NYC to set up gun checks at entry points as gun violence surges

As New York City has seen many high-profile shootings, including five NYPD officers shot since the start of the new year, the mayor is coming up with a new plan to fight gun violence in NYC.

Mayor Eric Adams said that despite the NYPD taking around 6,000 guns off of the streets last year, new guns are arriving every day.

One solution that he laid out in an address on Monday afternoon was for city police to work with state law enforcement to set up spot checks at all entry points to the city like the Port Authority and other bus and train stations.

When questioned about the gun checks, Adams said he envisioned random checks where bags would be screened.

"We will also move forward on using the latest in technology to identify problems," Adams said. "From facial recognition technology to new tools that can spot those carrying weapons, we will use every available method to keep our people safe."

Adams said the city will expand the gun violence suppression division in the detective bureau. It will be tasked to seize illegal guns and build cases against gun sellers and weapons traffickers.

He said that the NYPD will put more officers on patrol in "key neighborhoods" through the city. He said 80% of gun violence takes place in 30 precincts in the city. The mayor said he wants to bring back a new version of NYPD's plainclothes anti-crime unit, which was disbanded two years ago. 

Adams said he would start or expand youth mentoring and employment programs and ask pastors and other faith leaders to deliver public safety messages to their congregations. He also wants more resources for mental health care and said he will focus on appointing city judges who have a "demonstrated commitment" to keeping criminals who use guns off the city streets.

"The sea of violence comes from many rivers," Adams said. "We must dam every river that feeds this greater crisis."

In a statement, City Council Speaker Adrienne Adams (no relation to the mayor) largely supported the mayor's plan. 

"We strongly welcome the mayor's focus on strengthening community-based violence prevention programs, mental health care, and investments in youth employment," the speaker said, "and we're glad these are so central to the plan and conversation, providing a great starting point."

However, Adrienne Adams cautioned the mayor about bringing back the controversial plainclothes anti-crime unit.

"Concerns have been raised in communities about the plainclothes unit's ability to reduce violence, given its past history of initiating undue violence," the speaker said. "This proposal — along with others to change city and state criminal justice policies — requires further public dialogue and transparency."

On Sunday, New York Gov. Kathy Hochul announced that a multi-state task force would work to slow the flow of illegal guns into the city.

"Too many lives have been lost because of illegal firearms that should never have been on our streets," Hochul said.

More than 50 agencies from nine Northeastern states are taking part in the task force.

NYPD Officer Jason Rivera, 22, was killed responding to a mother's call for help with her son in Harlem on Friday night.  His partner Officer Wilbert Mora, 27, remained in critical condition on Monday.

Adams, a former NYPD captain, joined the governor in calling on the federal government to do more to round up stolen guns like the one used in Friday's shooting.

Other high profiles crimes in the city since the start of the year include a 19-year-old teen who was killed while working at an East Harlem Burger King and an 11-month old baby shot in the head while she was in her mother's arms.

With FOX 5 NY Staff and The Associated Press.