September 4, 2019
Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill: Alright, are we all set? Everybody’s good? Alright, good afternoon, everyone – thanks for being here. In a moment you’re going to hear from Mayor de Blasio and then you’ll hear from Chief of Crime Control Strategies Lori Pollock and we’ll go over the August crime figures for you. First, I would like to acknowledge the very hard work being done by the men and women of the NYPD, particularly over the last couple weeks. There’s the U.S. Open Tennis Tournament in Queens which ends this coming Sunday and there was J'Ouvert and the West Indian Day Parade in Brooklyn.
Beginning in 2017 we reworked our security plans surrounding those Labor Day weekend events. And by working hand in hand with organizers, the changes that were made continue to prove successful in stemming the kind of senseless violence our city saw in the past while at the same time ensuring that participants can fully enjoy everything associated with that important celebration of Caribbean culture. In addition to safeguarding these massive events, which they are, our officers proactively worked to stop violence before it occurs. I’m talking about the 7-3 Precinct cops who tried to question a man who was wearing a mask over his face while walking through Brownsville around 2:00 a.m. on Monday morning. That man, as you already know, pulled out a gun and shot at the uniformed police officers hitting the patrol car while two of them were still sitting in it. He then led the officers on a foot chase and about a-half-an-hour later he ended up in a backyard of someone’s home and there was a large exchange of gunfire. Let me tell you something, NYPD cops will never allow gun-toting criminals to walk the streets of our city with impunity. Our officers proved that on Monday morning in Brooklyn, and they prove it every day and every night all throughout the five boroughs.
We’re currently seeing a spike in shootings, particularly in parts of Brooklyn and Queens. We know many are drug related, specifically gang and crew related. We continue to shift our resources and work to prevent retaliatory shootings. I can tell you from our newest patrol officer to our most seasoned investigators, our brave cops made this decision to take this job because they wanted to make a difference and they do that each and every day, and I’m so proud of the work they do in every neighborhood. Looking ahead, this will continue to be a very busy month. Tomorrow more than a million New York City kids go back to school and in less than two weeks about 200 heads of state and other dignitaries from around the world will descend on New York for the U.N. General Assembly. All the while, the people we serve will still call 9-1-1 and 3-1-1 asking for our help and that’s what we’re here for, to fight crime and to keep people safe. It’s a huge responsibility for sure, but no one handles the assortment of large organized events and traditional crime fighting, coupled with the constant threat of terrorism, better than the NYPD, absolutely no one. Mr. Mayor –
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you very much, Commissioner. Commissioner I want to commend you and your leadership team and the men and women of the NYPD for extraordinary success in the month of August. You’ll hear from Chief Pollock in a moment but in August, again, further progress – driving down crime in New York City. Overall crime down 2.1 percent in August, 2019 compared to August, 2018. And the human impact, we always come back to this, what does that mean in real terms? It’s 188 fewer crimes, 188 fewer families afflicted by crime and living a better life because of the work of the men and women of the NYPD. This means people were kept safe. This means that the strategies that have been put in place continue to work, continue to grow, and continue to succeed.
I want to thank all the leadership here, upfront here and in the room for their great work. I want to thank for his support in the work we do and for his leadership, the Chair of the Committee on Public Safety in the City Council, Donovan Richards, thank you. And I want people to reflect on the last days in this city. The Commissioner talked about J'Ouvert, talked about the Labor Day Parade, the Caribbean Parade, which for not just years, for decades were too often marred by violence. Tremendous work went into changing that. And the last years in particular, the collaboration between NYPD and community leaders and elected officials to figure out a whole new approach to J'Ouvert, that vision came to fruition in a way that is extraordinary, that we saw the entire J'Ouvert event come off without a single act of violence, that is a sea change from just a few years ago, and again credit to the new approach, the new strategies, the new thinking of the NYPD and it’s very much associated with the notion of neighborhood policing that Commissioner O’Neill was the architect of.
The parade itself, there was one act of violence along the whole route, thank God not a fatal act but again compare that to years past, you see tremendous change. The incident that the Commissioner described in Brooklyn – portraying very clearly the bravery of our officers. We’ve seen so many situations like this in recent weeks where officers stepped up and continued to deepen their work with the community. The gang situations we face we take very, very seriously. But we also know that one of the X-factors in addressing these challenges has been the closer relationship between the NYPD and community members. We saw that recently in Brownsville, after a very prominent gang shooting, and there were tremendous fears about retaliation. Great work by the NYPD, by community leaders, by the Cure Violence Movement, the Crisis Management System. All of that came together in the days after, including where there were major, major community events. And I also want to credit the team from City Hall and the Community Affairs Unit. There was a proactive strategy to get out in the community and guard against retaliation and it worked. Those stories don’t get told often enough. I want to make sure we take stock of those kinds of successes as well.
We’ve heard some rhetoric from very few people in the last days, trying to take us backwards, trying to suggest that the men and women of the NYPD are not the professionals that they are. Let’s be clear, this is a group of supreme professionals, hard working men and women who care deeply about the people they serve and the pride they take in wearing the uniform, and they continue to do their job in an exemplary fashion. We’re going to continue this work, we’re going to deepen this work and what we know is this strategy is working and we want to take it farther and farther and as we said here before, we’re going to continue to get safer. That’s something that is being proven month after month in this city. With that I want to turn to Chief Pollock.
Chief of Crime Control Strategies Lori Pollock, NYPD: Good morning, thank you. As the Mayor said, overall crime during the month of August was at a record low, down by two percent over last year. We saw reductions in four of our seven major crime categories and increases in murder, robbery, and auto-theft. So when we talk about murders, even though we recorded the third lowest number of any August, we still saw an increase of two murders during the month, 31 versus 29. Of those 31 murders, 24 people or 77 percent died as a result of gun violence over last August when there were 10 or 35 percent. At a minimum, 35 percent of our August murder incidents are gang related and we expect this percentage to increase as the investigations proceed. We had three domestic murders versus three last August and year-to-date murders, we finish down eight, 205 versus 213.
I’ll talk about shootings – our citywide shootings saw an increase of 20 percent in August, 91 versus 76. That’s up 15. The 15 – the August 15 shooting increase over last year is spread across four boroughs. Only Staten Island showed a decrease, three versus four. In Queens South, we saw an increase, 14 versus nine. All of but one of the 14 shootings in Queens South occurred in 1-0-3, the 1-0-5, or the 1-13 Precincts. Four of the nine shootings occurred in the 1-0-5 and 1-13 and are directly connected to gang violence. Motives for the remaining ten Queens South shootings are a combination of narcotics, gang, and two accidental shootings.
Queens North, six versus two; Brooklyn South, 11 versus seven; Manhattan South, four versus one. The borough of the Bronx, represented the biggest number of shootings, however, they had the same number of shootings as last year with 24 and the majority of those shootings this year involved narcotics or gang activity.
Brooklyn North showed no shooting increase in August with 21 shootings, the 21 shootings were being driven by the 7-3 and the 7-5 which account for over 70 percent of the borough shootings this August. Manhattan North was even with eight shootings. Staten Island, like I said, was down three versus four. Year-to-date shootings, we are up in 38 and like we did in the 2-3 and the 2-5 early this year to quell the violence, they were up 19 shootings this year in Manhattan North. We are refocusing our efforts and you’ll hear from Chief Harrison later. In the 4-2 and the 4-6, we see pockets of violence in Queens South, like I mentioned before, the 1-0-3, the 1-13, the 1-0-5, and Brooklyn North in the 7-3 and 7-5.
You know, it is our mission to keep all New Yorkers safe and we do this through a combination of tactical crime analysis, deploying in real time to prevent further violence and remove guns from criminals. This month alone, citywide, New York City police officers have made 355 gun arrests which is 20 percent more than last August. That is 60 more guns this August that New York City police officers have removed from the streets of this city to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers. Our precision gun strategy also includes domestic violence gun investigation referrals to our field intelligence officers. Those gun investigations typically start when an officer responding to a 9-1-1 call which can than result in information passed onto the domestic violence officers who work with our field intelligence officers to remove guns from households where there have been reports of domestic violence. Our field intelligence officers have removed 111 guns from households where there are reports of domestic violence this year. Domestic shootings are down 33 percent this year, 14 versus 21, with only one domestic shooting fatality versus the 15 that we had last year.
This month we’ve added a line to our CompStat sheet which includes the UCR rape number. The rape number we have been speaking about in this forum is down 7.7 percent, 155 versus 168, and you have the rape breakdown on the printed crime brief. The UCR rape number is also down 227 versus 230 – excuse me – yes.
Robbery is up 70 crimes, or 6.1 percent.
Felony assault down almost two percent.
Burglary is down 90 crimes, or 8.2 percent for an all-time low August.
Grand larceny is down 4.2 percent, or 167 reports – and we did finish with grand larceny auto up 6.8 percent for the month of August. Thank you.
Commissioner O’Neill: Alright, any questions about the August crime stats?
Mayor: Let me just do the Spanish real quick. My apology, I missed my Spanish pages. Real quick –
[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]
Commissioner O’Neill: Okay, any questions about the August crime stats?
Question: This question is for Chief Pollock [inaudible] talked about domestic violence [inaudible]. I’m wondering if you could repeat the number of gun [inaudible] this month or this year [inaudible] talk about how this program [inaudible] –
Chief Pollock: I’m sorry I didn’t catch the tail end of the question.
Chief Pollock: I think that we have to be very careful about how we handle these cases. We might get an inkling we might have a domestic violence survivor who wants to talk but is not in a position to talk. So, we take our time with these. And the sole goal is to remove the gun, the arrest is secondary. But removing the gun from the household is our sole – it’s not our sole but is our main focus to keep everybody safe in that household. I think it’s working very well. Field intelligence officers are doing an excellent job as well as the patrol officers in the domestic violence program under the Chief of Department.
Question: Can you repeat the number and will you say whether these are – are some of these guns that are licensed [inaudible] –
Chief Pollock: Well, they can be licensed but in this case they are not licensed. We are not talking about licensed guns. That’s something different. 111 is the number for the year.
Commissioner O’Neill: Juliet?
Question: Yes, Chief Pollock, can you explain the new way you’re counting rapes or [inaudible] including now sexual assaults? What’s the new way [inaudible] –
Chief Pollock: Well, it’s not a new way of counting it. This is how we’ve always reported it to the FBI in Uniformed Crime Reports. It’s a different – it’s a larger definition. It’s – there is no gender involved. I could go into great detail but it is, you know – it’s on all the websites as to what the ten A’s are of those crimes. It’s basically any penetration – like I said, you can look it up on the internet.
Question: Does that include sexual assault now as well?
Chief Pollock: Well, sexual assault is a very broad category. I mean all sex crimes are basically sex assaults. So –
Question: Was that included in the rape numbers or is that [inaudible] –
Chief Pollock: The – go ahead. I think Chief Shea is going to explain better.
Chief of Detectives Dermot F. Shea, NYPD: I’ll just jump in from the Special Victims piece of this. I think it’s important to recognize that, you know, historically in New York City, we follow the New York State Penal Law and that was the rape category that was – everyone is familiar with, that’s listed on the CompStat sheet. There are a number of advocates and victims’ advocates that have been pushing, rightfully so, for a broader category that eludes to some of the things that Lori mentioned.
So, in the spirit of transparency, we are including the broader definition of rape, the UCR definition. Ultimately when we make – investigate cases and take them to court to prosecute. We will have to match it up essentially with the New York State Penal Law. But this has really done something in the spirit of transparency working with the advocates. One thing I did want to get out – whatever the crime is classified as, it was always investigated. It was always investigated whether it was penetration with an object, where it was, who was involved – and we would follow the New York State Penal Law. This, in the spirit of transparency – we’re just trying to follow the national standards as well. If that makes sense.
Commissioner O’Neill: Andrew?
Question: [Inaudible] rise in shootings in four out of the five boroughs. I know that you described most of those as gang-affiliated or narcotics turf battles but those are gunshots that New Yorkers hear. I’m wondering how [inaudible] Manhattan or Queens etcetera [inaudible] more shootings and that there is [inaudible] sense of fear [inaudible] –
Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, that’s why if you take a look at what happened in Manhattan North, Queens North, and Brooklyn North prior to the month of August, we had a rise in shootings there and we addressed it. And now Brooklyn North was even, Queens North and Manhattan North continue to improve. And we’ve identified the 4-2 and the 4-6 which is the Bronx, the 7-3 and 7-5 which is Brownsville and East New York, and then the 1-0-3, 1-0-5, 1-13 out in southeast Queens where there has been an increase in shootings. So, we’re looking at three things. We’re looking at, of course, community involvement – that’s always an important aspect. We’re looking at uniformed coverage and we’re looking at investigative avenues that we’re pursuing particularly gang and crew cases. Terry, I don’t know if you want to add to that.
Chief of Department Terence Monahan, NYPD: Again, as we look at the different areas of the city, this is something you got to take in perspective also. Whenever there is violence, whenever there is a shooting we’re going to move resources there, we’re going to move our investigative resources there. There is an increase and it’s a serious increase, you know, 36, I believe it is at this point, of the year. But take it into perspective. If you go back just three years ago, we’re down 136 from where we were just three years ago. But any increase that we do, we move our resources quickly to address it and make the arrest as soon as possible. And as you can see the men and women are out there making gun arrests – up 20 percent in the month of August. And as you saw over the weekend, with the shootings in the 1-0-3 and the 7-3, our cops are running out there, and running into that danger to get these serious people off the street.
Commissioner O’Neill: Mark?
Question: Anti-Semitic crimes [inaudible] anything you can say about why that jump is so high and [inaudible] –
Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, Chief Shea will give you a breakdown of the incidents along with the arrests – the increase in arrests we have. Dermot –
Chief Shea: So, we are seeing a significant increase in the arrests regarding hate crimes and anti-Semitic in particular – 25 percent increase. That’s a raw number of 135 versus 108 on the arrests being made. When you look at the hate crimes overall in New York City as of this week, we are up plus-85. The raw number is 290 versus 205 for a 41 percent increase. The overall trends of what we’re seeing is really mirrored by what we’ve seen since the beginning of the year. The vast majority – well, well over 50 percent of our overall are anti-Semitic in nature. When you look at the precincts where we’re seeing the most – spread throughout the city, the Upper East Side in the 19th Precinct is number one followed by the 9-4 in Brooklyn North, the 6-1 in Brooklyn South, and then the 1st Precinct Midtown South, and the 7-1 back to Brooklyn all have recorded nine on the anti-Semitic [inaudible].
Again, what’s causing it – you know, it’s probably a little bit of everything. It’s certainly something that we take serious. We have very seasoned investigators assigned to our Hate Crimes Task Force. We work well with a variety of partners on the outreach side as well as the investigative side.
Question: Is this the kind of situation where the same person is doing the bulk of the crime?
Chief Shea: We have seen that for sure. A number of cases that I’ve highlighted, we’ve seen some mental illness, we’ve seen some people that are just – that hate. So, we’ve seen a little bit of everything. I’ve certainly highlighted it in some of the prior press conferences and tweets. We had an incident in Brooklyn just about three weeks ago where a bunch of kids in this particular incident went out and struck a number of individuals walking to services in the morning. So, we’ve seen a little bit of running the gamut in terms of who is perpetrating these crimes. But again, very significant increase in the arrests.
Question: Chief Harrison, do you want to just talk about what we’re doing in the patrol level to reinsure the residents of these four or five precincts?
Chief of Patrol Services Rodney Harrison, NYPD: Yeah, so, good morning everyone – good afternoon, everybody. So, a couple of concepts that we’ve put together that we’ve been doing since we saw a little bit of a spike here. We have our steady sectors that have ownership of some of these religious institutions within their sectors – make sure that these [inaudible] time by some of these religious institutions. We have NCOs working with the leaders of these synagogues, churches to make sure that there is constant dialogue, make sure that there is some crime prevention conversations going on, as well as we’re using our auxiliary officers to be very, very instrumental in some omni-presence at some of these institutions as well. So, we’re taking a look at all the concerns throughout the city and we make sure we address it accordingly.
Commissioner O’Neill: Thanks, Rodney. Any other questions about crime stats?
Question: Yeah, shootings are up a little. Can you speak about how many innocent bystanders are being affected?
Commissioner O’Neill: Hey, Dermot, do we have the number of innocent people shot so far? No, we’re going to have to get back to you on that. Okay, yeah, right here.
Question: [Inaudible] hard numbers of – the increase in gun arrests is up 20 percent. Do you have the hard numbers on what those are?
Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, Chief Monahan has that.
Chief Monahan: 355 arrests this August compared to 295 last August.
Question: Is this indicating that there are more guns in the community? What’s the significance of this?
Commissioner O’Neill: It’s probably a little bit of both. It’s more police, more police work out there and then, obviously, maybe there’s some more people carrying guns also. But that’s why – that’s what the cops are out there doing. They’re continuing to do this. We continue to address gun violence and it’s important that it’s not only the NYPD that’s doing this. It’s got to – we have to make sure that we’re working with each and every community, too. Yeah, Tony?
Commissioner O’Neill: No, this is what we do, Tony, and you know that. With these gang and crew investigations, we look at certain gang and crews and sometimes we take it locally. We’ll take it to the local DA’s office and sometimes we’ll use our federal partners too whether the FBI, the ATF, the Southern or the Eastern District. I mean this goes at the very root of gun violence in New York City. We have to make sure that we do our best to make sure when we do take a gun off the street that there are serious consequences for that.
Question: [Inaudible] crimes, do we have a sense for what – how many of those are actual assaults on people and how many are graffiti or –
Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, we can give you those numbers. Dermot, do you have that?
Chief Shea: I think it’s probably easier if I just get back to you because you can slice and dice these numbers. But I can tell you in the broad picture, the vast majority do not involve personal action and assault.
Question: Vandalism –
Chief Shea: It’s vandalism – the number one [inaudible] is damage, criminal mischief, or swastikas, something of that nature.
Commissioner O’Neill: Tom?
Question: [Inaudible] uptick in shootings in Queens particularly in the 1-0-3 and the 1-0-5. Are you guys, like, focusing on specific gang or is this gangs fighting other gangs or how would you –
Commissioner O’Neill: Most of it is gang or crew related violence, and we’re working with the Violence Interrupters out there also which they play an important part of this. They’re very familiar with the people that we’re dealing with too and we have a good partnership out there. Any other – right there.
Commissioner O’Neill: This is – I’m not going to go into specific cases of people that have helped us but this is – this is how we continue to reduce violence. We work with communities, we have that outreach before the shooting occurs, we continue to build trust, and then we work with the DA’s Offices to make sure that when the people do come forward that they are protected. I’m not going to in to how we do that. Any police off-topic?
Question: Commissioner, can you talk about – have you spoken to the new [inaudible] hate crimes [inaudible]?
Commissioner O’Neill: I’ve been kind of busy the last couple of days, so I have not but I will be speaking with her. I know Chief Donahue, from OMAP, has a phone call set up with her this week—
Question: Have you started a [inaudible]?
Commissioner O’Neill: I think it’ll be a good partnership. In the back?
Question: City Councilman Deutsch wants to introduce a bill in the coming months that would make a hate crime a [inaudible] crime, so that would cover things that aren’t already covered under the [inaudible]. A comment or any thoughts on that?
Commissioner O’Neill: I mean they are hate crimes so there is an increase penalty if you get arrested and convicted of a hate crime, so I’ll talk to Councilman Deutsch about what he plans to do. Jon?
Question: Commissioner, following the water bucket attacks on cops, the shooting of police officers off-duty the other day, and yesterday a mother and son were arrested outside a fire for kind of disobeying police. Is there a feeling that [inaudible] where police often are being disrespected in these instances?
Commissioner O’Neill: Jon, this is the 20th time I’ve probably been asked a form or variation of this question. Everybody up here has been police officers for a long time. This is not a new thing, alright? This happens. And when it happens there has to be consequences for it and the police officers – we have to take action. I think there was a fire up in my old precinct up in the 4-4 that something happened where somebody took a body cam – body camera off one of police officers and there was an arrest. So there’s an immediate consequence there. As far as police officer – officer involved shootings, we are up this year from 17 – we had 17 so far this year, these are adversarial shootings, versus 10. This is something that we look at very closely. Look at the shooting on 7-3. That guy was going out to shoot somebody else. He was all mashed up, he was carrying two guns on him, so.
Question: Are people targeting police more, in other words? Does it feel like the public’s targeting the police?
Commissioner O’Neill: Again, I’ll state this clearly. We are here to protect victims. We are not victims. And if somebody wants to attack a police officer, there’s going to be consequences for that. Yes?
Question: Commissioner, the no-confidence vote last week by the PBA was the first time in 20 years that they did something like this and it’s the first time since Pat Lynch became president. Did it surprise you that he would have taken that sort of stand given the fact that your decision involved a cop who had violated an NYPD ban on chokeholds and somebody died [inaudible]?
Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah so this something Pat feels he needs to do for his membership, and I’ll say it again, I disagree with him very strongly, and I have all the confidence in the world in the men and women of the New York City Police Department that they will continue to drive down crime and keep the people of this city safe. Marcia?
Question: Commissioner, this is the first time that you and the Mayor have been together since you decided to fire Officer Pantaleo. I’m wondering why – if you can tell us why you thought that Officer Pantaleo needed to be fired as opposed to leaving the Department with some of his retirement benefits?
Mayor: And Marcia, I was very clear throughout the whole process. I had faith that the NYPD trial process would be fair and impartial. We saw that play out and the Commissioner made the ultimate decision, as is the requirement of state law. So I spoke throughout this process about the need for a justice system that actually functioned, where there was a public trial and a fair and impartial process. That’s what we got here.
Question: So you didn’t weigh in?
Mayor: No, that’s the whole point is I wanted to see this process play out appropriately and it did.
Commissioner O’Neill: Yep.
Question: Couple things on the Brownsville mass shooter. Am I right that that hasn’t – that perp has not been identified—
Commissioner O’Neill: No, we continue to work on that case. We are making progress.
Question: And on the suicide, the retired sergeant – I think he lived on Staten Island – can you just talk about that? Does that seem to fit a pattern that we’ve seen with other suicides—
Commissioner O’Neill: He retired in 2012 and with any suicide, active or retired, we’ll take a look at that and see what the circumstances were. I don’t have an answer for you right now. Yep?
Question: Regarding police officer suicides, is there any relationship to suicides and officers who were under investigation themselves for criminal activities?
Commissioner O’Neill: So, so far this year we’ve looked at each and every one of them. I don’t see a connection there. Yes?
Question: [Inaudible] most of these hate crimes are reported by Jews. Is it possible that there is a lot of unreported hate crimes in other groups who may feel more vulnerable, whether its sexual orientation or immigrant status, or a different ethnicity. Or do you think that there really is a hardcore trend of hostility and anti-Semitism that’s driving more of these crimes against Jews?
Commissioner O’Neill: So I can’t sit here and speculate about how many crimes are unreported but I’m sure there are crimes out there that are not reported, but that’s what we have to do as a police department. We have to build trust with each and every community, whether it’s the Jewish community, the Muslim community, the Hispanic community. This is what we have to do. And that’s when people feel that they can trust the police they’ll come forward and report these hate crimes and make sure that we can fully investigate them and make an arrest to make sure there’s a consequence for that action. So I can’t say either way here. Anybody else? Hold on one second. Tony?
Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah I think it – I think it does – I don’t think, I know it works. I’ve seen the science behind it, I’m not a mathematician or a research specialist, but the people that have created it are. I do have confidence. We are still trying to nail down on how the local precinct PSA or Transit District Commander can utilize that information to help improve and build trust throughout the city so Tony you’re going to have asking that question, right?
Commissioner O’Neill: We’re getting the information but we just have to make sure that they understand how that information comes about and how they can use it to make the residents of their precinct PSA district even safer. Yeah?
Question: Commissioner, you’ve mentioned before about one of the purposes of the NYPD and your office is to keep people safe, and on a lighter note, I don’t know if you’re aware that there are about 100 bricks, red bricks, leading to this building that are loose and the police officer downstairs reported to me that there have been a number of accidents where people have fallen and tripped. I being one of them today. Is there anything being planned to repair the bricks out front so—
Commissioner O’Neill: Now that you told the Police Commissioner, there will be a definite plan to fix those bricks. That has not been brought to my attention yet but thank you, one more thing for me think about. Thank you. Yeah?
Question: Just a follow-up, Mr. Mayor, on this question. Throughout the Pantaleo’s case you declined giving your opinion because you didn’t want to influence or interfere with the process in any way. I’m just curious, now that the Commissioner has taken action, why are you still declining to provide your opinion now that you no longer influence—
Mayor: Again, I’ve said I think it was a fair and impartial process and that’s what is the definition of justice and justice was served. That’s all I had to say.
Question: Alright, but the question whether you agree with Commissioner —
Mayor: Again, I feel very comfortable with what I’ve said.
Question: Right, but why [inaudible]—
Mayor: I feel very comfortable with what I’ve said.
Commissioner O’Neill: Yep.
Question: To clarify on that point though, was there an offer made to have Officer Pantaleo resign and keep some of his pension benefits?
Commissioner O’Neill: We discussed possible outcomes but no official offer was made. Yeah, front row.
Question: So the decrease in summonses and arrest [inaudible]—
Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah so there’s a couple of things that we’re monitoring here, we’re looking at sick time, we’re looking at response time, we’re looking at radio backlogs. We are looking at enforcement activity, felony enforcement activity. If you look at – you’re going to have to follow me here for a second. We looked at the average daily felony arrest activity for year to date and it’s down about 11 percent, post August 19th. Misdemeanor arrests are down about 17 percent. Moving violations are down about 32 percent. So what – there is accountability here, and there’s leadership issues here. We have to make sure that the precinct PSA and Transit District Commanders are paying attention to this, and they are paying attention to this every day. It’s not something that we’re looking at every week or every two weeks. Police officers have a responsibility to keep people safe, they need to do their jobs. And that’s why we have the leadership in place that’s out there in field right now. And the borough commanders are playing a big part in this too. So we’re looking at it each and every day.
Question: [Inaudible] what action do you take to ensure-
Commissioner O’Neill: I am not going to get into that. There are certain things that we can do, but keep in mind through all this in the month of August crime is down. Okay, that’s one thing you have to keep in mind. Mark?
Question: Have you met with union leaders in response to this possible slowdown. [Inaudible] couple years ago-
Commissioner O’Neill: Yep, I haven’t met with Patty since the decision, no I have not.
Commissioner O’Neill: No I have not. Yep, second row.
Question: [Inaudible] Brownsville mass shooting [inaudible]-
Commissioner O’Neill: Yeah, so, I just answered that question over here to Bobby. We are still working on that case. I don’t want to go into too much detail. But there is a tremendous amount of work being done on that case. Yep.
Question: Commissioner, again, to the point of the lower arrest. How do you – through the volume of the union leadership, when they’re saying one thing, and you are saying another in terms of how officers should operate and protect the city?
Commissioner O’Neill: So, again this is a department that has been very efficient in bringing down crime, specifically over the last five years. Take a look at where we are. And that’s our responsibility at the executive level is to ensure that we continue to do that. And part of how we do that and through all that summonses and arrests have been going down systemically since 2014, and we’re focusing our resources on the people involved in violence and crime. We also have to be responsive to quality of life complaints too. So this is – you know, my message is that cops take this job to make a difference and to keep people safe, and they do a great job at that. Patty’s message sometimes I’m not really sure I’m understanding it, is he saying that we’re not doing a good job? He needs to take a look at the facts then.
Unknown: Time for a couple of more.
Commissioner O’Neill: Andrew.
Question: [Inaudible] your interpretation of the numbers on summonses and arrests since August 15th [inaudible] some kind of slowdown –
Commissioner O’Neill: There is a reduction in the numbers, yes there are. I stated that fairly clearly.
Question: But would you characterize that as a slowdown or –?
Commissioner O’Neill: Again, on a case by – we have to look at each precinct, we have to look at each PSA in each district and see what everybody is doing.
Mayor: Yeah, and I got to come back to it. Crime is down, gun arrests up, J’ouvert which is a historic problem was handled without a single incident. So our officers are keeping people safe, and they’re acting like professionals. There is some sporadic issues, they’ll be dealt with. But I really want to come to the essence of why our officers chose to do this work, and the way they go about it. They’re going about it as professionals getting the job done.
Commissioner O’Neill: Hold on one second.
Question: Mr. Mayor.
Commissioner O’Neill: Right here, hold one second, right here first row.
Question: Do you have a sense [inaudible]?
Commissioner O’Neill: Terry, correct me if I’m wrong here. But I think its marijuana arrests which there’s a big change in the law as of the 28th and 5-11 arrests, those are motor vehicle related arrests.
Chief of Department Terence Monahan, NYPD: Correct.
Commissioner O’Neill: Yep.
Question: Mr. Mayor?
Mayor: Yeah, just to finish this – no, I am not concerned. The – again, what I see is our officers doing their job. I see some sporadic issues that have to be addressed. As the Commissioner’s made very clear, that would be addressed on a precinct basis, and we’ll keep moving forward.
Commissioner O’Neill: Yep.
Question: Not to belabor another point.
Commissioner O’Neill: But you will.
Mayor: But you will. Why do people say not to belabor, and then they belabor. There is something wrong with that phrase. I think you should say to belabor another point.
Question: On Officer Pantaleo – if there was a fair and impartial process that played out and he was not fired, would justice have been served?
Mayor: I don’t deal with theatricals, you all know that. This process worked, and I want to be straight forward, I’ve said it before and I don’t think people are registering it. So let’s have a little quick reflection on history. The world is very different then what we knew. It used to be that when there were these very difficult issues, it was the United States Department of Justice that went in regardless of the political environment or community or who were the local leaders and cut through all that and figured out how to have a fair and impartial process. This time they were absolutely absent. The NYPD is the place where you saw an exemplary process, where there was a public trial, and there was an objective decision and justice was done. And that speaks volumes about the NYPD moving forward. Every police department has handled this historical challenges in different ways. But the NYPD has done something historic here, really fundamentally moved to heal the relationship between police and community while driving down crime, while creating accountability. That’s what you’ve seen happen over these last years.
Commissioner O’Neill: Ashley?
Question: [Inaudible] specific where you’re seeing arrests fall and if there are any shared attributes among these [inaudible]? Are there certain precincts, are they more active? Is it a variety of precincts? What [inaudible]?
Commissioner O’Neill: I took a look at the precincts last night and it varies precinct by precinct. Can I recite it precinct by precinct now? No, I can’t, I can’t do that. But any precincts that are – you know, we’re taking a look at the activity, if it’s a big drop it will be addressed through the borough command, through the chief of patrol for the borough commander and the precinct commander to make sure we address it.
Question: Are these the more active precincts? Are these the ones where you visited earlier this year?
Commissioner O’Neill: No, I’d have to take another look at it. Yep, in the back row.
Question: When you said it will addressed. Is there are action that you can take against an officer who is following the unions instruction in terms of [inaudible]? Is it [inaudible] verbally, what exactly can be done towards [inaudible]?
Commissioner O’Neill: We just have to make sure that people are doing their jobs, and that’s how people get evaluated. If they’re doing their jobs or not and it’s certainly not just driven by summonses and arrests. There are many other things that we look at. But as a uniformed member of the New York City Police Department that’s part of your job. If there’s an address out there – if there’s a condition out there it needs to be addressed. If there is a crime that occurs that needs to be addressed too. So, we have expectations that our officers perform.
Commissioner O’Neill: Aright, thank you very much.
Mayor: Okay, we’ll switch over.
Mayor: Alright, go ahead Bobby.
Question: I wanted to ask you about a story that we had on NY1 about a NYCHA elevator breakdowns. I don’t know if you saw this, but there was a disabled resident who did essentially trapped in her apartment for months because the elevator hasn’t been repaired. I just want your response. Do you feel like NYCHA is failing these residents?
Mayor: Well, first of all it’s unacceptable. If someone has a disability and the elevator is not going to function, they have to be moved to another apartment. We can’t let that happen to anyone. So right there that’s a failing that has to be addressed. The big problems in NYCHA, including elevators – you know, we’re in the middle of a multi-year plan to address all of this. Decades in the making, let’s be blunt about that. The problems developed over many, many years. But we have a very aggressive plan to address it. But in the meantime we have to be sensitive to anybody with disabilities and we have to make moves to help them. And I do believe what we’re seeing with each passing year is the ability to NYCHA to respond is speeding up. We saw that we heat, we’re starting to see that with elevators, we need to see more.
Question: It seems like the numbers don’t show any decrease. And under the settlement agreement, I think the number is 75 percent reduction in three years. It doesn’t seem like things are improving.
Mayor: Well, I don’t have all the numbers in front of me, but I’ve been over them pretty consistently. I do think there’s been improvement in pretty much all the categories. There’s more to do. I mean we’re obviously – we’re very early on since we agreed to the settlement and we put out the NYCHA 2.0 plan. So you’re going to see more and more with each passing month. But again we know things can change and can change quickly. We know it because we saw that with heat. We know it because we’ve seen that with the new roofs, most notably Queensbridge Houses where all the roofs were re-done, you’re going to see more of that with each passing month. Okay, yes.
Question: Mr. Mayor, [inaudible] analysis you had [inaudible] entries on your calendar in May it’s down from [inaudible] the year before. And the New York Daily News had editorial where they mentioned a [inaudible] work day. I was wondering if you can address that. And in light of that [inaudible] instead of participating in the measles, ending the measles outbreak, and hate crimes.
Mayor: Yeah, the whole question I think misunderstands the reality of being Mayor. And I’ve tried to articulate this before and I’ll try to articulate it again. This is a job that requires energy and attention every hour of every day and that’s what I do. There’s countless phones calls, countless emails. Checking in on all different leaders of different agencies, and folks at City Hall. And that is why you continue to see a host of initiatives moving forward. It’s the nature of the job as a CEO that you’re responsible for making sure everything is moving and everything is moving. That’s just the reality. So I’ve tried to explain to people that that’s what I do every day constantly. It shows up in different ways on calendars. The calendars only tell you one piece of the story.
Question: And on the – why not [inaudible]
Mayor: Again, just –
Question: Hate crimes are up 41 percent.
Mayor: Decisions on schedule, again I think there’s an interesting misunderstanding of the fact that when someone has an office and they run for another office you’re going to put time into your campaign while doing your current office, that’s what I’ve been doing. You just make choices.
Question: Councilman Deutsch says it seems like you’re distracted because of the presidential run. And sometimes perception unfortunately is reality.
Mayor: No, perception is never reality.
Mayor: It’s just not.
Question: [Inaudible] look at you and say you’re not working –
Mayor: No, I would say they’re wrong, and it’s simply this – I get the power of perception of our society. But I refuse to accept that it is reality. What matters is the work, the work getting done. I disagree with the Councilman with all due respect to him, he does not understand what it takes to run New York City. We are here at a press conference where crime has gone down. And how many times have you sat here, Dave, while we’re talking about crime going down over the last six years. That’s why I’m here to make sure happens. We undoubtedly have a different and better relationship between the NYPD and our communities. That was my pledge that we would achieve. That’s what we’ve done. We have more jobs than we’ve ever had in our history. I could go on. We had a great report a week or two ago about our test scores going up, and proving the value of early childhood education. These are all the things I’m here to do. I’m not here to satisfy someone’s perception desires. I’m here to serve the people of New York City and change their lives. That’s what we’re doing. Right back.
Question: There seems to be a misunderstanding, so I am hoping you can take us through. What does a typical day look like? What are you doing when there is nothing on the calendar that you know, would be listed in –
Mayor: There’s just no such thing as nothing. I think that’s a very fair question, and I’ll try my best to explain to you that – I think if you ask people who run really big, complex things, they’d probably tell you the same thing. You have a certain amount of scheduled activity, and then you have an incessant amount of unscheduled activity. The first thing in the morning I start seeing the emails come in with different issues, obviously things are being brought up in the media and often very importantly being brought up in the media that we need to focus on. And it begins a day-long dialogue and it goes until late at night. So – typically you’re talking about something like 6:00 am in the morning until 10:00 pm or 11:00 pm at night. And it doesn’t matter where I am. And it’s interwoven with everything. It just is non-stop. I am looking at my Blackberry all the time and I’m on the phone all the time in response to what I’m seeing, the questions I’m asking people, the reports they’re giving me, the follow up on any number of issues. The schedule indicates when there is a formal meeting or call. It misses a huge percentage of everything that anyone in charge has to deal with. It’s just incessant. There is no way – everyone here works hard, everyone in this room works hard, I know. I wish I could put it into human terms for you what it’s like that it is literally all the time. It never, ever, ever goes away. And that’s the job that you choose to take when you’re mayor. But it is being responsible for all of it all the time.
And so, you know there was a very important example this morning, one of the papers had an article about this house with a lot of trash in the front yard. So I immediately contacted a group of commissioners and I said what are we doing about this? And it started a back and forth with people and I said we need to figure out if there are legal concerns or we need the Health Department involved. Figure out how to get it done. That happens dozens, and dozens, and dozens of times throughout every single day and you know, it does not discriminate between weekdays, weekends, holidays, if I’m in the city if I’m out the city. It’s the same thing all of the time.
Question: Schools open tomorrow—
Mayor: Yes, big day.
Question: —in New York City. Very big day. You are going to be visiting schools?
Mayor: Yes, indeed.
Question: All the places you usually do?
Question: You have two very bright children of your own as a parent.
Mayor: Thank you.
Question: And there is a big controversy—
Mayor: I concur.
Question: As does the First Lady. That being said there is a big controversy in New York right now about the future of the Gifted and Talented programs. What is your personal and professional opinion about that and where do you see it ending up?
Mayor: My view is, first of all, this a very big complicated discussion that we need to do systematically in this city and involve stakeholders from all over the city starting with parents and we’ll do that in the course of this school year. So the Commission, or the Advisory Group, I should say, came forward with their report. I am going to meet with them at some point in the coming weeks to talk it through with them but what I know is, something as big and complicated as Gifted and Talented deserves a very, very careful, thoughtful process. I think the big question here is how to reach thousands and thousands of gifted and talented kids that are in our schools, many of whom are not currently reached by Gifted and Talented programs. Like what’s the best way to create a system that actually reaches all kids who have special talents and abilities which I think is a lot more kids than we recognize. And that’s very much related to the Equity and Excellence mission, to make this approach more pervasive, but figuring out how to do that is something that’s going to take a lot of work. Marcia?
Question: Mr. Mayor, to change topics – given the fact there have been a lot of bicycle deaths [inaudible] I wonder if you have thought about requiring people who rent Citi bikes to wear helmets?
Mayor: I have thought about that. And that’s something we are talking about inside the administration. There are different viewpoints on what would work and how much impact it would have. But I think it’s a real valid issue so it’s something we are studying right now.
Question: Is it something that you think you should require? I mean it just seems to me you drive down the street and people for whatever reason don’t always obey the bike lanes, don’t always obey lights or the right way of going down the streets, imperiling themselves.
Question: And you know just given the fact that we have a lot of tourists, you have a lot of other people, don’t you think it would just be a basic safety issue, a Vision Zero safety issue to require helmets?
Mayor: I think it’s like everything else in this place, we have to think about what is going to be safe for people first, but also what’s going to work. And I think the big questions are is it something we could actually enforce effectively, would it encourage or discourage people from riding bikes? But I care first and foremost about safety so we are having that discussion right now. I think it is a really valid issue. We have got to figure it out.
Question: So which comes first, the safety or the [inaudible]?
Mayor: No I’m saying again, we have to look at everything Marcia, including can we make a plan that works and is enforceable? But we are going to figure that out. Go ahead.
Question: Mr. Mayor, I spoke to several current and former NYCHA employees, most of them women, who described a toxic work environment cultivated by NYCHA General Manager Vito Mustaciuolo. Sorry if I’m pronouncing that wrong. And among the things that he is said to have said was he suggested once that he could call public housing tenants dirty if he was black, but as you know, he’s white. And I wanted to see if you have any comment on that remark specifically as well as some of the other allegations that I reported on last week, you know swearing, belittling female staffers?
Mayor: So let me separate the pieces. On the question of whether he has ever shown disrespect for the residents, I don’t believe he ever has and I don’t believe that anyone saying that is speaking accurately.
Question: Even though these were employees—
Mayor: Again, I’m telling you my own belief. On the question on whether he has ever shown disrespect for the residents of NYCHA, I do not believe he ever has. I know his very well and I have watched his interaction with residents and his commitment to them. So I am just going to say very straight forward, I don’t buy that one. On the question of anyone coming forward with a concern about the work environment and how they are being treated, particularly based on who they are, we take that very seriously. There’s obviously a real examination of that going on right now lead by the Law Department. But I will say as that continues and that will be done quickly and we will respond to the outcome of that, I also affirm that very, very important work is being done right now to fix NYCHA. It’s very tough work and I want to acknowledge how hard Vito has worked to try and change that place, and I think with some real success.
Question: Just to follow up on that. You think that it’s appropriate for him to lie to you about what the Authority can actually do. Several of the staffers I spoke to said that he specifically told you that you guys could x-ray 130,000 apartments in certain number of years when he knew that that was not true.
Mayor: I don’t believe that he is someone who lacks integrity. I’ve only seen integrity from him. I don’t know the specific instance you are referring to. I’d be happy to look at it.
Question: It happened last year.
Mayor: Again I’m saying I don’t know the specific words that were used that you are referring to. I believe his suggestion that we use the x-ray technology was the right one and that is proceeding. Yeah.
Question: On Gifted and Talented programs – just the diversity discussion aside, why is it sound educational policy to have Gifted and Talented programs in elementary school, especially in the early childhood grades K to two? Because many will say it’s not developmentally [inaudible] to track kids that young and that the test at such a young age doesn’t capture anything about a kid’s learning needs?
Mayor: I think that’s a real fair concern. And that’s part of why we need to have a comprehensive process over the course of this school year. And when I say stakeholders, we are going to of course, as I said starting with parents, but we are going to be talking to educators, we are going to be talking to experts in early childhood education and Gifted and Talented education. A lot of people in New York City care deeply to make sure that their kids, if they have special abilities, can really get the kind of education they need. That’s only normal, human, you know what every parent cares about, to get the very best for their child. At the same time we have to ask the question, are we reaching all the kids we should be reaching? Are we reaching them the right way? Is there a different approach that could do it even better? That’s all what we want to look at. But that includes the question of when is it even appropriate to make that assessment? I think that’s a very real issue. Yeah.
Mayor: Oh sure, I’ll watch it, yes.
Question: Mr. Mayor, [inaudible] issue for, and secondly, it turns out your schedule, are there certain instances where it’s just you [inaudible]?
Mayor: Sure, so on the first point, we are going to take the school year to go through that process which to me means that we would be able to know, you know, towards the end of the school or that summer how we want to proceed. So certainly we would be in a position to take some actions while still here. On the second point, yes obviously. There are some meetings that can only be held effectively in person. There are some situations where the only way you can fully understand how address it is by seeing it yourself. We had the heat wave – it’s an example of something where we had a number of meetings, we had a number of press conferences and then on the days of it you know, I was out in communities. But there’s a whole sorts of other things to square the question, there’s all sorts of other things, again every leader in 2019, deals with things by conference call or whatever else, it’s not the kind of thing that you have to do in person. Way back.
Question: So there isn’t currently a remote worker policy for DCAS, municipal workers, [inaudible] workers for the City. Given your success kind of working remotely and you know working wherever you are, [inaudible] get you to grant the same opportunity for City workers across the city to kind of work from home on a day or two or?
Mayor: Well the role of Mayor is unlike any other role, let’s be very honest. This is 24/7 responsibility for all agencies simultaneously. And wish I could again, put into words better for you all, I’ll try over the months ahead. But when you are responsible for all of it, it’s just different than anybody else’s experience. And, but that said, you know I don’t know what DCAS has thought about how to handle things going forward, I think it is a fair issue for them to assess if they haven’t already. It’s something we have to account for in the modern world but obviously with a scale operation this big, it has to be done very, very carefully. Yeah?
Question: There were some flyers and emails circulated in the Orthodox community stating that, encouraging people to give you campaign contributions and saying they would get a vacate order lifted on a synagogue if that were to happen. There were also some allegations that these were forged so it’s a little confusing, but are you aware of this – of these communications and have you had any conversations about the status of the—
Mayor: No, I was not aware of the issue to begin with, let alone the allegations of who did what flyer until I read the articles in the papers. And if someone did forge that, that’s thoroughly disgusting and unacceptable. No, none of that ever came to my attention. And I would never make a decision of anything but the merits anyway. Yeah?
Question: So Mayor, the last five years of Mike Bloomberg’s mayoralty, Gifted and Talented programs were cut in black and Latino neighborhoods from 60 back to ten. They claimed there weren’t enough students who were qualified. It would seem like the Advisory Board that basically was picked by you is recommending something similar and going perhaps beyond that in terms of eliminating Gifted and Talented. Do you really see that as a viable possibility?
Mayor: So I don’t blame anyone who says well you appointed a board, therefore you must agree with everything they say except we already have evidence from the previous round with this same group. I agreed with them on a number of things, I disagree with them on some issues as well, on the first report. This is a much more expansive report and one where I am reserving my judgement entirely until I have met with my team in real detail about it and met with the advisory group and we’ve gone through a real stakeholder process. Again, we heard – to your point, we’ve heard a lot of concern in communities of color that they wanted more Gifted and Talented programs and in fact we have accommodated that. We tried to respect that. But it doesn’t answer the bigger question of where we need to go in the future and what’s the way to reach all the kids who really need that kind of support and what’s the way to do it fairly and equally. So I think what the report’s really doing from my point of view is it’s begging some bigger questions that now need, very, very smart careful consideration and that’s what we are going to do.
Question: Mr. Mayor, how difficult is it to run for president and be mayor at the same time?
Mayor: It’s definitely difficult. It’s – you know, either one is difficult, doing them both together is very difficult. But, you know, I think the truth is the difference between year-one or year-two or year-three versus year-six. You know, by year six, thank God a lot of learning has happened, certainly in my case. You know, some things you learn through, you know, trial by fire, but, very, very different reality to have done it, you know, for five-and-a-half years previous. But yeah, each one, to say the least, is a huge amount of work.
Question: Has been being mayor affected your national campaign in some way?
Mayor: Of course. I mean, if there were many, many times where there was things, of course I had to do here that if I was like so many other candidates, those who don't have a day job or do have a different kind of day job, you know, they're out campaigning all the time. But I understood that going in that, you know – I’m a believer, and I've said it, and I really believe it, that the irony is our current political system basically encourages folks to run for president who don't have a substantial executive job at that moment. I mean, that's kind of what things have done – the way things have evolved that, you know, there's a period of time where it seemed the governors were sort of the ascendant group in campaigns for president. And I certainly think I have the bias of a chief executive – there’s a lot to be said for choosing the chief executive to become the highest chief executive in the land. And just understanding the difficulty and complexity of this job, and the presidency is many times over, it’s really hard to think about how someone has never been a chief executive can just take on that role and make sense of it. But I think the reality, the demands of schedule and the way that campaigns are starting earlier and earlier is really making it much easier for someone who is not a chief executive with a current job to run. And look, there's still all good people out there, but it has created an interesting contradiction we all have to make sense of.
Question: [Inaudible] given yourself a deadline as to when you’ll decide you’re not doing this anymore?
Mayor: Well, from my point of view, I don't, think that the debates are the end-all be-all, and I've said that, and I think the polling really bears it out. The debates have actually in the end had relatively little impact on the polling, but they are kind of the main street of the dialogue. So obviously I wanted to get into the September debates – that wasn't possible. I think the logical thing to say is, you know, I'm going to go and try and get into October debates and, if I can, I think that's a good reason to keep going forward. And if I can't, I think it's really tough to conceive of continuing. So, that’s way I'm looking at it right now.
Mayor: No, that that deadline is October 1st.
Question: I was just going to follow-up by asking, when Senator Gillibrand dropped out [inaudible] a human reaction, like, [inaudible] for myself and for other candidates as well. How close did that move your decision?
Mayor: I think the – again, I don't want to overrate the debates, but I will – you know, I'm a human being, I have eyes to see. It's like, they have been one of the most obvious measures. And so, of course, it was disappointing not to get into September, but, you know, I fully gathered that October was the same standards, but with a month more to achieve them. And I really believe what I've said to you guys before, that what we're dealing with is something we've never seen before. I mean, one of the most telling parts of this experience is to recognize that this political world is entirely different. It changed – it’s been changing for years, including my own election in 2013, which was clearly breaking some of the mold. But 2016, the world changed in the way that we're just beginning to make sense of, in my opinion. And campaigning is entirely different, the structures are entirely different – even things like, we didn't just to qualify to for debates according to how many grassroots donors you have. This literally the first time in history that's been the case. So, everything is different. So, for me – you know, working hard to build something up and I'm proud of what I was able to get done in the first two debates. But not making September, of course, that's disappointing. And so, my view was, there’s still one good chance to do that. I'm going to see what I can do there and see if I can break through. But I do note that things move literally in a matter of days. I mean, we are seeing developments we can't even imagine and then they amplify in a way they never used to. You've been around a while.
I mean, I think we used to see things sort of take more time to consolidate. I said it the other day and I mean it, people go from unheard of to totally famous in 72 hours in America now. So, a candidate like me who is not that well known yet, you know, ask me in 72 hours, right? Something might change. And so that's what I want to keep playing out. I feel really good that I had a number of important media opportunities that I thought went very well and I think there's more to come.
Question: It'll be 19 years from 9/11. What plans will New York City have to memorialize it and have us all remember?
Mayor: Every year, this city, with its whole heart, remembers that day and remembers the people we lost, and it's something that people should recognize is a mark of who New Yorkers that we don't forget. And we honor the people we lost, we still stand by their families and support them. And we have a never-again mentality, that we're never going to let terrorists be able to attack us again. And you've seen, even in recent days, the work of a NYPD, the work of the Joint Terrorism Task Force, making sure we're safe. And we learned a very painful lesson, but, you know, we have never forgotten that that work has to happen every single day and will for a long time.
Question: Will there be official events?
Mayor: Of course, the memorial on that morning and there'll be others as well in other parts of the city as well.
Mayor: No, Marcia, I’m sorry. The work that I have a responsibility for continues nonstop. We're getting things done for people. It's more than ironic that you asked that question at a press conference where, once again, crime has gone down. My job is to keep people safe. My job is to keep improving our schools. My job is to keep building our economy – that's happening every single day.
Question: How much time do you spend on the presidential campaign [inaudible]?
Mayor: I can't give you percentages. It's a lot of time on everything. It's just nonstop work.
Question: [Inaudible] couple of months ago. What’s the status of that search and are there any factors that are, kind of, delaying –
Mayor: It’s a nation-wide search, as it would be for any of the big jobs? Typically these things take at least several months. When we brought her on board, it was after a period of several months, and I kept saying that people keep looking for that ideal candidate, and I'm really glad we did. She did an outstanding job. So, when we find the person, we’ll get them.
Question: Back to the bicycles issue [inaudible] considering safety – have you given thought to requiring bicyclists [inaudible] registration for bicyclists given that they share the road with other motor vehicles that have the same [inaudible]?
Mayor: I have not, but I think it's also a valid discussion. Look, I think the reality is that we are a more crowded city than we've ever been and we're still all making sense of this together. We've got more people – literally more people than we've ever had, more jobs than we've ever had, more tourists than we ever had, and a huge amount of construction to go with that. So, we're all sharing – you know, there's more and more people sharing, in effect, less and less space. And we have to think about all the things we need to do in response to that. Now, I'm someone who believes that more and more people riding bikes has been a good thing for this city in terms of reducing the number of cars on the road, taking pressure off other forms of mass transit, it’s better for the environment, it’s good for people's health, a lot of people want to do, but we have to make sense of the safety realities, and that's what Vision Zero is all about. And that includes, first and foremost, it's about enforcement on the motor vehicles where we still have the central problem. We are going to keep expanding enforcement on bicycles as well because we still have a lot of bike riders who have to remember they have to follow the rules. But in terms of other things we should do, we don't have a final plan for that now, but I think all of these proposals are fair and we should look at them.
Last call –
Mayor: First of all, I always say I don't run for anything if I don't think there's a chance of winning. And I think because we're in the most unpredictable environment we've ever been in, anything's possible. I think if you playing by the rules of, you know, a couple of cycles ago, I think a lot of us might not even have run to begin with. But in this environment, things are changing constantly. In fact, if you look at the polling, the front runner dynamics have changed where we thought there was a pure frontrunner, there really isn't anymore. So, no, I think anything is still possible. I also have some important issues I want to address and I'm going to keep doing that.
Mayor: It’s literally, as we're seeing, a single moment – sometimes it's planned and sometimes it's unplanned – can change the way people think about you. We're seeing that constantly. And my job is to keep getting my message out. Again, I'm very pleased with the number of opportunities I've had last few weeks, major venues to get my message out. I’m going to keep doing more of that and seeing if there's a way to get to that next debate. That's it – simple as that.