Quick, what aspect of police work and law enforcement were mayoral contenders addressing when they said the following at Friday’s candidate forum?
- Bill de Blasio: “It’s hard to report crimes and get the kind of response that you deserve…The police need more training to treat these crimes with urgency…Police need better training and we need to strengthen the laws.”
- Christine Quinn: “If we see any situation where police or DA’s are not taking those crimes seriously, we need to take action no matter what elected position we are in.”
Were they talking about traffic violence and NYPD’s lackluster crash investigations? Nope, they were responding to questions about assault against bus operators and harassment and crime against bus and subway passengers.
Safety on the transit system is important, but so is safety on the streets. And so far the candidates haven’t approached the NYPD’s failures on traffic violence with the same fervor they displayed Friday evening for tackling transit crime.
Tom Allon called for “GropeStat” to pinpoint problem harassment locations. “If there’s somebody who’s a serial offender, the DA’s office should take away his MetroCard. Ban him from the subway, ban him from the bus forever,” he said.
Streetsblog followed up with Allon after the forum to ask if this banned-for-life standard should apply to deadly drivers. “There should be a zero-tolerance policy. We have to crack down on people who are a menace to other people,” he said. “It’s one of those crimes that doesn’t get enough attention.”
Also at Friday’s forum, Allon — who called gas surcharges a “sin tax” — took a perplexing view of bicycling, saying that the Bloomberg administration has installed bike lanes “in a hodgepodge way.” He said the city needs a “coordinated and intelligent strategy for bike lanes” that places them in residential areas and not on commercial streets, “so we don’t impede traffic.”
“We’ve got this bike-share program coming up, which will obviously be a boon to the city,” Allon added. But he quickly found the dark cloud to this silver lining. “I’m concerned about 15,000 bikes being on the streets in the next years,” he said.
The other candidates who mentioned bicycling and walking were Adolfo Carrión, who said NYC needs “to create a bike-friendly city and bike friendly workplaces,” and Albanese, who offered a strong endorsement of bike lanes. The other candidates remained silent on the issue at Friday’s forum.