UPPER EAST SIDE, Manhattan (PIX11) – Political leaders, community advocates and concerned neighbors in New York City gathered Wednesday for a town hall to discuss solutions to end the scourge of gun-related crimes.
It’s personal for Jackie Rowe-Adams. After losing two children to gun violence, she founded Harlem Mothers S.A.V.E.
“Too many of our kids are dying, and it’s black-on-black crime, whether people want to say it or not. We’re killing each other with illegal guns and it must stop,” Rowe-Adams said.
The town hall was held in the auditorium of a school on the Upper East Side, just down the street from where 20-year-old Azsia Johnson was shot and killed as she pushed her 3-month-old child in a stroller last week. Police have arrested her ex-boyfriend. Her death has outraged New Yorkers.
U.S. Rep. Carolyn Maloney hosted the forum. “I’ve heard from my constituents that they want foot patrols. I would like to walk with them and give the community support for more police in the neighborhood,” Maloney said.
In a separate forum Wednesday evening, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell echoed the importance of Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCOs).
“Our NCOs will still be connected with the community because they play a vital role in our connection to the people we serve,” Sewell said.
The numbers are staggering. There were 38 shootings over the Fourth of July holiday weekend. Of the 52 victims, nine have died. The gun violence epidemic is plaguing New York City, but Mayor Eric Adams maintains the war hasn’t been lost.
“We are seeing a 30-year high in gun arrests,” Adams said. The mayor also cited a 12-week decrease in gun violence and the 2,400 gun arrests this year to date. That number is up from the same time period a year ago.
New Yorkers say they just want to feel safe again. “I’ve been a city resident for almost 50 years. I’ve never been concerned about going out late, walking home, using our subways, and now there’s a little bit of fear,” said New York City resident Gail Benjamin.