The efforts to clean up the crime rate in New York City have been successful. Studies have shown that the probability of violent crimes such as murder happening in the Rotten Apple has gone down to almost historic lows. So New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio believes the city should be used as a model for not only making an area safer, but also bettering police-community relations which, due to the frequent killings of unarmed Black people by police officers, hasn't been that great.
"Our nation needs a lot of healing. A lot of healing between the police and community," Mayor Bill de Blasio told Charlamagne tha God, Angela Yee and DJ Envy while visiting The Breakfast Club today. "Well, here's a place that use to be the roughest, toughest, most screwed up place of them all, and we've proven that you can change things."
Blasio and his wife Chirlane McCray visited the show this morning where they discussed their interracial relationship, bettering police-community relations across the country and New York's historically-low murder rate.
ON DATING OUTSIDE THEIR RACE
De Blasio: I cannot tell a lie to you, I had never dated a Black woman before I met Chirlane McCray. That was 1991, so I was 30 years old, and I did not know what to do. They do not give you a handbook.
McCray: It was a very different experience, but he was so charming. That is what got me, is that he was so easy to talk to. He’s not just your regular white guy. He really captured me.
DE BLASIO ON HIS MOTHER'S STRUGGLES WITH THEIR RELATIONSHIP: My mother was a very good, liberal person, but she had to grapple. She went through her struggles with it. Everyone told us about this, that when you’re a multiracial couple, that when your first child comes along, everyone melts. Everyone opens up. Long and behold, our daughter Kiara came along and then suddenly my mother thought Chirlane was the greatest person in history, because she was the one that brought her her granddaughter....I don’t think, intellectually, she was against [us]. I think she bought into all of the stereotypes about it wouldn’t work, it would be a strain for the kids, the kids wouldn’t know what their identity was and they could be attacked. I think some of it was honest fear. I think some of it was contradiction. I would say, on behalf of white America, there is a certain amount of contradiction running through white America. I think she had to grapple with the difference between her intellectual beliefs, which I think were honest, and then now wait a minute now it’s in my own home. It was a weird journey, but she got there in the end.
ON SOLUTIONS TO BETTERING POLICE-COMMUNITY RELATIONS
De Blasio: I want our officers, if they see a young man walking up to them, I want them to feel like that’s their own son or nephew. Feel that connection. I think that is teachable in a sense of a strategy that encourages constant dialogue and mutual respect. We haven’t had that. Let’s face it, that hasn’t been the norm in America.
McCray: By having officers in the community, interacting with the community, going to tenants associations, going to events in the community and really bonding with them, that establishes a whole different dynamic with the community, and helps the community feel a certain loyalty to the officers.
DE BLASIO ON THE HISTORICALLY-LOW MURDER RATES NYC: The last time we had so few murders in New York, the Dodgers were playing at Ebbets Field in Brooklyn. This place used to be hell. If you remember back, we had 2,000 murders in the early 90s. The relationship between the the police and the community was really torn. To see the biggest city in the country make this kind of turnaround, and now that it’s intensifying, it keeps getting better.
The Breakfast Club’s full interview with the mayor of New York City can be viewed above.