Mayor Eric Adams said he was “excited” to work with newly elected Gov. Kathy Hochul to reform the state’s bail law Thursday, after declining to take her to task for rising crime in the run-up to the election.
But he said fellow Democrats, in New York and nationally, must stop “being afraid to talk about” rising crime and citizens “feeling” unsafe.
Adams, 62, made the statements Thursday on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” where he conceded that fears of rising crime in the boroughs were a real problem, and the situation was exacerbated by a 2019 Albany law that does away with cash bail for most misdemeanors and some felonies.
The mayor used the nationally televised post-election forum to call on Democrats to respond to New York City residents’ “feeling” that crime is getting out of control, shifting tone weeks after blaming the media for creating a false “perception” about safety in the city.
“I use the acronym ICE — inflation, crime, economy, that’s it. And no matter how people feel, if you don’t respond to that feeling, you abandon exactly what’s needed,” the Democrat said.
“And Democrats have a good product when it comes down to public safety. They’re afraid to talk about it,” he added.
Adams’ comments were a turnaround from an Oct. 20 interview where he downplayed fears of rising crime in the subway, contending that only a handful of serious crimes occurred underground every day.
“So, I have to deal with those six crimes a day — felony crimes — and the perception of fear,” he told CNN at the time.
A day after the interview, the mayor changed his dismissive tone, telling Fox 5 the city would not be “successful” until “New Yorkers are feeling safe,” but Hizzoner bit his tongue when asked by The Post if he was pressing Hochul on the bail reform issue during the home stretch of the election.
Days after Hochul beat back surging GOP challenger Rep. Lee Zeldin in a race that tightened as the Republican blasted Democratic leaders for ignoring public safety issues, Adams claimed Hochul would be a “real partner” in fighting crime and reforming the bail laws.
“Everyday New Yorkers, particularly in the inner city, they don’t want these repeated offenders. This catch, release, repeat system is just destroying the foundation of our country,” Adams said.
The mayor said many Hispanic and Asian voters who are usually staunch Democrats supported Republicans on Election Day because they believed the party was not addressing quality-of-life issues.
“We’re losing the base of our black and brown who really believe in those basic things: public safety, housing, education,” Adams explained.
“We cannot talk our way out of this. We have to be real as to what people are facing on the street.”
Adams said that even though murder is down in the boroughs and police have made a record number of felony arrests this year, perception is reality when it comes to governing the city and state.
“Now we must return to Albany. This is a small amount of repeated offenders. Too many people in Albany, they have dug in, and said, ‘If we change this small amount of offenders and go after them, then we are relinquishing the reform that I advocated for,’” Adams said.
“We need to recalibrate criminal justice to look after people who are victims of crimes and not those who are repeating those crimes.”