Eric Adams won the Democratic primary for mayor because he was the only candidate promising to do something about New York City’s crime problem. It’s a big job, so here are five tips from the most successful law-and-order leader the city has ever had: Rudy Giuliani.
The former mayor says it breaks his heart walking around the city these days to see all his good work unravelling, 20 years after he left office.
“I was close to crying when I drove through Times Square the other day,” he says. Giuliani had returned to the city earlier this year from three months traveling around the country. “I was shocked at how the city had deteriorated . . . All of a sudden I saw graffiti everywhere.
“Times Square was a symbol for me. [Back in 1994] I thought if I can change Times Square, I can change anything.”
After making his name as a federal prosecutor crusading against the Mafia, Giuliani won the 1993 mayoral election, like former cop Adams, by running on a law-and-order platform.
The city was gripped by an epidemic of deadly gang violence. Crime, grime and signs of disorder were everywhere. As anyone remembers who lived here in those dark days, Times Square was a no-go zone.
Giuliani embraced social scientist James Q Wilson’s theory of a few career criminals who commit the bulk of the crimes.
It only takes a few career criminals acting with impunity to cause mayhem, he says, citing the case of a homeless man charged last month with randomly pushing a 65-year-old Asian woman down the stairs of the Herald Square subway station, a few months after being arrested for punching another elderly Asian woman without provocation. He had 77 previous arrests.
“There’s a point where you say let’s give the public a break. Put him away for a while. Bill de Blasio has no concept of career criminals. To him everyone is the one marijuana [charge] guy who goes to jail for ten years.”
Giuliani also implemented Wilson’s “broken windows” theory of policing in which you address small crimes of disorder – graffiti, fare evasion, squeegee guys – to prevent worse crimes.
“If you pay attention to the small things it teaches society a lesson. [Former NYPD Commsioner Ray Kelly used to say graffiti is an invitation to commit crime.”
But de Blasio scrapped all that.
After more than a decade as the “safest big city” in America, crime is spiraling out of control.
Giuliani says there are “two special reasons”: de Blasio and Gov. Cuomo.
Two disastrous policies by the hapless pair “burst the dam open” on violent crime.
Cuomo’s no-bail laws, which came into effect January 2020 disgorged recidivists onto the streets while de Blasio wasn’t opening the doors of Rikers using the excuse of the pandemic to release infected prisoners onto the streets.
The second dumb move was disbanding the elite anti-crime squad responsible for taking illegal guns off the street.
So, this is Giuliani’s blueprint for Adams — or Republican candidate Curtis Sliwa if by some miracle he wins in November — to bring down crime:
1. Restore the anti-crime units
“Skilled police officers who take guns away from bad guys who don’t register their guns.”
Expert cops with years on the job can look at a crowd and “smell a gun . . . They develop unbelievable instincts.”
2. Reinstitute a modified policy of stop-and-frisk
“Limit the numbers and do them right. Put police on a stricter regime and make sure all stop-and-frisks are documented.” The new mayor may want to give it a different name but the “constitutionally approved” practice is crucial to removing illegal guns. It got a bad name in the Bloomberg era when it was overused and branded racist.
But “these murders unfortunately are happening in poorer black areas. We’ve got to get away from the idea the police are targeting black people. Almost all our stops of black people emanated from complaints given to us by other black people, the victims.”
Getting guns off the streets stopped black on black violence. “You have to do it delicately given we are in a left-wing city…. If you do it too much, the police get sloppy and you give the liberals a chance to go after you.”
3. Re-fund the police
Restore $1 billion the City Council cut from the NYPD budget last year and hire more police.
4. Restore qualified immunity and morale
By backing cops and giving them back the legal protection stripped from them that now leaves them open to being personally sued and financially ruined if an arrest goes wrong. De Blasio has qualified immunity, as does every member of the City Council.
5. Scrap Cuomo’s bail reforms
“Prevail on the governor to do away with the no-bail laws [and] make it an issue in the gubernatorial campaign. The mayor can say, ‘I’m not going to support anyone that doesn’t stop the bail law that’s killing my citizens.’ ”
The bottom-line message from Giuliani is: “You’re not going to stop the epidemic of violent crime with social workers.”
No doubt Adams will cop it from the liberal left if he follows Giuliani’s prescription, but that is what his voters expect of him. His victory shows how out of touch and inconsequential The New York Times and Democrat progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez are. Both opposed him.
Kamala’s lousy poll position
A new poll shows most voters take a dim view of Vice President Kamala Harris’ handling of the border crisis.
Only 33 percent of likely US voters say she has done an “excellent” or “good” job in the Rasmussen Reports survey, while 48 percent rate her job performance as “poor” and another 13 percent call it “fair.” Women are more negative about her than men than men.
Admittedly, President Biden handed her a poisoned chalice when he gave her the job of “fixing” the crisis.
But she blotted her copy book when she couldn’t answer even the gentlest media questions about why she had avoided the border for three months.
It will take a long time for her to live down her meltdown with NBC’s Lester Holt, when she replied, “I haven’t been to Europe” when he asked why the border czar hadn’t been to the border.
Even when she finally went to El Paso last month, she snapped at a reporter: “It’s not my first trip.”
She seems mortally offended at the mildest challenge and apparently keeps a blacklist of journalists who don’t “appreciate her life experience.”
Her thin skin comes from her experience in bright blue California, where a sycophantic media never asked uncomfortable questions. She was feted for her identity and developed her startling laugh disarmed critics.
The upshot is that she is just not match fit to answer criticism.
It’s not fair to blame her for the immigration crisis that the president created all on his own, but unless she figures out how to answer to the public, her popularity will keep sinking.