Mayor Eric Adams blamed the Big Apple’s ongoing shootings surge for the massive months-long drop in traffic enforcement on Friday, which comes as traffic deaths and accidents continue to pile up.
He made the remarks as he joined local lawmakers in demanding that Albany renew and expand the state laws that allow city officials to run cameras which police traffic lights and speed limits in select areas.
“We have to do a better job,” Adams told reporters at a Brooklyn press conference when confronted with stats that show the NYPD is issuing traffic summonses currently at less than half the rate it did pre-pandemic.
He then pivoted to blame the massive drop-off on the shooting surge.
“As you know, we have been dealing with a real crisis of gun violence — 29 people shot in a short period of time last week,” Adams continued. “But we’re going to get our traffic enforcement personnel involved and send a real message out to all of our police commanders that public safety includes vehicle crashes.”
NYPD stats show that officers issued just 83,000 traffic summons during the first two months of 2022.
That’s down a staggering 54 percent from the 182,000 summons issued during the first two months of 2019, which was roughly flat with the 195,000 handed out over the same period in 2018.
The collapse in enforcement corresponds with a surge in traffic-related deaths across the city. NYPD data shows that 46 pedestrians, cyclists and motorists died during the first two months of 2022.
It’s the highest in at least the last six years.
One police official blamed the massive drop-off on the dangers associated with traffic stops and on new City Council requirements that police officers collect demographic information on drivers pulled over.
“It was already down regarding numbers,” but the new reporting requirements “made it even worse,” the source said. “Car stops is a huge liability, it’s one of the two most dangerous to law enforcement, the other is a domestic call.”
The legislation backed by Adams and sponsored by state Sen. Andrew Gounardes (D-Brooklyn) would renew the city’s authority to operate traffic law enforcement cameras, which is set to expire this summer.
Gounardes’ bill would also allow speed cameras in school zones to operate 24 hours a day, instead of the current hours of 6am to 10pm.
Additionally, his legislation would also allow the city to install red light cameras at 1,325 intersections — a massive expansion beyond the current cap of 150.
Additional reporting by Craig McCarthy and Bernadette Hogan