Brand-new New York City Mayor Eric Adams says there’s an unfair “perception of fear” about subway crime, just one day after another random murder on the city’s “safe” subway system.
Mentally ill homeless ex-con Simon Martial was arrested Saturday for the murder of 40-year-old consultant Michelle Go, whom he pushed in front of an oncoming subway train.
“Yeah, because I’m God,” Martial shouted at reporters while being removed by police. “Yes, I did. I’m God, I can do it.”
Martial had turned himself in to police just minutes after the murder, following a subway ride of his own.
“This incident was unprovoked and the victim does not appear to have any interaction with the subject,” new NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said on Saturday.
Earlier this month, Sewell said that “Safety throughout the subway system remains a top priority for the NYPD.” It was part of her announcement of a “comprehensive new approach” for subway crime prevention that would be “centered on having more police officers on train cars.”
Officers would be “talking with riders and listening to them because NYPD officers do not just respond to crime in our city – they prevent it and deter it,” she said.
Subway crime — as well as all serious crime — has been on the rise in New York City for the past two years.
Nevertheless, “New Yorkers are safe on the subway system,” Adams told reporters.
“I think it’s about 1.7 percent of the crimes in New York City that occur on the subway system. Think about that for a moment. What we must do is remove the perception of fear.”
It wasn’t a “perception” that pushed Michelle Go to her death in front of an oncoming subway train, Mr. Mayor.
No, it was Simon Martial who (allegedly) did that.
I had some small hopes for New York City’s new mayor, if only because he campaigned on getting tough on crime.
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“The leading Democrat in that party’s complicated primary race is Eric Adams,” I reported last summer, “running on a law-and-order platform … while he’s nobody’s idea of a conservative, Adams appears to be trouncing a field of De Blasio wannabes.”
Adams hasn’t been in office even three weeks, but his attitude reveals he could prove to be a disappointment on the one issue where he had promised real change from the De Blasio era.
So he can talk “perceptions” all he likes, but the numbers speak for themselves.
Violent crime is down a bit from 2020, but still up overall in the last two years of former Mayor Bill De Blasio’s second term. That reversed the long-term decline begun in the mid-’90s under Rudy Giuliani.
While it’s possible I’m reading too much into a single weekend statement by a brand-new mayor, Adams has real trouble on his hands:
On January 3, newly minted Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg distributed a memo setting out a number of radical changes to the office’s approach to law enforcement. For starters, he was doing away with the whole “enforcement” thing for a host of offenses: fare evasion, trespass, traffic infractions, resisting arrest, prostitution… the list goes on. With some exceptions, these offenses (among others) will no longer be prosecuted in Manhattan. Many other misdemeanors will now be met with diversion into “programs,” completion of which will also trigger non-prosecution.
“More serious charges,” the story continues, “like robbery and burglary, will be downgraded in many cases, according to the memo.”
In other words, Sewell can put all the extra cops she wants on the streets or the subways, but it won’t mean anything if the DA won’t prosecute.
New Yorkers have a lot to fear. But worse than the criminals on the street are the criminal-enablers New Yorkers themselves elected to office.
Get ready to take it gooder and harder, NYC.