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Mayor Eric Adams Insists Reimagined Anti-Crime Unit, Other Measures Will Be Effective, Not Abusive

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Facing some pushback, Mayor Eric Adams is defending his safety plans to end the epidemic of gun violence.

He insists the reimagined Anti-Crime Unit and other high-tech tools will be effective, not abusive, CBS2's Marcia Kramer reported Tuesday.

Adams never pulled any punches when he ran for mayor. He said time and time again that he would bring back a new version of the much maligned NYPD unit as an integral part of his public safety plan.

"I didn't have a secret of what I was going to do," Adams said.

And yet, when he actually did it in response to a heart-wrenching string of gun crimes over the last three weeks, the critics lined up to say he was wrong.

Public Advocate Jumaane Williams asked why we need the new unit when the NYPD is already doing a good job of taking guns off the street.

"Six thousand guns were taken off the streets last year. I think 400 and change this year alone, if I'm not mistaken. That means we're making gun arrests. That means we're getting historic numbers of guns off the street. That's happening right now. So I do want to know what those units will be focused on that we're not already doing," Williams said.

During a string of media appearances, Adams defended the new units, which will be sent to 30 precincts that account for 80% of the gun crimes. He insisted they would not be abusive or racially insensitive.

The Rev. Al Sharpton was just one of many voices raising concerns that the new unit would bring a return to stop-and-frisk policing in minority communities.

"Even though stop-and-frisk was brought down, it never totally went away. We do not want see the escalation of that," Sharpton said.

"There are going to be real guard rails. Number one, everyone is going to keep their video cameras on. Too many officers were turning off their cameras. We're going to monitor those interactions," Adams said. "We are going to learn from the past so we don't repeat the past, and we will never use under my administration any abusive targeting tactics that goes after people based on their ethnicity and where they live."

The mayor also defended a number of other proposals, from using facial recognition and other new technologies to identify people who carry guns, to changes to bail reform laws and other changes he wants the state Legislature to enact.

One of his toughest sells may be convincing the Legislature to change bail reform laws. Albany lawmakers have voiced open skepticism about the need for change.

Meanwhile, Congressman Tom Suozzi, who is running for governor, unveiled a plan that called for the restoration of stop, question and frisk. He said the police policy was abused in the past, but with proper training it should be used to go after gang members and others known to have guns.

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