▶ Watch Video: New York City needs a “joint gang and guns” task force, Democratic nominee for mayor says

Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, the Democratic nominee in New York City’s mayoral race, said Monday his city needs a “joint gang and guns” task forces, as the Big Apple experiences a surge in gun violence. Adams was among the local leaders who met with President Joe Biden and Attorney General Merrick Garland at the White House Monday. 

Adams told CBSN he believes progress was made during the meeting, and said he’s “extremely pleased” with the energy the president is bringing to the conversation. 

“Far too long, we have ignored the epidemic of violence in the inner cities, like New York and Brooklyn,” Adams told CBSN after the White House meeting. “And hearing that we’re going to take a holistic approach to this, not only focus on assault rifles, but also the handgun. The handgun is the real enemy of New Yorkers and really Americans.” 

Adams, a former NYPD officer, has proposed bringing back an anti-crime unit focusing on gangs and gun violence. The anti-crime unit, which was made up of plainclothes officers assigned to each precinct and city housing and targeted illegal guns and local crime sprees, was disbanded last year, according to CBS New York. NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said that because of the nature of its work, the unit had a disproportionately higher number of complaints and police-involved shootings.

Eric Adams, New York’s Democratic nominee for mayor, speaks to CBSN after a meeting with President Biden and other leaders at the White House on July 12, 2021.

CBS News

Adams said he told the president and the president’s team that they need something similar to what happened after the September 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, for a holistic approach about stopping guns in the inner cities.

“Let’s go after those illegal gun dealers, let’s go after those that are trafficking guns inside our cities, and let’s also have a holistic approach to some of the feeders of gun violence. Something simple as dyslexia screening. Our prison population according to one report, had 30% of the inmates were dyslexic. And so the mere fact we’re not providing services to foster care children that age out, mental health issues, those with learning disabilities, that should be a part of the holistic plan that JGGTF should be part of, that we can resolve this crime problem.” 

Adams said the president’s plan would send down “real dollars” to help anti-violence initiatives. He also emphasized the need to fund and offer both prevention and intervention services when it comes to violent crime. 

“Prevention, that consists of the long-term plans that I talked about, such as dyslexia screening, etcetera. But then intervention. We have to get on the ground right now, and we need to be clear about using those methods like Compstat, do precision policing, go after the known shooters and the known gang members, and make sure, with our judicial system, that we’re not having those known shooters and known carriers of guns arrested on Monday and back in our streets on Tuesday. That’s unacceptable, and we have been doing that too often, and I think we need to focus on those small number of people who are violent and continue to be violent, and make sure they are removed from our streets,” Adams said. 

While the administration didn’t announce any new initiatives on Monday, the president and Justice Department have previously announced cracking down on dealers who knowingly sell guns illegally, and cracking down on “ghost guns,” gun kits purchased without any background checks. 

“While there’s no one-size-fits-all approach, we know there’ are some things that work,” Mr. Biden said ahead of the meeting. “The first of those that works is stemming the flow of firearms used to commit violence.”