Amid declining poll numbers and rising crime, Adams calls criminal justice system "a laughingstock"

AP Photo/Brittainy Newman

New York Mayor Eric Adams has blasted the city’s criminal justice system for its revolving door treatment of repeat and prolific offenders, telling reporters that criminals in the city no longer takes the court system seriously and that the criminal justice system is a “laughingstock of our entire country,” as he struggles with declining poll numbers after his first six months on the job.

According to the latest poll from Siena College, Adams approval rating has tumbled down to just 29% among New Yorkers, which makes Joe Biden’s anemic approval ratings in the upper 30s and low 40s look almost gaudy in comparison.

The poll, conducted in conjunction with Spectrum News and its NY1 affiliate, also found that 76% of residents are concerned they could be the victim of a violent crime.

“If New Yorkers had a honeymoon with Mayor Adams, it was brief and it’s clearly over. Only 29% give him a positive rating for the job he’s doing as mayor, compared to 64% who give him a negative rating,” Don Levy, director of the Siena College Research Institute, said in a statement accompanying the poll. “About 40% of adults over 65 and Black New Yorkers view him positively, but his positive rating does not exceed 33% with respondents based on party, gender, political ideology, or borough.”

Several Adams staffers took issue with the poll lumping together those who said Adams is doing a “fair” job with others who described his performance as “poor,” resulting in a 64% disapproval rating.

Adams’ supporters and employees can complain about the survey all they want, but they can’t ignore the fact that more than half of all respondents also said that the city is heading in the wrong direction, with just 32% saying they believe it’s on the right track.

Crime is a huge concern for New Yorkers at the moment, and while there are a couple of bright spots that Adams can point to, in general the city’s crime rate continues to steadily increase.

Shootings dropped 31.4 percent last month as concerns over gun violence continued to grip the city, state and nation, NYPD data shows.

Mayor Eric Adams touted the shooting dip during a Monday event, although he breezed past the statistics showing overall index crime — which includes murders, rape and robberies — was up 27.8 percent compared to May 2021.

In fact, every category of crime except shooting incidents increased when comparing stats from May of 2021 to last month; rape, robbery, felonious assaults, burglary, grand larceny, grand larceny auto, transit, and housing crimes. The mayor has touted his new Gun Violence Suppression Division for reducing shootings by approximately 10% over the past two months, but says the dysfunctional judicial system is quickly returning offenders to the street.

Jason Savino, Commanding Officer of the Gun Violence Suppression Division, said many of the individuals arrested in these takedowns have three, four and sometimes five prior arrests for illegal gun possession or other charges, something Adams said indicates a serious issue with the criminal justice system in keeping repeat offenders off the streets. Savino said guns seized are often stolen.

“No one takes criminal justice seriously anymore,” Adams told reporters. “These bad guys no longer take them seriously. They believe our criminal justice system is a laughingstock of our entire country. We have to get serious about this because innocent people are dying.”

The mayor in January brought back a reinvented version of the plainclothes anti-gun unit disbanded by his predecessor former Mayor Bill de Blasio in 2020 at the height of the defund police movement. Adams said what are now called “neighborhood safety teams” have taken 3,000 illegal guns off the streets.

“If we zero in on those shooters and the individuals who are participating in the shootings, if we do the work to get it to the grand jury, to get that indictment, to make the arrest, then the other team must do their part,” Adams said. “The courts have to prosecute. Judges have to make sure they stay in. Everyone has to do their part. If not, they go out and come back.”

“People criticize us all the time, in spite of that, shootings are going down,” the mayor said. “Shootings are going down without violating the constitutional safeguards that we have in place. We’re decreasing shootings, we’re taking bad guys off the streets, and we’re going to create a safe city in the process.”

What constitutional safeguards is Adams talking about? The draconian licensing requirement to simply possess a firearm in your home or the “may issue” regime for concealed carry permits that forbids average citizens from lawfully carrying a firearm in self-defense? Those “protections”?

Actually, now that I think about it Adams is probably referring to the Fourth Amendment protections against unreasonable searches and seizures and not the Second Amendment, for which he’s displayed nothing but contempt since taking office. In fact, Adams and other New York Democrats are already working hard to throw up new barriers to the right to bear arms in self-defense if, as expected, the Supreme Court strikes down the state’s “may issue” carry laws in the coming weeks. Even while he and other officials admit that career criminals are driving the crime surge, Adams is going to do everything in his power to prevent law-abiding New Yorkers from protecting themselves in an increasingly dangerous city, which I doubt is going to do much to help his cratering approval ratings in the near future.

Aug 18, 2022 5:30 PM ET