New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio was grilled by New Yorkers who said they are fed up with the rising crime rate in the city, blaming his policies of neighborhood jails, homeless shelters in communities, and the state’s new abolishment of bail for criminals deemed “non-violent.”
During a town hall in Forest Hills, Queens — a community that’s been inundated with de Blasio’s community warehouse homeless shelters and neighborhood jails — voters slammed de Blasio for what they described as his ignoring the will and safety of working- and middle-class New Yorkers.
A lifelong resident of New York got cheers from other attendees as he called de Blasio the worst mayor ever in the city’s history while blasting the mayor’s office for what he said was racism against Asian Americans in the school system:
Let me just tell you this. I’m 56-years-old, lived in this city my whole life, and you are the worst mayor that New York City has ever seen. [Emphasis added]
One resident begged de Blasio to work with state lawmakers to get rid of Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s (D) new bail reform law that abolishes bail for criminals like those accused of second-degree manslaughter, aggravated vehicular assault, third-degree assault, promoting an obscene sexual performance by a child, criminally negligent homicide, or aggravated vehicular homicide.
“Many people are being beaten, slashed, and hurt by criminals being released,” the resident told de Blasio. “They said they would only release people that are non-violent but they’re releasing people who are very, very violent. The other day, a Japanese tourist was slashed, and the man who slashed him had slashed someone, a deli worker, and he had pummeled a woman in his apartment building.”
“New York City is becoming a crime city. Could you please get rid of bail reform to make our city safer?” the woman asked.
De Blasio dismissed citizens concerned with increasing crime rates as those who are “not interested in the facts” and who “are whipping up fear.”
“There are people and organizations in this city that are trying to tell you New York City is not safe, that are trying to tell you we are declining and we’re going back to the ’70s,” de Blasio said. “Listen, listen if you believe that, God bless you. Then that means you’re not interested in the facts.”
The resident, though, hit back:
If a judge feels that someone is a danger to society, regardless of the new bail reform … I don’t think that person should be released. I think a bank robber shouldn’t have to rob five banks before they decide … if you slash someone, if you throw a kid to the floor, that person should go to jail. Forget bail reform. Bail reform is not working. Do you understand? [Emphasis added]
“A lot of people are whipping up fear,” de Blasio said as residents shouted, “It’s all coming back,” referring to the city’s crime waves that spanned across the 1970s to the late 1990s.
“It is not all coming back. … Anyone who believes it’s all coming back, if you believe it’s all coming back then you do not understand the NYPD,” de Blasio said. “You do not understand the NYPD. It’s as simple as that.”
Another resident scolded de Blasio for his plans to close Rikers Island — the region where the city’s most violent criminals are locked up — and move inmates to neighborhood jails:
I have lived in Queens my whole life … Mr. Mayor, I do not feel safe. I’m telling you as a member who lives here. I don’t have the security detail, I don’t carry a gun, I don’t do anything. I wake up at 5 a.m., I go to work six days a week to pay the taxes for this city. The fact is Mr. Mayor, people are leaving New York — they’re not coming in. They’re leaving New York. And I’ll tell you why I think for the first time I went on the Internet and am looking for other alternative residence because this borough-based jail. I don’t want this borough-based jail. [Emphasis added]
I think you have no clue what goes on in regular people’s lives. If Rikers is broken, you guys get paid big money, fix Rikers. But to have a borough-based jail in Forest Hills to me is not the solution. Why don’t I feel safe Mr. Mayor? I see police officers getting dumped with water and unfortunately they have to walk away. They don’t do anything about it. They walk away. I see police officers get shot. That is my point Mr. Mayor. My point is that we don’t feel safe. … The borough-based jails are not the answer. That’s my statement, not a question. [Emphasis added]
In response, de Blasio accused the resident of listening to “right-wing propaganda.”
De Blasio was also pressed about his homeless shelter initiative, where he has placed warehouses and hotels full of hundreds of homeless people in residential communities where families live.
A lifelong New Yorker who is the daughter of immigrants called de Blasio’s community homeless shelters a “disgusting” attack on working- and middle-class residents, saying she no longer feels safe where she lives.
“I am a granddaughter of immigrants, and I am a daughter of immigrants who came here, and my grandfather bought one of the first houses by working very hard in like 1938. … It is just disgusting that you have shoved a homeless shelter for 200 men in the neighborhood that my grandparents developed and grew up, and where I’ve grown up,” the resident said.
“There are 200 men, not from our community, because we keep hearing, ‘Oh, they’re from your community.’ They’re not from our community,” she continued. “… It is disgusting because now I don’t feel safe here anymore. Now I have to buy more locks for my doors and a security system because you’re not trying to help these men. … You’re warehousing them, and we are very aware of the fact that what they’re getting per head, someone is making the money on it. … It’s just disgusting that you have done this to our community.”
The heated town hall came as crime in New York City has risen, as noted by the New York City Police Benevolent Association, since the beginning of the year when the bail reform law was implemented. Compared to this time last year, crimes such as rape, robbery, grand larceny, burglary, and grand larceny auto are all up.
Meanwhile, New York’s population has continued to fall. From 2018 to 2019, New York saw the largest statewide population decline in the United States with nearly 77,000 residents fleeing, as Breitbart News reported.
John Binder is a reporter for Breitbart News. Follow him on Twitter at @JxhnBinder.