CNN anchor Don Lemon confronted Democratic New York Gov. Kathy Hochul on Friday about the surging crime rate in New York City over the past year.
The overall crime index has continuously spiked in major American cities in 2022, making crime a major issue in the midterm elections. In New York City, crime in Sept. 2022 was up 15.2% over Sept. 2021, according to the NYPD.
Lemon cited a Quinnipiac poll, which found that crime is the most important issue for voters in New York, with inflation coming in second.
“The crime rate overall is down, but there are issues when it comes to violent crime, there are issues when it comes to murder, they’re down in some places in the city, up in many places in the city and in the state as well,” Lemon told Hochul. “What are Democrats not getting about crime? Why are Republicans winning on this whole crime issue? That has been the thing that has fueled [Republican gubernatorial nominee] Lee Zeldin’s campaign.”
“Because [Republicans are] being dishonest about it, they’re not having a conversation about real solutions,” the governor said. “What we have done is taken 8,000 illegal guns off the streets. We made sure that no 18-year-old can get their hands on an AR-15. We’ve made sure that our red flag laws are tough and there’s background checks, whereas Lee Zeldin has opposed every part of that, even voting against the first significant gun safety legislation in three decades in Washington. He didn’t even show up to help support our police officers with funding for them in Washington. So they can say all they want, but the facts are on the other side.”
Zeldin has represented New York’s First Congressional District in the U.S. House of Representatives since 2015.
Lemon then said it is “concerning” that violent crime was up 7.8% in the state of New York and described the fears that New Yorkers have about entering the subway stations. The murder rate in New York City subway stations reached a 25-year high in 2022 despite the declining number of passengers. (RELATED: ‘Make Our Streets Safe Again’: Zeldin, Hochul Tackle Crime Policy In New York Governor Debate)
“That is a real factor, you can’t deny that,” Lemon said.
“No, I’m not denying that, I’m just saying the way the Republican ad campaign is, they’re gonna say they’re tough on crime but soft on guns. That doesn’t add up and I want the voters to know that,” the governor answered. “But we have leaned hard into working with [New York City] Mayor [Eric] Adams on getting more cops and cameras and care for people who are severely mentally ill who have been on the subway.”
Zeldin, has centered his campaign around crime after being the victim of violence twice in the past three months. In July, a man attempted to stab Zeldin in the neck with a knife while the candidate was onstage giving a speech about bail reform, and in October, two men were shot in front of his house while his teenage daughters were at home.