NYC mayoral candidate Andrew Yang talks gun violence, policing, universal income

New York Elections

NEW YORK — Early voting for the New York City primary election begins Saturday, and the race for City Hall continues to get more competitive.

Democratic Mayoral Candidate Andrew Yang spoke with PIX11 News to discuss his numbers in the polls, crime and safety and getting more officers on the subways. 

New polling numbers

A new NY1/Ipsos poll found Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams leading the pack while Yang slipped to 16%.

Reacting to the recent polls, Yang said “it’s pretty much anyone’s race among the top candidates,”

Only poll his campaign cares about is the early vote that starts Saturday.

Criticisms against Kathryn Garcia

In the past, Yang said he would pick mayoral candidate Kathryn Garcia as his “number two,” but recently, he has criticized her for her handling of trash pickup while she was with the Department of Sanitation. 

Would Yang still pick her as “number two?”

“I like and admire Kathryn and appreciate her service to the city,” Yang said. However, he added that New Yorkers he has spoken with want to turn the page from the de Blasio administration and onto a new type of leadership.  

Crime in NYC

According to a recent PIX11, NewsNation, Emerson College poll, crime is a top priority for many New Yorkers.  

In one of the most recent shootings, a 10-year-old boy was fatally shot in Brooklyn. Instead of planning his 11th birthday party, his family is planning his funeral. 

How does Yang plan to address the city’s gun violence?

Yang said the city needs to properly resource precincts that are investigating the shootings and add detectives to the gun violence oppression division. 

“You’re never going to get violence heading down instead of up if 75% of shootings are still walking around,” he said.

Yang also said the city should be utilizing “focused deterrence,” which is when officers talk to people that everyone in the neighborhood knows are “troublemakers” or those prone to bad actions. 

He said police would talk to those people and let them know if crime happens in their neighborhood, they would be the first people cops go to.

Anti-crime plainclothes unit

Would Yang bring back the plainclothes unit?

He said if elected, he would start a new anti-violence community safety unit that would use plainclothes officers that would work with community leaders and go into neighborhoods to get the guns out.

Hate crimes in NYC

Hate crimes are up in the city, particularly within the Asian and Jewish communities. 

During the PIX11 Mayoral Forum, Yang said more police is the answer on the ground. 

“Nothing works in our city if you don’t feel safe either walking your own neighborhood or riding the subways,” Yang said.

He also said cops should be in actual subway cars rather than just on the platforms. 

According to New Yorkers he has spoken with, Yang said their concerns with violence is the number of homeless, mentally ill people walking on the streets.

“We have to get the homeless people into better environments that will actually support them,” he said.

Policing in NYC

Police Commissioner Dermot Shea has said the NYPD does not have enough officers to add to subways.

Yang said the city should have control of the MTA. “It should be the mayor’s responsibility.”

With about 35,000 officers, Yang said the city can resource these cops into subway cars and stations.

“This is necessary for New Yorkers to feel confident heading to work, going to school, and going around the city everyday,” he said.

Universal basic income

Yang clarified the cutoff on who would get a check is “people who are in extreme poverty,” or those about half of the poverty line

“The people we’re talking about are going to be really struggling in extreme scarcity and deprivation.”

Yang warned that people may end up on the streets if they don’t have enough assistance.

Opponents call Yang out for fleeing New York

Yang said he and his wife are raising their two sons in New York. “There’s nothing more personal, there’s nothing more higher stakes than that.”

“We need to turn the page, a new approach to leadership that will actually solve the problems that are getting worse,” he said.

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