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Most New Yorkers Feel Less Safe Than Before the Pandemic: Poll

AP Photo/Ted S. Warren

Earlier this year, Democratic New York City Mayor Eric Adams said in an interview with ABC News that the day he took office, he dialed 911 to report a fight at a subway station. He added he encountered a yelling passenger and another passenger sleeping on the train, making him feel "unsafe." In March, he added that the city is a "laughing stock" due to its crime. 

A poll published this week by the Siena College Research Institute found that an overwhelming 70 percent of New Yorkers say they feel less safe in the city than before the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic. Only 3 percent say they feel safer than before the pandemic.

Seventy percent of New Yorkers say they feel less safe in the City today than before the pandemic, compared to 25% who feel about as safe as before the pandemic and only 3% who feel safer, and 76% said they are very (38%) or somewhat (38%) concerned that they will be a victim of violent crime. While 76% of New Yorkers say they are satisfied with the quality of life in their neighborhood – and at least two-thirds are satisfied with the level of police protection and the quality of sanitation and public transportation services in their neighborhood – 69% are concerned (43% very concerned) that a gunman could target people based on their race, religion or ethnicity in their neighborhood.

In addition, only 29 percent of respondents in the survey said they think Democratic Mayor Eric Adams is doing an "excellent or good job" in office. Sixty-four percent said that Adams is doing "only a fair or poor job." 

"On three specific issues – fighting crime, addressing homelessness, and safety at Rikers Island – New Yorkers give the mayor even worse grades," the poll's press release said. 

“If New Yorkers had a honeymoon with Mayor Adams, it was brief and it’s clearly over. Only 29% give him a positive rating for the job he’s doing as mayor, compared to 64% who give him a negative rating,” said Dr. Don Levy, Director, Siena College Research Institute. “About 40% of adults over 65 and Black New Yorkers view him positively, but his positive rating does not exceed 33% with respondents based on party, gender, political ideology, or borough.”

“Even worse for Adams are his job performance ratings on specific issues. About three-quarters of New Yorkers give him negative grades on both addressing homelessness and fighting crime. And at least 59% give him negative grades on transforming the NYPD, managing city services, tackling safety at Rikers Island, and running the public schools,” Levy said.

The poll findings showed that half of New Yorkers say they've changed their daily routine to feel safer. 

The poll comes after a shooting at a grocery store in Buffalo, New York, that left 10 people dead. It was conducted between May 22 and June 1 and included 1,000 New York City residents. It has a margin of error of 3.1 percentage points. 

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