With the press reporting on a new “gun czar,” Mayor Eric Adams announced to great fanfare Thursday that A.T Mitchell will co-chair a new Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. But Mitchell immediately got a key point wrong, telling the excited crowd, “We’ve been dealing with this issue for far too long, and we’ve been using the same tactics over and over again and getting the same results.”
No, we haven’t been using the same tactics over and over again. In fact, Adams has brought back tactics that have got the same positive results as other mayors before Bill de Blasio: namely, tough and relentless policing.
And it’s bringing results: Not just record levels of guns off the streets, but shooting incidents down 39.5% (year over year) as of May 29. Better yet, homicides are down 9% so far this year.
Meanwhile, Mitchell is no “czar”: He’s co-chair with a deputy mayor of a group full of agency heads that will ensure other agencies do their job on crime. Adams’ favorite example: having Sanitation do more garbage collection in areas where perps routinely stash guns in the trash.
Mitchell’s particular end of it is to coordinate with various “violence interrupter” groups and other outside parties so they work the city’s strategies. Adams and many of his supporters are big fans of this social work, and we’re fine with it as an add-on effort to the NYPD’s vital work.
No, we’re not crazy about Mitchell’s problematic history. In 2019, the Department of Investigation flagged his mentoring and community outreach group Man Up! for a host of financial irregularities, including employing several members of his family and some apparent diversion of the nonprofit’s funds to Mitchell’s personal accounts.
But as the mayor notes, Man Up! addressed those issues at the time, and Mitchell will serve as an unpaid volunteer.
And we endorsed Eric Adams for mayor above all else because he was saying all the right things on crime, not because we thought he was a closet small-government Republican. We always knew we’d wince at some of his decisions, and some of the rhetoric from his camp.
The mayor is starting to deliver on crime, and it’s the results that count, not the noise.