Issue No. 1 right now in New York City is crime, and candidate No. 1 who can fight it best as mayor is Eric Adams. That’s the main reason, though not the only one, we’re endorsing the Brooklyn borough president — who spent most of his youth in Queens — in the June 22 Democratic primary.
The spike in crime over the last couple of years, which started before the coronavirus pandemic and has only accelerated since then, is shocking. The murder rate in Queens is up 30 percent so far this year compared to last year. Shootings are up 20 percent. Rape, felony assault and auto theft are also all on the rise. Citywide, murder is up 18 percent and shootings a stunning 77 percent. We have not seen sustained spikes in crime like this for decades.
The sense of lawlessness is worsened by a concurrent rise in graffiti — including hate speech such as that recently sprayed on the Queens Vietnam Veterans Memorial and elsewhere in Elmhurst — as well as our politicians’ and prosecutors’ decisions to either look the other way when it comes to quality-of-life offenses, such as public urination and prostitution, or legalize them outright, as they did with the open smoking of marijuana. The streets are getting scarier.
Adams, who was an NYPD cop for 22 years and rose to the rank of captain, is just the mayor we need to lead us out of this mess. Where Mayor Bill deBacle forced the department to disband its Anti-Crime Unit — our city’s strongest enforcers of gun control — Adams vows to reinstate it. That alone is reason enough to vote for him. But that doesn’t mean he will let cops run wild; Adams made his reputation as a reformer within the NYPD, not afraid to call out his colleagues and superiors over racial injustice.
But as he rightly said, “The prerequisite to prosperity is public safety. We can’t see this uptick in violence.”
On post-virus prosperity, the next most vital issue facing the city, Adams says he will focus on aiding businesses where they need it, such as when navigating government red tape, and otherwise largely get out of their way. “If you are a baker, I want you just to bake,” he said during our sitdown interview. “My chamber of commerce can do the backroom work for you, and this would allow you to just focus on stabilizing your businesses and get them back up and operating.”
He wants to help not just entrepreneurs but others to connect to municipal services through a digital platform called “MyCity” that would allow for efficient information sharing. While we want to see the details, that sounds promising.
We need a mayor who will be tough but also moderate politically, and Adams fits the bill better than any of his competitors, most of whom are out in left field. (The two Republicans are both a bit nutty and nasty; whichever one wins won’t be a factor in November.) Maya Wiley is running an anti-cop campaign even as her neighborhood is protected by private security. Scott Stringer is beholden to the United Federation of Teachers, which has made a mockery of itself by standing by him despite credible allegations of sexual harassment. Dianne Morales is a far-left radical who can’t even manage her own campaign, which has seen a strike (whoever heard of that?!) and on Wednesday a mass firing in response. Ray McGuire is a moderate with a sterling background in the private sector, but his campaign never caught fire. Andrew Yang is an interesting character but that’s about it.
That only leaves Kathryn Garcia. While this page does not believe in Ranked Choice Voting, it’s the system we have, so go ahead and make her your No. 2 choice. It’s a shame she quit the de Blasio administration when the going got tough in the form of budget cuts, but she’s still better than the rest.
All except, that is, for Eric Adams. We’re proud to endorse him for mayor and hope you’ll support him at the ballot box.