Mayor de Blasio's Crime Record (Two Months In)

Friday, March 14, 2014

Police Commissioner Bill Bratton with Mayor Bill de Blasio (Spencer Platt/Getty)

Bill de Blasio is touting the drop in violent crime during his first months in office. We look at his early record with Murray Weiss, criminal justice reporter and editor for DNAInfo, and the emerging de Blasio/Bratton policing strategy.

Then, Robin Steinberg, founder and executive director of Bronx Defenders, discusses the sharp increase in panhandling arrests under de Blasio and whether "broken windows" is making a return.


Robin Steinberg and Murray Weiss

Comments [30]

I've saw an elderly women crouching down and covering her head as one the "dancers" swung by her, his feet inches from her. Homeless does not have to equal harasser. This behavior is outrageous and illegal. The subway acrobats are a menace. Shame on Bratton and DeBlassio if they don't move on it,

Mar. 17 2014 07:52 PM
Jacob from Brooklyn

I agree with the Bronx defenders that these arrests have long-time implications for people, but I do think that cracking down on quality of life issues is an effective means for containing larger crimes. Is there a way we can ticket/summons them to dissuade them from breaking the law without giving them a criminal record?

Mar. 16 2014 09:05 AM
EKM from New York City

Why does no one mention the people very loudly preaching their personal religious beliefs on the train? I, first of all, feel this is just as disruptive (more so, actually) to the rights of fellow riders as people carrying boomboxes, which IS against subway rules. Second, some of these people are a little unbalanced and have gotten violent with other riders. This happened on a train I was on Wednesday night, which was a packed rush-hour train, but it seemed that since the woman who was "preaching" was talking about her god, everyone just more or less tolerated it. Many of us got off the train to avoid her, where we all thought SHE should have been the one kicked off the train and delayed getting home from a long work day.

I think another issue is when do riders have the right to assert their personal rights over the rights of the beggar/preacher/musician/acrobat. There are no rules, and it just ends up the riders have to suffer through the onslaught.

Finally, one caller made reference to the character of NYC. The tourists (and lots of NYers, including me, at times) enjoy the individuals on the train flipping around on the bars and playing music and such. "Only in NYC!" But for those of us who live here, and use the trains to get to and from work, quiet train car would be great. Lots of us study, decompress, even sleep on the our long commutes. It is inconsiderate, in this light, to disrupt fellow riders.

Mar. 14 2014 12:26 PM
bernie from bklyn

this is a perfect example of how de blasio's "tale of two cities" is ridiculous. it might be two cities but not the two he thinks it is.
most of the people who are riding the subway are struggling, working class people. they're tired, stressed and worried about making enough money to support their family, etc...if they're lucky enough to get a seat on a packed, thirld-world level subway car they are then further subjected to some guys who demand they move out of the way and give them money, etc.?? how about if every housekeeper, plumbers' helper, dishwasher, security guard, etc. went to these guys' house ,when they're at home relaxing, and do their "routine"? and demand they give them money for their "show"? i bet they wouldn't like it would they?
no one has the right to infringe on others rights for their own benefit, especially in a packed subway car.

Mar. 14 2014 11:20 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan



Mar. 14 2014 10:52 AM

To date, I have never been struck, pushed, touched or anyway harmed by the subway acrobats.

I have, however, been pushed by many large white men wearing suits. I am five feet tall so I assume some of them don't see me. In several cases, however, they were clearly pushing me on purpose. Once I was continually smashed against pole by a man from the Upper West Side to 14th Street. After repeatedly standing my ground and asking him not to push only to have him shove me back up against the pole. Finally, in total exasperation, I got him to back off by stomping on his toe. Of course he got off at Chambers Street.

I have seen a white woman upset by a small child who was swinging his feet. She thought the child was bumping her. In reality it was a man with a briefcase who was bumping her. The woman slapped the mother of the child, who was clearly an immigrant (probably Ethiopian) in the face. That particularly woman clearly felt entitled to assault the woman with the child. I told her I would report her to the police if she tried it again.

I was almost robbed by a bump and grab sting. I had lots of bags and rather than bump people with them in a very crowded train, I set them on the floor of the car with my computer bag tightly clenched between my feet. I heard some whispering behind me about a bag on the floor and I tightened my leg grip on my bags. Sure enough I was bumped, then a well dressed white woman reached down between my bags to grab my bag. I snatched it right back saying nothing. She tried to cover by stating that "Oh, I just thought someone left it on the floor, do I look like a thief?" Hmmm, really? Some of the biggest swindlers are white collar criminals.

And yesterday, I moved back to let an older Chinese woman out because she stood up. She waved me back. Then the train stopped and she whacked me on top of my head. I have no idea why.

Only once did someone poor attempt to rob me. It was such a pathetic attempt that I almost (but not quite, felt sorry for him). He tried to pull something out of my backpack and all he got was my son's diapers which were at the top of the bag.

Mar. 14 2014 10:51 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

Panhandling will persist as long as those with guilty conscience (and no apparent knowledge of charitable organizations) continue to give beggars money directly.
Once the subway becomes a "no giving zone" it will mostly stop.

Mar. 14 2014 10:48 AM
foodaggro from Brooklyn

Keep the greasy churros. They seem to pacify those that consume them.

Mar. 14 2014 10:44 AM
genejoke from Brooklyn

Peri from Manhattan -
"let people make a little money on the subways."

Um, NO. Not at my expense. I don't appreciate being held captive by the mayhem subway performers create while I'm traveling underground. Do your thing in a place where people can escape from your "talents."

Mar. 14 2014 10:40 AM
Jonathan from Manhattan

Why don't we see social services outreach in subway stations...on the platforms? Set up a well-branded, well-organized presence (tables, chairs, shirts, credentials) and provide accessible help to those in need, taking pressure off riders' conscience. It must be on many platforms, with outreach scouts moving through train cars.

I've never seen this, clearly it is needed, and most stations have suitable space.

Mar. 14 2014 10:34 AM
Roy from Queens

I don't mind the acrobats, as long as they keep a distance, and the struggling musicians are pretty decent in behavior. The homeless are a pain, despite their bad luck. Don't go on an E train in the early morning if you live in Queens. :(

Mar. 14 2014 10:31 AM

I am very against begging in the subway (not on the street, tho). It is a quality of life issue for most of us. I saw a very loud, huge beggar pull a knife on a defenseless, toothless (almost) man who didn't move his feet and sort of mumbled when the guy shoved past all the standing commuters. No one was doing anything so I did. Stopped him by simply asking him to please not do this...he walked on loud and angry and shoving as he moved on thru the car. The teenage dancers keep me from doing my work on the train, as do the musicians and loud panhandlers. Those dancers damage the trains. I saw it up close when they pulled one of the support poles in the car away from the ceiling on the E was wobbling and shaking and unattached.

Mar. 14 2014 10:28 AM
Sherry from Manhattan

One reason crime is down is because it's been really, really cold. There's always a decrease in crime during inclement weather. Note that domestic violence hasn't abated. That's typically conducted indoors.

Mar. 14 2014 10:27 AM

Riding a bike on the sidewalk is not related to trying to earn a few bucks.

Mar. 14 2014 10:25 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

The guest makes a good point. But if the police didn't keep a lid on intrusions, the subways would devolve again to what they were in the 70's.

We ought to be able to find some balance, between overly heavy-handed law enforcement, and the lassez faire attitude of the 70's.

Mar. 14 2014 10:24 AM
Dan from Inwood

I live off the A train. 207th Street is my stop. There are always people sleeping in the train. The thing that bothers me is when I see people begging on the train with a child. Last week I saw at least 3 people pan-handling with their kids on the train.

Mar. 14 2014 10:20 AM
Patricia Jones from Bed-Stuy

Of all the things that Bratton needs to deal with, the need to stop persons who panhandle, sing or busk etc. in the subway is the least. "Disorder" is part of life esp. in the city. I have been taking the trains for 40 years and unless the police are there to stop a crime-rape, assault, theft--this just seems like Bratton blarney. Plus, being homeless is not a crime and is not something the police can control. Stop and Frisk did not reduce crime, that correlation was debunked by scholars. That stop and frisk is being used more appropriately. I would hope that Bratton sees that broken windows can be repaired not arrested.

Mar. 14 2014 10:20 AM
Amy from Manhattan

Mr. Weiss needs to look up "maul." Merriam-Webster defines it as "to attack and injure (someone) in a way that cuts or tears skin : to attack (someone) and cause a bloody injury." Some of them were aggressive, but I never heard of a "squeegee man" doing that to anyone.

Mar. 14 2014 10:20 AM
Martin Chuzzlewit from Manhattan

One contrived topic of this cheerleader segment (decreased crime by de Blah-sio) is LOL hilarious - in 2 months - Jan & Feb - during one of the coldest winters in history. the same time that Obama's alibi for the recent lethargic jobs numbers is.... an unusually cold winter!!!

Mar. 14 2014 10:20 AM
Isabella from Subway monitoring

Please don't underestimate how threatening (and dangerous) it is for the passengers when the trios of young men (always men) arrive and demand you get out of the way to allow their acrobatics. Pulling on bars designed to support strap-hangers (not to be used as gym bars) is, literally, quite terrifying to watch. Often their attitude is that they have the right to do this and you, the passengers, need to accommodate or get out of their way. Not good!
Great programme.

Mar. 14 2014 10:16 AM
Peri from Manhattan

I'm glad stop and frisk is down, but let people make a little money on the subways. What other choices do the 60% unemployed young youth have? It's annoying a little, but I don't have to worry about eating my next meal!

Mar. 14 2014 10:16 AM
Sheldon from Bloomberg

Based on some here, I thought that "the word was on street", the "drums are beating" and the city is going to ****, from day one - post Bloomberg.

That being said, the Mayor should be careful taking credit. Crime ebbs and flows. The brutal winter probably had more to do with decreasing violent crime than anything.

Mar. 14 2014 10:15 AM
genejoke from Brooklyn

No more amateur "acrobats" on the trains! Maybe subway performers are entertaining for tourists and newbie NY'ers, but it's a total nuisance and danger for the rest of us.

Mar. 14 2014 10:14 AM
KH from NYC

Sorry to be the cranky old lady, but those subway acrobats are annoying. After the first time, second time, third time you've seen them...enough already. It stops being entertaining. I feel like they take the car hostage when they arrive and their music is way too loud. I've also seen them ridicule speakers of other languages (Chinese) who don't understand their order to clear the middle of the car.

Mar. 14 2014 10:14 AM
Stephen from Prospect Heights

I was held for an hour and then summoned when I moved cars, when the train was in the station, to get away from the pole-dancers! However the pole-dancers were not summoned. I feel that the cops always go after the safest violations. Similar to how they go after bicyclists and not motorists.

Mar. 14 2014 10:13 AM
Yvonne from New

Buskers and panhandlers can be annoying. But what's more annoying are people and their backpacks almost knocking my face off when I'm sitting. I'm afraid it's a matter of time before a backpack situation turns violent.

Mar. 14 2014 10:12 AM
b from nyc

Churro ladies are not the problem although I suppose it is important to enforce the rules and regulations equally. However the major problem is the homeless on the subway. Although it is not illegal to be homeless these people are often very offensive. This does not apply to every homeless individual but those who smell terribly and are not sane. It is not fair to those who are paying customers who depend on this transportation system.

Mar. 14 2014 10:11 AM
Bonn from East Village

Please tell the police commissioner to tour the East Village at 3 am on Thursday, Friday or Saturday night and the following mornings and then do something about the noise and destruction to the neighborhood from the saturation of bars and NYU/Cooper Union/SVA students living in the dorms.

Mar. 14 2014 10:10 AM

Please, please stop the subway "acrobats!" Serious safety issue and makes for a very unpleasant ride.

Mar. 14 2014 10:10 AM

Do u want to be kicked In the face by an "acrobat?"

Would u like to be force to move so these kids can jump around
The charros people block the paths

Mar. 14 2014 10:10 AM

Leave a Comment

Email addresses are required but never displayed.

Get the WNYC Morning Brief in your inbox.
We'll send you our top 5 stories every day, plus breaking news and weather.