NYC mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa denounces Eric Adams' stance on refunding NYPD

Sliwa praised Rudy Giuliani's efforts to combat violent crime in New York City in the 1990s

New York City GOP mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa on Wednesday denounced challenger Eric Adams' flip-flopped stance on refunding the New York Police Department (NYPD).

President Biden earlier this month offered $350 billion from the $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan to fund the NYPD and other metropolitan police departments in an effort to "put more police officers on the beat" as part of his new comprehensive strategy on gun violence, effectively filling budget holes created as the "defund the police" movement reverberated across the country last year. 

"I'm saying take the money now," Sliwa, who created the Guardian Angels volunteer nonprofit in 1979 to help prevent crime, told Fox News Wednesday. "Washington rarely offers money. The president may take it off the table. Bank it, hire the cops, train them, get them out there so that we could have a graduating group of cadets in the streets by October and then continue the process."

Mayoral candidate on Republican Party ticket Curtis Sliwa arrives for debate at PIX11 studios. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Mayoral candidate on Republican Party ticket Curtis Sliwa arrives for debate at PIX11 studios. (Photo by Lev Radin/Pacific Press/LightRocket via Getty Images)

Adams, a former transit officer, recently shifted away from his previous comments questioning whether New York City needs more police officers. 

The Demcoratic borough president of Brooklyn said city leaders "should utilize the money to stabilize crime in the city" and "use the money for additional resources on the transit system to ensure our tourists are really safe as well as the passengers," in remarks made days later, according to The New York Post.

"Eric Adams is trying to attack the problem from the top down, which won't work," Sliwa said of the Democratic candidate's efforts to tackle problems within the NYPD before tackling low-level crimes. "You've got to attack the problem from the bottom up. And we saw that it worked with Rudy Giuliani, who turned the city around in 1993. Why wouldn't you use the same set of principles that worked in the '90s? Why are you trying to reinvent the process?"

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Sliwa repeatedly praised Giuliani's efforts to combat violent crime in New York City in the 1990s and suggested that he is drawing inspiration from the former mayor for some of his proposals to end violent crime, gun violence and gang violence currently rocking the city.

The NYPD has recorded a nearly 19% increase in shooting incidents, 13% increase in shooting victims and 110% increase in hate crimes so far in 2021.

Murders in the city are up more than 1% compared to 2020, with 238 homicides so far this year compared to 235 last year. Robbery and burglary rates are down year-over-year (though up in recent weeks), while other violent crime rates – for charges such as rape, felony assault and vehicle theft – have increased this year, according to NYPD crime statistics.

Brooklyn Borough President and New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams listens as President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting on reducing gun violence, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Monday, July 12, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

Brooklyn Borough President and New York City mayoral candidate Eric Adams listens as President Joe Biden speaks during a meeting on reducing gun violence, in the Roosevelt Room of the White House, Monday, July 12, 2021, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)

"We’re certainly drifting back to the Fear City days of the ‘80s and early ’90s before Rudy Giuliani was elected mayor and turned all that around with quality-of-life initiatives, zero tolerance and utilizing the broken windows theory," Sliwa said. 

The former mayor's "quality-of-life initiatives" focused on holding suspects accountable for low-level crimes impacting the quality of life in New York City, such as public defecation and urination, graffiti and not paying subway or bus fares, which Silwa said "has now become a huge problem because the system can't pay for itself any longer because of all the fare evaders."

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Zero tolerance is a strict law enforcement approach to crime in which all laws are enforced with traditional policing tactics and which Giuliani has credited with reduced crime rates during his eight years in office. 

The "broken windows" theory refers to a policing method in which law enforcement focuses on efforts to create order and combat low-level crimes in communities facing disorder (such as broken windows) before serious, high-level crimes later overtake that same community, according to the Center for Evidence-Based Crime Policy. In other words, focus on proactive policing measures to keep communities safe.

These tactics, Sliwa argues, can help get New York City's crime rate down again as it did in the '90s.

Portrait of American anti-crime activist and founder of the Guardian Angels Curtis Sliwa, as he poses at the 161st Street subway station, New York, New York, mid 1980s. (Photo by Oliver Morris/Getty Images)

Portrait of American anti-crime activist and founder of the Guardian Angels Curtis Sliwa, as he poses at the 161st Street subway station, New York, New York, mid 1980s. (Photo by Oliver Morris/Getty Images)

"Mayor Giuliani, he had an incredibly difficult situation to take down. People think it's bad now. It was worse then, when we were averaging close to 2,000 murders [and] 5,000 shootings a year, most of them unresolved," the candidate said. "They did not lead to arrests for prosecution. So there was anarchy. It was mayhem."

The Brooklyn native and former Jesuit student added that "in some parts of the outer boroughs, the police, when the sun came down," went "out of town."

"Rudy changed all of that, and he changed it from the bottom up. You can't do it from the top down," he said.

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Sliwa also touted his experience as the original Guardian Angel volunteer of New York City, saying his work as an unarmed violence interrupter led him to develop a compassion that other city leaders may not have. 

"For 42 years, as I created the Guardian Angels and led it here in the city, but also in 13 countries – in 130 cities – there are many similarities. And in the streets and in the subways and in the parks and in the public housing projects, we come across these situations all the time: crime, emotionally disturbed, homeless," he said.

"So I have the hands-on experience that Eric Adams does not," Sliwa explained. "And I have the compassion that Eric Adams does not in this regard. So even though I crack down on crime in a much tougher way than Eric Adams would ever do, I'm also far more compassionate, not only to the emotionally disturbed homeless."

Sliwa is looking to replace hizzoner Bill de Blasio and beat Adams in the city's 2021 mayoral election.