Adams underwater with NYC voters on crime issues

AP Photo/Frank Franklin II

Not good for the Democratic mayor, considering one of his major selling points as a candidate was his years of experience as a member of the NYPD. Eric Adams was supposed to restore some sanity to the city after the madness of Bill de Blasio, but in the months since he’s taken office crime has continued to increase across five boroughs, and now a new poll from Quinnipiac provides evidence that Adams’ honeymoon with the electorate is over.

The majority of voters – 57% – disproved of Adams’ handling of crime, compared to the 37% of respondents who said they approved of how the mayor is addressing the public safety issue. That was significant change from the last poll’s results in February, when 49% of New Yorkers said they approved of how Adams was handling crime and 35% of voters said they disapproved.

“Mayor Adams gets a positive score on his job performance, but it’s tepid. The biggest weight on his numbers: crime. It’s by far the most urgent issue and voters are holding him accountable,” Quinnipiac University Polling analyst Mary Snow said. “In the wake of April’s mass shooting on the subway along with an increase in major crimes, confidence slips in the mayor being asble to reduce gun violence.”

According to the poll, crime is the number one issue by far among the electorate, with 49% of respondents calling it the most urgent issue for the city and its leaders to address. By contrast, the second most important issue, at least according to those who were surveyed, is affordable housing, but only 15% of respondents called it their top priority.

The majority of respondents – 53% – answered that they were either not so confident or not confident at all that Adams will succeed in reducing gun violence. That’s a drastic flip from the February poll results that showed 58% of voters were either very confident or somewhat confident in Adams’ abilities to drive down the number of shootings plaguing the city where he once served as a police sergeant.

As the poll results were released Wednesday, Adams was in Los Angeles to participate in a panel discussion at the Milken Institute Global Conference. Earlier in the week, the mayor attended the 2022 MET Gala donning a suit with the words “End Gun Violence” emblazoned on the back.

There is a little bit of good news for Adams as far as crime stats go, with shootings and homicides declining noticeably in April compared to last year. It’s just one month, however, and the overall crime rate in the city is still far higher than it was just a couple of years ago.

April, marked by the Brooklyn subway shooting where 10 people on a crowded train were wounded, saw a 38% plunge in homicides compared with the same month last year. Shootings fell 29.1% from April 2021.

Compared with April 2020, homicides were down about 14% and shootings up about 88%, data showed. Other major crimes — burglary, felonious assault, robbery, grand larceny and auto theft — continued to increase at a pace that has disturbed some criminal justice experts, rising 34% in April and driving the yearly total well above 2021.

And crime overall actually continued to increase last month, with “serious crimes” 42% higher than what was reported in April of last year.

Adams clearly has his work cut out for him, especially with New York’s dysfunctional criminal justice system still spitting violent offenders back onto the streets despite posing a danger to the community at large. But the mayor’s myopic focus on “guns” and not the individuals pulling the trigger isn’t particularly helpful, especially given the fact that the Supreme Court appears poised to recognize the right of the people to not just keep arms in our home, but to bear them in self-defense as well. I’m sure Adams and a majority of NYC council members will do everything they can to keep as many barriers in place between residents and their 2A rights, but a war on guns simply isn’t the answer to New York’s violent crime problem, and denying individuals their right to carry a firearm for self-protection only helps criminals, who much prefer their victims to be unarmed and helpless than ready and able to fight back.