New York, NY – People traveling in and out of New York City will soon be subject to random checks and screenings aimed at stopping the flow of illegal firearms into the area.
New York City Mayor Eric Adams unveiled his 16-page “Blueprint to End Gun Violence” during a press conference on Jan. 24, Reuters reported.
Adams said he wants to see state and local law enforcement officers working together to set up spot checks at all of the city’s entry points, to include areas like train and bus stations and the Port Authority, according to WNYW.
The random checks would also ideally include bag screenings, the mayor told reporters.
“We will also move forward on using the latest in technology to identify problems,” Adams added. “From facial recognition technology to new tools that can spot those carrying weapons, we will use every available method to keep our people safe.”
New York police seized approximately 6,000 firearms last year, but more guns are being transported into the city every day, he said.
Adams noted he will be expanding the New York Police Department’s (NYPD) Gun Suppression Division, which will focus on building cases against weapons traffickers and seizing illegal firearms, WNYW reported.
Officers within the unit will now be part of “Neighborhood Safety Teams,” according to WABC.
Within the next three weeks, additional officers will be out on patrol in the 30 precincts where 80 percent of the city’s violent crimes are being committed, according to Reuters.
Those officers have received “enhanced” training, will be equipped with bodycams, will have more oversight, and will be readily identifiable as employees of the NYPD, Adams said.
“We will avoid mistakes of the past,” he added, referring to the controversial plainclothes anti-crime unit, according to WPIX.
He said he also wants to build youth employment and mentoring programs and to bump up resources for mental health services, according to WNYW.
The mayor said appointing city judges who have “demonstrated commitment” to locking up criminals who use firearms is also a method that will help curb the surge in gun that has been plaguing the city.
“Gun violence is a public health crisis,” Adams told reporters, according to WABC. “There is no time to wait. We must admit the sea of violence comes from many rivers. We must dam every river that feeds this greater crisis.”
“New Yorkers will see and feel these changes quickly,” he added. “We will ramp up enforcement, deploy more officers on the streets and in the subways, and get our courts at full capacity. And we will invest in longer-term prevention as well.”
New York City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams said the mayor’s plan to bring back the NYPD anti-crime unit has some people on edge, according to WNYW.
“Concerns have been raised in communities about the plainclothes unit’s ability to reduce violence, given its past history of initiating undue violence,” Adrienne Adams said in a statement. “This proposal — along with others to change city and state criminal justice policies — requires further public dialogue and transparency.”
She said the city council likes Adams’ plan to boost programming in the city, however.
“We strongly welcome the mayor’s focus on strengthening community-based violence prevention programs, mental health care, and investments in youth employment and we’re glad these are so central to the plan and conversation, providing a great starting point,” the city council speaker said.
Adams unveiled his plan to combat gun violence just one day after New York Governor Kathy Hochul announced that over 50 law enforcement agencies from nine Northeastern states will be joining up to create a multi-state task force aimed at cracking down on the illegal gun trade, WNYW reported.
“Too many lives have been lost because of illegal firearms that should never have been on our streets,” Hochul said on Sunday.