January 4, 2017
Peter Rosenberg: Mr. Mayor?
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Hey.
Rosenberg: How you doing?
Laura Stylez: Good morning, Mayor.
Rosenberg: Ebro temporarily disappeared. I don’t know where he went, so we’re starting without him.
Mayor: You know, is Ebro in witness protection now?
Rosenberg: Yeah, you heard about this?
Rosenberg: Alright well, Mayor good news, Ebro has returned from witness protection. He is here.
Ebro Darden: I’m here. I’m here. I’m back.
Mayor: Ebro, Happy New Year.
Darden: Mr. Bill, Mayor de Blasio, Happy New Year to you too sir.
Rosenberg: So, Mayor it is time for you to release the year end 2016 crime statistics. How did we do?
Mayor: It’s amazing. Ebro, it’s actually amazing. Crime has gone down in so many ways in New York City. We have the lowest shootings we have had – the lowest number of shootings we have had in decades. And at the same time as we’ve had extraordinary reductions in crime, here is what also happened, stop-and-frisk continues to go down. It has gone down 93 percent since I took office. It was over 200,000 people stopped the year before I came in, we’re only at 13,000 people stopped in 2016. So you have stops going way down; you have arrests going way down. There have been 20 percent fewer arrests over the last three years. But at the same time, crime goes down, gang violence is going down, shootings are going down, gun seizures are going up. So we’re doing it because police and community are communicating, respecting each other – a lot less negative interaction, a lot more partnership.
Darden: Couldn’t the characterization of stop-and-frisk change the number. Meaning how is a stop-and-frisk determined – like you understand what I’m saying? Couldn’t theoretically the City say, okay, that is not a stop-and-frisks, this is, and by category that gets changed. Because I do here some people say, yo, I still get stopped all the time.
Mayor: Well Ebro, I have to tell you that is a good question, but I want to tell you I hear stories all the time of people saying how different the environment is from three or four years ago; and how they are not stopped all the time.
Mayor: So, I think it all depends on the individual, obviously. But look, the bottom line is there is a specific protocol. All our officers are trained. And by the way, remember since we came into office all our officers have been retrained in how to approach any interaction with the community differently; how to deescalate and how to have a better dialogue with communities. That is all part of our neighborhood policing vision. But for example, with a stop there is a specific protocol of when it is an appropriate opportunity for a stop and then you have to record it. What we are finding – remember it is not just the stops [inaudible]. As I said, 20 percent fewer arrests then three years ago.
Mayor: That’s because what we’re finding is in the past a lot of people were stopped who shouldn’t have been stopped; a lot of people were arrested who didn’t need to be arrested. There were other alternatives like a summons or a warning.
Mayor: And what Commissioner O’Neill is doing now with neighborhood policing is emphasizing use the tool that makes sense in the given situation. We want the least interaction necessary because we want to focus on serious crime. That’s what we want officer’s energy to go. And since they have been putting more and more energy on serious crime, on gang violence etcetera, you see the violence numbers start to go down more and more.
Rosenberg: But Mr. Mayor – so President-elect Trump, you know, he, of course, used the stop-and-frisk example in New York to be like ‘oh, stop-and-frisk was great. That’s why I’m going to bring more of it back.’ What are you and your administration do to make sure that doesn’t happen here and what have you told – have you gotten to tell President-elect Trump any of your thoughts on stop-and-frisk and how it worked or didn’t work in New York?
Mayor: Well, I have told the President-elect when I met with him point blank – and I said look we’re having the exact opposite experience over the last three years as we’ve intensely reduced the use of stop-and-frisk. Crime continues to go down. And here is why, the gun seizure point is so important; you know, a lot of what you heard in the previous administration was ‘well, this is how you get guns off the street.’ What we found is we’ve been able to get more and more guns by going at gangs and by getting information from community residents that help us find illegal guns. That is what has been productive. So, when you had a rift between police and community in a lot of neighborhoods because of stop-and-frisk, it actually made it harder to get information; harder to get to court or what the police were doing in getting the gun. Now, the information is flowing. The partnership is there. So, I told the President-elect very straightforward, I said you got to understand that the reduction of stop-and-frisk has allowed us to reduce crime. If you try to push the increase in it in other cities, it is literally going to create a barrier between police and community. I think it is very powerful that these specifics have come out now, proving 2016 a record year for lowering crime; record year for reduction of stop-and-frisk, just as a new president is taking office. I hope this is the ultimate example of why stop-and-frisk is the wrong way to go in this country.
Darden: Did you also tell him that if he wasn’t President-elect you would tell him to his face that you don’t like him and likely pull his crazy hair off the top of his head?
Mayor: Ebro, this is why you’re probably not going into the diplomatic world.
Darden: I’m not, I’m not, I’m not, I’m not – no plans, no plans.
Stylez: Mayor de Blasio, can you explain precision policing is or neighborhood policing?
Mayor: Yeah, they are two related things, Laura. Precision policing means you focus on where the major problems are and you put extra police resources where – for example, if you had a particular problem with shootings; if you have a particular problem with gang activity, you concentrate resources at that location as both a preventative measure and a way to really reduce any potential for violence. But – and what in the past we learned was a lot of times police were spread out all over the place, not necessarily aware of where the biggest problems were. So, precision policing allows us to go where the problem is.
Neighborhood policing is a concept that Commissioner O’Neill really developed – he’s the architect of it. And it [inaudible] says we’re going to take officers, have them cover a very small area of a neighborhood. They are not going to be in the squad car running all over the place. They are going to have a particular area – a walkable part of the neighborhood – that they are responsible for – even two officers. It could be a housing project; it could be a certain set of blocks in their community. Their job is to get to know the neighborhood residents; get to know clergy, get to know storekeepers, and really understand what is happening. And here is what they are doing – it’s amazing – these neighborhood coordinating officers, who are part of this program, they are literally developing [inaudible] giving community residents their cell phones, giving community residents their emails, telling them, if you see anything, any hour of the day that you need to tell me, just reach out to me personally. And what that is doing is it is helping us stop a lot of crime before it happens because now the neighborhood residents feel comfort communicating constantly with the officer they know represents and serves their immediate neighborhood.
Darden: Alright. Well, listen I’m sure we’re going to be hearing from you a lot – Happy New Year to you. And let’s continue to have this open dialogue. And I really appreciate the last time we talked after Trump won the election; how you were clear about saying the decisions that Trump may make at a federal level, you’ll be able to protect us here on a local level in New York City.
Mayor: That’s what I – thank God we, in this city, we have our own values; we have our own police force, we have our own schools. We’re going to do things our way and the way that New Yorkers believe in. And I keep saying it; our values don’t change because of a single presidential election. We’re going to stand up for the people of this city.
Darden: There you go.
Darden: Mayor de Blasio, ladies and gentlemen.
Stylez: Thank you, Mayor.
Mayor: Thank you. Happy New Year, guys.