…as ex-policeman wins city’s Democratic mayoral primary
New York has become the first US state to declare a disaster emergency order to address rising gun violence.
New York state saw 51 shootings over the July 4 holiday weekend, Governor Andrew Cuomo said as he signed the executive order.
The directive will funnel $138.7m (£100m) towards gun violence intervention and prevention programmes.
It comes amid reports of a rise in gun deaths countrywide, including nearly 200 over the past weekend.
In March, the FBI released preliminary 2020 statistics showing a significant jump – 25% – in murders from the year before. So far, the upward trend has continued into 2021. In the US, the majority of homicides are gun-related.
US President Joe Biden unveiled a White House strategy to combat the rise in homicides in late June, which includes curtailing rogue gun dealers and firearms trafficking. It also delegates more funding for personnel – including law enforcement.
Governor Cuomo’s state disaster declaration describes gun violence as a public health crisis, and made several comparisons to the Covid-19 pandemic and the resulting public health response.
“If you look at the recent numbers, more people are now dying from gun violence and crime than Covid,” the Democratic governor said.
“Just like we did with Covid, New York is going to lead the nation once again with a comprehensive approach to combating and preventing gun violence.”
Meanwhile, a former police captain who promises to be tough on crime has been declared the winner of the race to pick a Democratic candidate to be New York City’s mayor.
Eric Adams, currently borough president of Brooklyn, is now likely to become the city’s second black leader.
The winner of the party primary is all but certain to become mayor in the heavily Democratic city.
Police figures last month showed crime in the city rose by 22% in the past 12 months and shootings were up 73%.
The Republican candidate in November’s general election will be Curtis Sliwa, founder of the Guardian Angels, an unarmed civilian patrol group known for their red berets.
Adams, 60, is a moderate Democrat who denounced the “defund the police” movement during the campaign.
On the stump, he sought to tread a fine line between promising to reform the New York Police Department (NYPD) and keeping New Yorkers safe from crime.
Adams told supporters on the night of last month’s primary election: “If black lives really matter, it can’t only be against police abuse. It has to be against the violence that’s ripping apart our communities.”
He was declared the winner on Tuesday evening by the Associated Press, a news agency that tracks vote counts in US national, state and local elections.
His big step towards city hall comes as Republicans blame a spike in homicides across a host of US cities for the “defund the police” movement advocated by liberal Democrats.