relationships between police and community, sharing information, creating common strategies, creating a bond, and the focus on the community being more involved, helping to choose precinct commanders, being involved with the police closely, the focus on de-escalation, making sure there's fewer and fewer problems between police and community. The focus on community based solutions to violence, the extraordinary work of the Cure Violence Movement, the Crisis Management System, all of this has come together, and the initiation of body worn cameras so much has been done. 

You know, we started the administration ending the broken and abusive strategy of stop and frisk as it was previously practiced. We ended that, we initiated a new era of policing with neighborhood policing. The focus in neighborhood policing, precision policing, has worked. Now last few years have been incredibly difficult, and a lot of tough lessons learned, but the NYPD even in this adversity did amazing things, absolutely amazing things, and they deserve tremendous credit. And remember, that's with one of the most profound social disruptions in the history of this country with COVID and with a court system that has not functioned for the last two years, and that lack of consequences has profoundly hurt our efforts, and yet we've all kept going. Look, pre-pandemic it was so clear, shootings driven down constantly. Listen to this 2019 pre-pandemic compared to 2013, the last year of the previous administrations, shootings down 30 percent in that timeframe. With more and more interaction and connection between police and community, more and more common bond between police and community, fewer and fewer arrests, fewer and fewer incarcerations, shootings went down. That was the brilliance of neighborhood policing, and I believe for years to come, it will be recognized as a turning point and it will be built on in the future.  

So a lot has worked and there's a lot more to do. I want turnout to a man who's been part of it every minute, since the very beginning of this administration and has been the innovator of a lot of strategies that have had a, a profound impact on keeping New Yorkers safe. And I also want to say, you know, Commissioner Shea is going to be retiring after a long and very distinguished career in the NYPD. I want to thank him on behalf of all 8.8 million New Yorkers, but I want to thank you personally, Dermot,  

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea: Thank you.  

Mayor: We've been on this journey together and our whole team of City Hall working with you. It has been a challenge and there's also been a lot wonderful moments of success and progress, and you should be very, very proud of your contributions to this city. And also the ideas, I remember some of our earliest conversations, ideas that we all hoped we could put into action. Well, guess what? A lot of those actually worked and it’s something to be proud of, my pleasure to introduce Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.  

Commissioner Shea: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. It's – as I sit here listening, it's like a walk down memory lane of, I don't know where the years went. We'll get into the numbers and I know we're doing a press release with the questions and that'll flush out, but really what I'd like to start with today is just acknowledging the work of so many partners and so many men and women that go out there every day and try to keep New Yorkers safe. So, I'll start with you know, the prosecutors because we do not do this alone. So, all the five district attorneys and their staffs that like many other essential workers, came in during COVID, answered the call have been there through thick and thin. over the years, not just the last eight years, but over 30 years. Many have become friends. Thank you for what you do for this city. I could go on to the many partners in the community that are as essential as any anyone to keep crime down and to make neighborhoods safe. To our federal partners that sit on task forces with us, that work with a new initiative that we have going on to try to keep New Yorkers safe, bringing all public safety components together. Thank you for what you do. We could not do what we do to keep New Yorkers safe without your input and your dedication. And mostly to the men and women in the New York City Police Department, uniform and civilian, it has been a privilege and an honor to lead you over the last two years. You are without a doubt, the most dedicated group of professionals that I have ever had the privilege to work with. Your innovativeness, you are the best trained, you are the most resilient police department, and I think you have been the glue that has kept this city together as. As the Mayor said, a very difficult time, facing many challenges over the last two years. So, thank you for what you do.  

What we will talk about when we talk about the crime statistics for the month of November, what we are seeing is recidivism, and that will be the challenge I think to build on and to make inroads in for the next administration. When you see some of the shootings that we see, I'll just throw a few statistics out at you that we were going over this morning, on the people that we are seeing currently being arrested for shootings, 30 percent – almost – have an open felony case. These are indicators of challenges ahead that we have to kind of hone, and make improvements on. On youth arrests that we make – and when we talk about youth being arrested, under 18 years of age. The number of arrests that are made on youth in this city that are for a firearm is now 10 percent, 10 percent of all the arrests we're making. That is a jump up. So, when we see a lot of good news, a lot of improvement that we've made, we know we have a lot of work to do, and I have a 100 percent confidence that it will be the men and women of this police department, police officers and detectives, working with all their partners to make sure we continue to be the safest big city in America. Thank you, Mr. Mayor. 

Mayor: Thank you very, very much Commissioner, and I want everyone now to hear from a voice who's been really in many ways a conscience and a visionary in terms of what we need to do in the city. He's watched very carefully over this whole timeframe and for many years before, and he leads an organization that has really been a fantastic contributor to public safety in this city. I want welcome the President of the Citizens Crime Commission of New York City Richard Aborn 


Mayor: Thank you so much, Richard, and I really appreciate the point, whole of government, whole of society, that's exactly right. Whole of government and public safety is not just the responsibility of the NYPD. There's a lot of other elements of it that the rest of the government needs to act on and support, whole of society, a 100 percent, neighborhood policing, the focus on community based solutions to violence, all of these pieces add up. I think a lot of the models here are going to have even bigger, stronger lives ahead in the city of the future. And thank you again, you've been a conscious, you've been someone who has really helped us to think about all this and act on all this, thank you to you and everyone at the Citizens Crime Commission for the great work you do.  

All right, everyone, as we do every day, let's go over our indicators, and you see an interesting combination of facts here. The first indicator, very good news. The number of vaccinations in the city keeps growing constantly and in big jumps, I'm happy to say, because of all the new realities, the new mandates, the availability of boosters. We're at today, doses of administered today, 12,719,737, absolutely astounding number, but here's where we should be concerned. We starting to see more and more the effect of more and more cases of COVID, so the daily number of people admitted to New York City hospitals for suspected COVID-19, today’s report 157 patients, confirmed positivity level 35.19 percent. Hospitalization rate per 100,000 New Yorkers, 1.06, and then new reported cases on a seven-day average, 1,990 cases, almost 2000 cases. So, this is painting the picture of both the problem and the solution. Problem, again, that triple threat, colder weather, a lot of gatherings, Omicron. Solution, more and more vaccination, stronger and stronger efforts to get more people vaccinated. A few words in Spanish now, and I want to go to what we just talked about, which is the effort to continue to deepen public safety in this city.  

[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish] 
With that, let's turn to our colleagues in the media, and please let me know the name and outlet of each journalist.  

Moderator: Good morning. We'll now begin the Q-and-A. As a reminder, we're joined today  

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller, Health Commissioner Dr. Dave Chokshi, President and CEO of New York City Health + Hospitals Dr. Mitch Katz, Head of New York City Test and Trace Dr. Ted Long,  Georgia Pestana Corporation Council of the New York City Law Department, and Director of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice Marcus Soler. Our first question today goes to Juliet from 1010 WINS.  

Question: Yes, good morning, Mr. Mayor and everybody on the call. Mr. Mayor, how many more Omicron cases have you identified in New York City? And are you concerned about clusters neighborhoods that have lower vaccination rates?  

Mayor: Definitely concerned, Juliet, because this is a real challenge. We need a lot more information on Omicron, but we do believe it's more transmissible even than Delta and that's a real concern. Again, we also believe there's community spread at this point. So, we'll keep track of individual cases, but we believe there's community spread. As to clusters, I’ll turn to. Dr. Chokshi, I think it's too early to say we've seen any clusters, but I think we are going to see more and more cases very quickly over the coming week. Dr. Chokshi. 

Commissioner Dave Chokshi, Department of Health and Mental Hygiene: Thank you, sir. And yes, the Mayor's absolutely right. We have eight cases total, thus far in New York City, but far more important than the number of individual cases is the fact that we expect that there is community transmission of Omicron already happening. We are not seeing any significant clusters at this moment, and what that means is that known Omicron cases are not linked to any one individual or event, but consistent with community transmission. Moving forward, we do have strong surveil systems in place, both in terms of our sequencing, as well as for COVID 19, overall we'll rely on those to continue characterizing the variant as it emerges, but our public health advice is clear and consistent, which is get vaccinated, get boosted, get tested, continue to wear your mask and stay home if you are sick. 

Mayor: Thank you. Go ahead, Juliet.

Question: Okay. Thank you. And, and this is for you and Commissioner Shea and John Miller. New Year’s Eve in Times Square, who and how will proof of vaccination be checked?

Mayor: So, Juliet, as I said, the other day Times Square, we continue at this point, have it moving forward with a fully vaccinated crowd gathered. We're going to continue to watch the situation with Omicron and any new developments and update people as needed. We're working with the Times Square Alliance as well as NYPD to make sure there is a system in place. So, we'll have the details on that. We'll update the public shortly, but the bottom line is if you want to participate in that amazing gathering, bring proof ID and bring your proof of vaccination.

Moderator: Our next question goes to Derick Waller from WABC.

Question: Good morning. I did want to talk about crime a little bit and specifically with NYCHA buildings. I've been trying to get in touch with them and do an on-camera interview about this for a couple months now, and they've denied that request. So, that's why I'm coming to you today. We know that a significant portion of the city's crime does happen in and around NYCHA complexes, but they actually shared with me that they still have more than 70 complexes, which represents hundreds of buildings that don't have any security cameras whatsoever. I know that the City has made progress with that over the years, but again, we still have hundreds of buildings where they don't have security cameras at the end of 2021. So, my question to you is when will every NYCHA building have security cameras?

Mayor: Derick, we are going to get you a specific update on all of the plans currently to add more cameras. You're exactly right. There's been constantly more and more cameras added throughout public housing, more are coming. We are hoping and praying that the federal government in the coming days is going to approve legislation. That will be a huge boost to NYCHA in terms of a major, major investment in public housing. That will help us supercharge those efforts. And we're certainly going to make sure that you get an opportunity to talk to folks at NYCHA about what's being done to keep residents safe. But I want to give Commissioner and Deputy Commissioner a quick moment. Just if anything you want to talk about, about the efforts being made in housing to keep residents safe.

Commissioner Shea: Thank you for the question. You know, and I agree. Anything, any movement that we could do with cameras is a win-win for the community. And it certainly helps us on both the prevention side and then solving crimes if they should occur. Regarding housing crime overall, traditionally, it's one of the stubborn spots regarding shootings in New York City, where you've probably heard me say many times that a disproportionate amount of shootings in New York City occur on New York City NYCHA property. Historically it's about 20 percent. We're actually doing better than that this year. Still too many shootings, but housing related shootings this year are down. It's at about 17 percent of the city's overall shooting. So, that is a bright spot. You are correct though when you look at housing crime this year, it is up. The most current numbers are about seven percent increase in housing related crime. What are we seeing? It's driven by domestic violence and felony assaults. So, that is what we see. We combat that in a number of ways by sending our officers out to do domestic violence related home visits. We certainly move resources around the city to different developments, as we might see any crime spike. But the domestic violence can be a difficult one to target.

Mayor: As we turn to Deputy Commissioner Miller, I just want to also take a moment to thank him, these eight years together, literally from the very first day. And thank you for being such an extraordinary architect of so much of what we've achieved, but also thank you for what you've done to keep New Yorkers safe from terrorism. Which is an effort that has been absolutely extra and literally worldwide in reach. So, thank you for your leadership and to the question at hand, what would you like to add?

Deputy Commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller, NYPD: So, Derick when it comes to housing, NYCHA developments and cameras, you know, we have three factors there. One, the legacy cameras that are in place. One of the things that we are working on with housing is when we have a crime and we need those cameras, NYCHA sends people to the scene and we download those. As they modernize their system, the place we're going is to get cameras that we can download remotely directly to the police department. So, as the Commissioner said, you can see potential suspects right away, get those descriptions out. The second factor is where we have outages. And we work with NYCHA all the time to say, where are the outages? And is it a fiber problem, where one wire has knocked out a whole development? We can get that fixed quickly. Or is it camera by camera? And then the third piece that you brought up is to get that total coverage and working with NYCHA and securing the additional funds to place those cameras in the places where they're not. Which are typically the places where crime has been lower. But the goal is 100 percent coverage. And we've been working very, very closely with them to get to two places, 100 percent coverage and direct access to those cameras so we can quickly solve those crimes.

Mayor: Thank you. Go ahead, Derick.

Question: Maybe for Commissioner Shea, but how critical is video evidence for detectives who are trying to solve these crimes? I feel like it's more crucial that it's been before?

Commissioner Shea: It's certainly very important, I would say. And in my time with the police department that now spans over 30 years particularly in the last 10 years, we have seen the use of video evidence growing exponentially. It's something that is expected. I think it's expected by people that participate in the criminal justice system, whether it's a grand jury or a trial. And it certainly puts the prosecutors at ease when together working to build cases and make those difficult decisions, which cases to go forward. It is critically important.

Mayor: Thank you. Go ahead.

Moderator: Our next question goes to Ari Feldman from NY1.

Question: Good morning, Mr. Mayor. How are you doing?

Mayor: Good, Ari. How you been?

Question: I'm doing all right. The first question is on the legislation in the Council to give local voting rights to non-citizens. You kind of demurred on your support of that legislation in the past, but it is expected to pass in a stated meeting tomorrow. Has your thinking changed or do you expect to sign that legislation?

Mayor: Yeah. Ari, right now, I still have very mixed feelings about it. I've been honest about that. That hasn't changed a bit. I think there are still some outstanding legal questions about the City's authority versus the State’s in this matter. But I respect the City Council. So, you know, we'll see what their final action is there. My assumption is I'm just going to respect whatever they do. But I do think there are still open questions on this for the future. Go ahead, Ari.

Question: Thank you. And the second question was on the expansion for children, for parents to put their children on the New York City's vaccination app. Is there a limit on how many kids you can have on there? And are children also required to show identification? How do parents prove that the children whose vax cards they have, have you know, it's the right kids on the cards on the app?

Mayor: Ari, we'll get you all the details, but the bottom line is there's no limit on how many kids you can have on your app as a parent. Again, thank you to you and your colleague Errol Lewis for helping us realize we had to fix that. It's been fixed quickly. Thank you, Commissioner Jessie Tisch and everyone at DoITT, for making that fix so quickly. As for ID, look, it's always better to have a child's ID if a parent has one. But if they don't happen to have a photo ID for that child, just having the vaccine card on it alone obviously is very, very important.

Moderator: Our next question today goes to Marcia Kramer from WCBS.

Question: Good morning, Mr. Mayor, and to Police Commissioner Shea and Deputy Police Commissioner John Miller. I was very interested in Commissioner Shea's statistics about the recidivism issues and the issues that are going to be facing the next administration. I wonder if you can expand on that? And you could suggest what solutions you have that the next administration might want to look at?

Mayor: I'll start real quick and turn to the Commissioner. And it's a great question, Marcia because this is such an important part of the future. But I want to remind you pre pandemic, literally, a few weeks before the pandemic, we talked about a vision of youth focused policing. And I've often felt that if only we didn't have this pandemic, we'd all be so much better off. But that vision could have become the dominant approach of so much of what the NYPD does. And that was really the brainchild of Commissioner Shea. So, I do think the future will be more and more engagement between NYPD and young people and families, deeper engagement. I also think it's a reminder to us that we do need a culture of consequence. And we've got to get the court system back and running. We've got to create a reality where everyone knows there are consequences for their actions. But I am hopeful that a greater focus on young people proactively is going to yield a lot in the future. Commissioner?

Commissioner Shea: Thanks, Mr. Mayor. You know as I was listening to my good friend, Richard Aborn before speak and something he said resonated where he hears all the time across the country, that people looked to the NYPD. And I could tell you that, you know, within the NYPD we are incredibly proud of that. And when you talk about something else, he said, we had accomplished just a couple years ago, what every police department and every municipality in the country, not just here, but abroad was traveling to One Police Plaza to see how are you doing it? And then you start talking about some of those concepts of whether it's neighborhood policing, precision policing. We understand that you're connecting more to the community, but how do you get crime down too? We understand how you crime down, but how do you do it with reducing incarceration at the same time? There is no one better than the men and women of this department in keeping New Yorkers safe. I have 100 percent confidence, Marcia, that we'll get back there. But when you start hearing about some of this recidivism and the shame of it is what the Mayor said. Like we were so close to what I would call the policing nirvana, where we're driving it to unprecedented levels of low crime with low incarceration. And now we were about to tackle let's cut off the system that's feeding and make sure we're doing everything possible for the kids. We know what the blueprint is. We just need to now hone it, and get back onto that path. We have to address some of the small fixes to some of the laws that are hurting us on the recidivism. I mean, we could go category by category. We're seeing upticks in all the metrics in terms of people arrested over and over. And it's the same story. It is not widespread. It is small numbers of people that unfortunately are doing some harm to New Yorkers. But I have no doubt as we move forward that'll be corrected.

Mayor: Thank you very much. Go ahead, Marcia.

Question: Well, the reason I was asking the question was because when I look at the crime stats that were released, I see some trouble spots in that these seen increases in things like a 24 percent increase in robbery, an 11 percent increase in felonious assault, a 40 percent increase in grand larceny and a 13 percent in grand larceny auto and 106 percent increase in transit. Which seems to be also the kinds of crimes that you're talking about in terms of assault and things like that. And I wonder, how do you tackle those kinds of things in this climate, given the fact that we are still in a pandemic and we still have those pandemic problems?

Mayor: Look, Marcia, it's a very important question. And I know everyone can rightfully and fairly pull out any piece of the picture and look at. I do think the overall is clear. The NYPD has stabilized the situation even while we're still in the pandemic. And started to turn it very markedly. And you can see that progress from May to present. And undoubtedly, as we come out of the pandemic and we will. We will particularly in this city where so many people are vaccinated and more will become vaccinated soon. We're going to turn the corner. But I think it is about persistently working with communities and taking the lessons we've learned and doubling down on them. That’s how, even in the midst of this summer, there was amazing progress because the NYPD doubled down on the things that it was good at. More gun arrests than we had seen in years for example. We got to get the courts working. We got to get society back more to normal. I think those are also essential pieces of getting things where we need to be. Commissioner, you want to add?

Commissioner Shea: No, I would just say, I mean, certainly Marcia as it relates to the courts, the pandemic has been a factor. But I've been very outspoken. And I stand by it. The number one issue that we are facing is changes that were done too hastily to how we deal with people that are entering the criminal justice system and putting them back onto the street too quickly. Once that is corrected, you will see very rapid improvement in, across the board in all those statistics.

Mayor: Thank you.

Moderator: Our next question goes to Michael Gartland with the New York Daily News.

Question: Good morning, Mr. Mayor, and everybody else on the call. How are you doing this morning?

Mayor: Doing good, Michael. How you been?

Question: I'm doing good. So, my first question is for Commissioner Shea, and it comes from our reporters in the shack. You know, Marcia alluded to this. I was looking at some of the stats earlier. You know, I mean, some of these lines show an upward rise, grand larceny, rape, robbery, felony assault. Can you explain why those stats have gone up? And do you feel like these sorts of spikes will define your legacy? And that's for Commissioner Shea.

Commissioner Shea: To the last point, I'll address that one first. No, I don't. I think it's you know, I'm quite confident in my ability and being able to lead this agency in all that we've accomplished. So, I sleep very well at night. What we're seeing in terms of individual stats right now, I think I've essentially given you a blueprint for the last two years of not only what I think was going to happen, but what I told you was going to happen. I told you that as the city got back to normal, as schools opened up, as people come back, you would see increases. I think that you could go rewind, push play, and literally you will see everything that I said has come to fruition. When you look at the robberies, for example, right now, what's driving, that is the entire increase is made up of shoplifting. And shoplifting is not a robbery, but it often becomes a robbery unfortunately, when there's resistance. So, there is a story behind each one of those categories that you see. You know, we could brief you later, but I don't think it's really anything new. It's things that we've gone over in the past. And as I've said before, what we need to come to grips with and acknowledge is how we manage that criminal justice system and the level of incarceration and the impact that that law has had on both.

Mayor: And, Michael, real quick, I just want to add, you know, when you ask someone about their own legacy it's – a modest person like Commissioner Shea, that's a little tough. But let me say something about Dermot Shea’s legacy. First of all, he is one of the central architects of precision policing and neighborhood policing, which, again, I believe will become models for the future all over this country and, I believe, when we get past the pandemic, are going to prove their greater value as the city gets safer and safer again. And, as he said, with fewer arrests, with less incarceration, which are big issues that people have been grappling with in this country for years and years and years. The NYPD actually proves you could drive down crime and drive down arrests and incarceration simultaneously up through 2019. But the second issue and the second legacy piece, I think Commissioner Shea will be remembered for helping to see us through COVID, for taking on one of the greatest challenges any police leader has had and finding a way to keep the NYPD moving forward during an extraordinary series of challenges and dislocations, and seeing us through it. I give him a lot of credit for that. I think that's going to be his legacy. Michael?

Question: Do you hear me? Am I on here?

Mayor: You are on, Michael. You are very on.

Question: Okay. Alright. Well, speaking of legacy, and I don't know if I'm going for immodesty here or what, but I wanted to turn to you on this Mr. Mayor –


Question: – about your legacy. And, you know, this, this has to do with two of your favorite subjects. So, I want to ask you, how do you think your relationships with former Governor Cuomo and with the media in New York City will impact your legacy? I mean, looking back, is there anything you would've done different dealing with us in the media and Governor Cuomo?

Mayor: I think history has spoken on Governor Cuomo. I think – and, unfortunately, you know, more and more keeps coming out. And I say, unfortunately, because it's sad. It really is sad. It's sad for the people of this state to see so many things that were done and that were wrong, and more will come out. I feel that I tried my very best under an extremely difficult and strange situation to deal with a Governor who was, so often, doing the wrong thing. But look – I, obviously, Michael – I'll be confessional and say, I think when there's something wrong, you can't say, oh, it's somebody else, right? I mean, if there's something wrong, and there has been something wrong in my relationship with the media – well, that's, obviously, to some extent on me. It always takes two to tango, but that's got to be, to some extent, on me. And I think in retrospect, you know, maybe in the way I debated stuff, people found it off-putting. I didn't mean it to be. Maybe it's good to acknowledge a little more openly, I’ve got my, I share of missteps. I’ve got my share of mistakes, for sure. I’ve got things I thought I was right on that I was wrong on. You know, maybe it's better to be more open about that and to just help people understand – you know, look, I think I've got some of the answers. I sure don't think I've got all the answers. So, that's something I'm going to keep working on. And I also don't think any book is fully written until it's over. So, I've appreciated these last two years. We've all been in this together. I've appreciated a very open dialogue with the media and I've often tried to be thankful for the many ways the media has helped this city through the COVID crisis. And, you know, I want to carry on in that spirit.

Moderator: Our next question goes to Marla Diamond from WCBS 880.

Question: Good morning, Mr. Mayor, and the Commissioners. This question is directed toward you and Commissioner Shea. I was struck by the statistic on children and firearms, saying that you've seen a 10 percent jump in juveniles carrying firearms. And I know your administration took metal detectors out of the school, but given this jump and the concern about school shootings, would you recommend that the next administration at least consider putting them back in?

Mayor: Yeah. Marla, I want to be clear – you know, the effort to change the approach to security and schools has gone on for many, many years, including before my administration. It's actually not the whole story to say we took metal detectors out. There's plenty of places where metal detectors have been retained. There's plenty of schools where there's been random screening over these years. I'm not someone who believes philosophically that you shouldn't use metal detectors. I believe it’s something that has to be determined by the NYPD, working with the school leadership. And there are some schools where it has not made sense and they've been very safe. And there's other schools where it's absolutely necessary. And then, there's times when it's necessary. So, I just want to really frame that. I believe it's a tool. It should be used when needed, it should be used where needed. And I would urge next administration to continue that. It's not a one-size-fits-all. It's, what's going to keep kids safe in any given circumstance. But it has to be led by the guidance of the NYPD, working, of course, through school safety. Commissioner?

Commissioner Shea: Yeah. And I would take a step back from that. You know, before the kids ever get to school and whether there's a metal director at the school or not, those guns are, unfortunately, in the house. And, you know, we're calling on all members of the community, and parents, and grandparents to get more involved, because those guns are out there. I mean, seeing it translate into the street, unfortunately, with youth involved in shooting incidents. We're seeing the percentage of gun arrest that involve a youth rise. As I quoted to you earlier, when you look at all the arrests that we make of youth in this city – and it's not staggering numbers, and that's a good thing, but when you analyze all those arrests that are made, currently 10 percent of those arrests are for a firearm. And that's up from 1.8 percent last year. So, we see the indicators. Why is that? People will debate that. You know, I will mention again though, the – that small number, that small number that are resistant – and I like the term that was used before about, you know, the community or the entire government policing, because I think that's where we have a lot of room to grow. It can't be just at the Police Department and law enforcement thinking about keeping people safe. So, how do we do it together? How do we do it in a manner that when somebody is arrested, if we're going to make a strategic decision not to put them into jail, because they're a kid, making sure that whatever happens to them gives them the best possible chance to succeed. And that can't be one agency alone having risk responsibility for that, in my opinion. It's got to be a Band Aid approach where multiple agencies, coming together, sharing information, and having that community involvement to look after the children because there's nothing more important.

Mayor: Thank you. Go ahead, Marla.

Question: And Commissioner Shea, you did speak about shoplifting as a reason why there been such a bump up in robberies? I'm just wondering if you could sort of quantify this. Are these recidivist criminals that shoplifting, how widespread is it? And how much of a challenge is it for your officers to really stop what appears to be nationwide trend?

Commissioner Shea: Well, it's probably one of the easiest crimes to stop between store security, between officers responding. The problem is that when they're arrested, we're literally letting them go, and the cops stays in and continues to complete paperwork. So, I mean that's what is drive being shoplifting. It's not just in New York City. There's a mentality of decarceration, regarding these “low-level crimes.” But what is sometimes well-intended and, I believe, missed, is that when you don't have consequences for the low-level crimes, it escalates and grows. We're up significantly in shoplifting incidents that turn into robberies, because of resistance on the part of the store owner or someone else involved. So, we continue to make arrests in these cases. I think the missing piece of the equation is what happens once that arrest is made.

Mayor: Go ahead.

Moderator: We have time for two more questions today. The next question goes to Isabel Peralta Hill from Univision.

Question: Hi, Mr. Mayor.

Mayor: Hey, Isabel. How are you?

Question: I'm going to ask you – good, thank you. I'm going to ask you this question in English and then Spanish, just so we can have it on record. It's similar to the question that was asked before. So, since recently, they have been reports of arms and knives that have been detected within schools. Is there any plan to ensure that all schools in the city have [inaudible] detectors? And in Spanish –

[Isabel Peralta Hill speaks in Spanish]

Mayor: Isabel, it’s a very important question. Thank you for it. The NYPD will decide with the school leadership of each school if metal detectors are needed. We have the option of having metal detectors permanently at certain schools throughout the year. We have the option of random scanning, meaning every few days or every few weeks. And then, in some schools, there's a decision that actually a metal detector is not needed. That's a decision that should be made by the NYPD, by the principal of the school, together – what's right for that school community. That's the best way to make that decision. Go ahead, Isabel.

Question: Thank you.

Mayor: Okay. Go ahead. Next question.

Moderator: Our last question for today goes to Julia Marsh from the Post.

Question: Hi. This is a question for the Mayor and the Police Commissioner – excuse me – from my colleague Craig McCarthy, who covers the NYPD.

Mayor: Julia, can I just –

Question: Can you hear me?

Mayor: Yeah, I just want to break in and say I was impressed by your cover art on the cover page yesterday. I just want to say.

Question: You were? What did you like about it?

Mayor: I just thought it was creative. I mean, come on, you know, you’ve got to always be impressed by the people create the Post covers and the witty phrases. That was pretty good, Julia.

Question: Do you have a favorite cover from the last eight years?

Mayor: That's going to be way up the list, I'll tell you. That's going to go on my all-time greatest hits list.

Question: Well, thank you so much for the feedback.


Mayor: The floor is yours now.

Question: Thank you very much. So, as I was saying, this is a question for both you, Mr. Mayor, and for Commissioner Shea from my colleague, Craig McCarthy, who covers the NYPD. Mr. Mayor, how can you praise the Police Commissioner who took over a department in cruise control, but, when met with adversity, instead of adjusting, he blamed the courts, bail reform, protestors to fix the surge gun violence and glossed over human rights violations, the mismanagement of the force that left Manhattan empty, allowing it to be looted, and misinformation from his office during George Floyd protests?

Mayor: Well, impressive question. That's one long question. Look, I'm only going to say this, Julia. Commissioner Shea was one of the architects of neighborhood policing and precision policing, which worked in an extraordinary way up through the end of 2019. That's a fact. That's proven. He then dealt with – as did all the men and women of the NYPD – the greatest crisis in this City's history and managed to keep us moving forward, despite it – extraordinary, ever-changing dynamics like we've never seen before. I made mistakes. I've talked about them. I'm sure the commissioner can say where he wishes he had done things differently, but I want to talk about the overall picture. The overall picture is, even in the midst of extraordinary challenges, you've seen, this year, gun arrests go up markedly, creative, new strategies, more engagement with community. You know, after the pain we went through last year, the protests, the disconnect between police and community, you could have thrown up your hands and walked away. This commissioner went right back to work as did so many other people in the NYPD re-bonding with the community, healing the wounds, finding a way forward. And now we're seeing extraordinary efforts jointly between police and community to make things better. We're seeing greater understanding of community based solutions to violence, cure violence movement, crisis management system, lots of other community based approaches and the focus on young people which again, would've-would’ve I think revolutionized policing further if it had not been for a global pandemic, but still one day will. So, you know, I think the Commissioner has a lot to be proud of and came through extraordinarily difficult circumstances and helped the city move forward. Go ahead, Julia.

Question: Oh, I'm sorry. Could Commissioner Shea answer for himself?

Commissioner Shea: I was sitting and listening and reminiscing about the last two years as I sat here. I would just say that I honestly couldn't be more proud of the work that the entire executive team that works with me and the entire department did through such demanding and tough times. I think it was challenging for everyone, but I think as I've said, many times, I consider the work that they did, the glue that held the city together through one of the toughest times this city has ever seen. So, much to be thankful for and so proud of so many things. I honestly wouldn't change a thing. You know, obviously people make mistakes and things, but the last two years to me is something that I will look back on with nothing – this may sound strange – but good memories of-of the work that we did, of the relationships that we forged the partnerships with people in the community, the friendships that were made, the experiences. It was a two-year period that I'll treasure forever.

Mayor: Thank you. Go ahead, Julia.

Question: Thank you. And then on a different topic, which we, we touched on earlier on the vaccine mandate for the private sector, I spoke to some folks in Mayor-elect Eric Adams ‘orbit, as well as some, you know, business leaders who are allied with him. And, you know, they said that, that you are handing him you know, a lot of uncertainty and confusion by enacting this, you know, four days before you leave office. I talked to a City health official who says it's nearly unenforceable. You know, there's a lot of uncertainty and confusion. So, can you address that? That you're, kind of, jumping this half-baked plan in Mayor-elect Adam's lap?

Mayor: It's fully baked, it's fully baked. I'm always a fan of the unnamed sources. I think the fact is, you know, you said you've been talking to people who are allies of the Mayor-Elect, well, I'm an ally of the Mayor-elect. I believe in him. I've been working with him closely. Our teams have been working closely together. I want to make sure that, I am doing everything right now to keep the city's safe and to hand off this city to him best possible way. And I'm absolutely convinced this mandate is necessary and it's going to work. On December 15th, we will lay out the guidelines. There are many ways to make this work. We have tremendous evidence from the Key to NYC, of a way of educating and helping businesses to achieve the goal of getting everyone vaccinated and doing it in a way where there's rarely a need for any penalty. It is proven. We've seen it with our own eyes indoor dining entertainment, fitness. We're going to do it again here and it's going to be the reason we avoid the restrictions and the shutdowns that we're starting to see another their places. So, it's the right thing to do and it's the right thing to do for the city. It's the right thing to do for the next administration. And I look forward to the handoff coming up and giving the Mayor-elect the best possible opportunity to move forward based on what we've done. Let me just thank all New Yorkers. I mean, what we're talking about today, 70 percent of all vaccinated, unbelievable. And people should be so proud of that. United States of America, 60 percent, New York City had 70 percent because you did the right thing, everyone. Thank you very, very much.



Media Contact
(212) 788-2958