New York City Mayor Eric Adams (D) and New York Gov. Kathy Hochul’s (D) release of their plan to combat continued spikes in crime and homelessness was met with criticism for its failure to address the actual problems for citizens and the already strained NYPD.
Adams and Hochul unveiled their “Subway Safety Plan” at a joint press conference Friday. The plan begins by calling attention to the “humanitarian challenge” in the subway system signaling that the primary focus is not to address the ongoing crime wave, but rather to make a political statement.
The plan refers to the plight of the homeless as having, “gone unseen by every level of government,” before pointing out the reality that, “the lives of innocent New Yorkers, [have been] taken, simply coming into a station to take a train.”
The answer to address “communities [feeling] unsafe” is to create 30 teams comprised of psychiatrists and nurses alongside a proposed 1,000 police officers to go throughout the city to usher the homeless out of the subway and inform them of mental health options being made available to them including added beds to mental health facilities.
Today, along with @NYCMayor, I'm proud to announce new investments to address the mental health needs of New Yorkers experiencing homelessness:
➡️ $27.5M for psychiatric beds statewide, including 600 in New York City
➡️$12M for 500 additional supportive housing beds
— Kathy Hochul (@GovKathyHochul) February 18, 2022
Adams, an ex-transit cop himself, had initially tried to talk down the dangers on the subway when he took office but backtracked those remarks after severe backlash for denying the realities.
“Day one, January 1, when I took the train, I saw the homelessness, the yelling, the screaming early in the morning, crimes right outside the platform. We know we have a job to do,” Adams said before later adding, in part, “and we’re going to make sure New Yorkers feel safe in our subway system. And they don’t feel that way now. I don’t feel that way when I take the train every day or when I’m moving throughout our transportation system.”
In spite of those remarks, Adams still waited nearly a month before taking public action on the crisis. The fact remains that, aside from the public health measures intended to seek mental health care for the homeless, much of the plan laid out is simply enforcing the laws on the books.
The increased police presence will be used to see to it that already prohibited behavior like, “Lying down, sleeping, or outstretching in a way that takes up more than one seat per passenger,” will be stopped. Other rules already in place that will now be policed include no spitting, littering, aggressive behavior, or open drug use in the subway systems.
Even these simple measures might be more than the NYPD can tackle. One detective told Fox News digital, “We don’t have enough manpower to do this. The subways are too big and there aren’t enough cops.”
He further highlighted the dangers of civilian health care workers tagging along to speak to the homeless, saying, “Now the officer has to worry not only about himself but the safety of the outreach workers with them.”
Others pointed out the fruitless nature of these efforts as they fail to address the root causes of the crisis and do not prevent repeat offenders.
What will you be doing to address the cause of the mental illness – poverty, housing insecurity, domestic violence, and other structural causes?
— Beth (@impatientbeth) February 18, 2022
Beds don’t matter without adequate aftercare & resources in place to help those experiencing mental health and homelessness. We can “stabilize” ppl but then send them right back to the situations they came from. Affordable Medications, therapy, case management, housing… etc.
— Ariel ~ 🧜♀️🌼 (@theRedheadAriel) February 18, 2022
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