Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Crime and Politics in New York City

In the New York mayoral primaries yesterday, former police captain Eric Adams had the lead on the Democratic side, after running the post-George Floyd version of a "tough on crime" campaign. Meanwhile the Republicans nominated Curtis Silwa. founder of the Guardian Angels.

Americans showed this year that they are not happy with police violence and won't necessarily back the cops in every situation like they used to, but they still hate and fear crime. With violent crime rising in most major cities, it is the number one issue again, and "defunding the police" is off the agenda.

Note that preliminary numbers show Adams did best in the parts of the city with lots of working class and minority voters, while his more radical opponents did better with rich white people.


David said...

My understanding is that, among the top four candidates, only Maya Wiley campaigned on a "defund the police" sort of platform. Andrew Yang campaigned even harder than Adams on a law-and-order platform, and Kathryn Garcia is described as having campaigned as a competent manager. Looking at the map in the NYT, it's hard for a non-expert in NY neighborhoods like myself to tell whether Wiley did well with rich white people. Are those neighborhoods in west Queens rich white areas? Garcia did best in central and lower Manhattan--but I don't get the impression she was a radical candidate. Wiley and Adams split upper Manhattan--suggesting that, at least there, Wiley and Adams voters live close by each other.

David said...

Looking further, Wiley did well in Astoria and Williamsburg, both according to Wikipedia more or less middle class and heavily immigrant. Who are the voters there? I don't know. But I'm skeptical about a "rich white people vote for the leftist" trope in this election.

John said...

I can't read the maps either but the Times says Adams did best in the working class, minority-heavy neighborhoods.

Shadow said...

If politicians and prosecutors aren't careful, the movement to reduce incarcerations will go the way of "Defunding the Police." A number of district attorneys have been elected around the country who campaigned on reducing incarcerations and not prosecuting minor crimes. This whole movement is imperiled by a rising crime rate. Something prosecutors should think about.

David said...


Actually, if one works at it, the map becomes comprehensible. There's a handy tool on the web that allows you to identify neighborhoods in NYC:

If you put that together with the NYT election precinct map, you can start to figure out which neighborhoods voted for which candidate. That's how I identified Astoria and Williamsburg as voting for Wiley. One could continue with the game: for example, the Upper East Side, an affluent neighborhood, went with Garcia, while heavily Dominican Inwood, on the northern tip of Manhattan, went to Wiley. Heavily Black Rosedale in far eastern Queens went with Adams. Yang and Adams seem to have split Bayside, which is 65+% white and 22+% Asian. Etc., etc. Incidentally, overall, Wikipedia is easier to use for ethnic than for economic information about NYC neighbordhoods.

It looks to me like Garcia was the favorite among better-off whites. Her position on police and crime seems to have been moderately reformist; for example, she backed the law against chokeholds and reforms like increasing the minimum age for officers being hired. But Wiley was the clear "Defund the Police" candidate, and it doesn't really look to me like her strength came from rich whites.