By: Ilana Siyance
On Sunday, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, one of the frontrunners in the upcoming NYC Mayoral election, criticized the “open disorder in our parks”. Of late, NYC parks, in particular Washington Square Park, have been a hotspot for violence, drugs and vandalism— with cops being deployed in riot gear. Adams, who is also a retired police captain having served the NYPD for 22 years, suggested a less “heavy-handed” solution.
As reported by the NY Post, the 60-year-old Democrat acknowledged the problem but said the city needs to employ a “real, comprehensive approach” in lieu of forcefully clearing the park. “Parks in our city are family places. They should not be about drugs and disorder, they should be about our sons and daughters,” Adams told the Post. “We can’t have open disorder in our parks.” “But we could do it without being heavy-handed in the process,” he said, referring to the 10 p.m. curfew and round of arrests. “We don’t have to go in with the SWAT team. We don’t have to go in with helmets and gear,” said Adams.
As the June 22 Democratic Primary edges closer all the candidates are weighing in on the surge of violence facing NYC. The topic is at the forefront of voter’s minds following violence at the park in Greenwich Village on Saturday which left six people injured. On Friday, the new weekend curfew was rescinded, returning to a midnight closing time, but park-goers even defied that time cap.
Adams, a tough-on-crime candidate, said the situation needs to be dealt with, but with a tactful strategy. “We need to go in with real support services, interact with people on the ground, find out the needs,” Adams said Sunday. “But we have to really invest in it, and then we need to go to our other parks so we don’t create this atmosphere in the first place,” he said.
Similarly entrepreneur Andrew Yang, another mayoral hopeful whose high rankings in the polls have waned in recent weeks, said the city “can assign police officers in Washington Square Park in a manner that would make it a safe environment for people to be able to gather.”
Progressive candidate Maya Wiley said last week that the NYPD’s aggressive curfew enforcement is an example of the city “wasting” its resources. She said police should only “go after anyone who’s committing a crime”. Mayoral contender Kathryn Garcia, a former city sanitation commissioner, said “We’ve turned the corner, and now we seem to be confronting an epidemic of crime in the city…I was here in the ’70s and ’80s. We can’t slide backwards.”