Today, Council Member Tiffany Cabán (District 22), released the following statement in response to Mayor Adams’ address on gun violence:

The cornerstone of my campaign for City Council was my comprehensive public safety program, reflecting my life’s work as a public defender, political organizer, student of public safety policy reforms based on a public health framework, and a directly-impacted person who still remembers my mother shielding me from gunfire when I was very young.

In brief, it is urgent that we address the crisis of violence by expanding the Crisis Management System (CMS), and rapidly scale up pilots such as Cure Violence, Advance Peace, and the wrap-around services provided by stellar organizations like LIFE Camp.

Just a few short years after the CMS launched, this approach yielded an 80% reduction in the number of shootings, including over 550 days of no shootings in the focus areas. The numbers don’t lie: programs like this are greatly more effective than policing at reducing violence. 

In addition, we need to pursue pivotal anti-violence measures such as guaranteed housing, high-quality education, nutritious food, meaningful and well-paid employment, and the other pillars of a dignified, healthy life.

In the Mayor’s address today, he announced his support for the Crisis Management System and investments in youth employment, health care, and mental health care. Similarly, Public Advocate Jumaane Williams’ greatly superior proposal, which he also released today, acknowledges that investment in community resources and social services plays an essential role in ensuring public safety. I applaud these points and am eager to work with Mayor Adams and Public Advocate Williams on enhancing these vital life-saving programs.

However, much in the Mayor’s plan is cause for deep concern. The truth is, rather than putting these preventative measures at the core of our city’s approach, the plan treats them as peripheral supplements to a program built on a foundation of surveillance and punishment, which are ineffective and dangerous.

I strongly oppose reversing common-sense bail reform, removing vital safeguards on the rights of the accused, expanding the use of facial recognition technology, and moving minors accused of gun possession out of family court and into criminal court.

Particularly troubling is the Mayor’s proposed revival of the NYPD’s plainclothes unit. The fact is, that unit was ineffective at reducing gun violence – a year after it was disbanded, murders citywide had decreased by 23.3% and shootings by 19.5%, according to the NYPD’s own statistics.

To the contrary, the plainclothes unit has a terrible record of increasing violence: even though there were only 600 officers in the unit, it committed nearly one third of all fatal shooting incidents since 2000 including killing Sean Bell, Kimani Gray, Eric Garner, and more. A 2016 NYPD report found that nearly half of officers involved in “adversarial conflicts” were in the plainclothes unit. Lawsuits against the NYPD for such misconduct have cost the city millions upon millions of dollars.

We can make New York the safe, healthy city we all need and deserve. I will not stop working until we do.