New York Gov. Kathy Hochul defended her track record on crime two weeks before election day, arguing during a press conference on Monday that gun violence is down but “human emotion” is to blame for an increased sense of fear among New Yorkers.
“I deal with two things here: I deal with real facts and I deal with people’s fear, and I address both,” she said at a press conference alongside Attorney General Letitia James. “The crime related to guns is going down… We’re seeing progress there, but human emotion is different. I understand that.”
Crime has taken center stage in Hochul’s race against Republican challenger Lee Zeldin, prompting a reporter to ask her whether she has pivoted to the issue of crime as a campaign tactic.
“I don’t think it’s an accurate characterization to say we just started talking about crime, when you have to look at the facts of just the work that we’ve done over the past year,” Hochul said, noting that she’s been talking about crime on New York City’s subway system since January and helping usher gun laws through the state legislature.
“I’m not letting the political theater out there affect what we’ve done. This is not a new issue for me and I think that’s well established.”
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Homicides and shooting incidents are both down about 14% in New York City this year compared to the same time frame in 2021, but overall crime is up 30%, according to NYPD data.
That crime spike has been driven by a 40% jump in grand larceny, a 33% surge in robberies, and a 14% rise in felony assaults.
Transit crime on New York City’s public transportation system is also up 42% so far this year, a jump that has been highlighted by recent terrifying incidents, such as a 32-year-old man who was randomly shoved onto train tracks last week in Brooklyn’s Bushwick neighborhood.