All of America is witnessing a high level of violence, not just New York, Mayor Eric Adams told CNN on Tuesday.
“We’re facing a problem that is hitting our entire nation right now and that is why this is a national response,” Adams told CNN’s Dana Bash. “We need a national response to this issue.”
During Tuesday morning’s rush hour, a male passenger put on a gas mask, deployed a gas canister and began shooting at commuters as a train pulled into a Brooklyn subway station, wounding 10 people. More than a dozen others were injured as people tried to escape from the gunman.
Speaking to CNN, Adams once again touted NYC has seized 1,800 guns – about 10% of which were ghost guns – in the first three and a half months into his administration.
“This is a real herculean task and our police department is responding to every day,” the mayor said. “As I stated over and over again, there are many rivers that feed the sea of violence in our city and in our country. Let’s dam each one of them and some of that damming is going to come from assistance from the lawmakers throughout the state and country.”
The mayor said the city and others across the country need assistance from national lawmakers in empowering the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives with a permanent leader. He wants the New York legislature to make ghost guns – untraceable, self-assembled firearms – illegal.
When major crimes in New York City spiked nearly 60% in February compared to the same month in 2021, Adams announced a plan to combat gun violence, crime and homelessness in the subways. Advocates for unhoused people accused the city of criminalizing homelessness.
Crime in New York reached historic lows over the past three decades before numbers started to go up in 2020, a trend which has continued over the last two years and mirrors what is happening in big cities around the country.
Adams on Tuesday reiterated he has put initiatives in place “to deal with some of the systemic, historical problems” the city has had in dealing with crime, but, “many of the people who are on our streets that are participating in dangerous acts, they have had a bottleneck in our court system. They are not serving their time in prison like they should be.”
He told CNN the city also would double the number of transit police on patrol.
Adams suggested New York has a revolving door criminal justice system adding “too many people who are known to participate in criminal actions are still on our streets.”
A former transit police and NYPD officer, Adams reassured the public his administration is going to double the number of officers patrolling the subway system and will make sure to police “actively and aggressively identify the person” involved in Tuesday’s incident.
“I think that when you look at how miraculous this is, you have to really point to the passengers and the transit authority officials,” Adams said.
“New York has gone through a lot, from the 911 attacks, second time attack of the (World) Trade Center, to those who wanted to commit terrorism in our city and to those who do things that want to terrorize us,” Adams said. “We don’t know what is the source of this incident yet, but I call on New Yorkers to continue to be as resilient as we have often been.”