Following high-profile violent crimes in his first weeks as mayor, including the shooting deaths of two NYPD officers responding to a domestic disturbance call, New York City Mayor Eric Adams unveiled a "Blueprint to End Gun Violence" on Monday that is a notable departure from a criminal justice policy plan produced by a transition committee that Adams established after his November election victory.

The transition committee document prioritized what one member of the team called “decarceration by true investment” in mental health, employment programs, and housing in order to prevent crime and reduce the population at the troubled Rikers Island jail complex. The veracity of the confidential report, obtained by WNYC/Gothamist, was confirmed by committee members.

Adams’ first major public safety plan instead focused more on enhancing policing and changing state law in ways that increase incarceration. He wants a landmark bail reform measure to be changed to give judges more power to lock people up before trial. He said the state Legislature should make changes to the 2017 “Raise The Age” law, which limited criminal charges on children under the age of 18. And he wants to revisit reforms made in 2017 to the discovery process, which required prosecutors to quickly turn over more evidence to defendants.

All have been legislative wins in recent year for progressive politicians and activists who work in communities of color are voicing their concern that Adams’ new plan will roll back recent reforms and lead to more aggressive policing and incarceration.

“Blaming our state’s bail reform laws for a national gun control crisis is just the latest in a long history of fear-mongering dog whistles,” State Senator Jessica Ramos, who represents Queens, said on social media. “Don’t fall for it.”

Adams’ current roadmap is notably shorter and less comprehensive than the one the transition committee presented to him. It lays out an unspecified plan for “facial recognition” software and other technology to detect people carrying weapons in the city — or “trigger pullers” as the mayor called them in his speech on Monday. He also wants to expand a program he began as Brooklyn borough president that pays stores to turn their surveillance cameras to the street in order to share footage with the NYPD as needed.

And Adams called for randomly scanning travelers’ bags at the Port Authority Bus Terminal and other transportation hubs to keep guns from being illegally trafficked into the city.

“You’re just not going to openly carry guns into our city,” Adams said days after two NYPD officers suffered fatal gunshot wounds while responding to a domestic disturbance call in Harlem.

In the last two years, shootings and homicides have increased in the city, though the numbers are well below historic highs. Gun arrests were up 34% in 2021 compared to 2019, according to NYPD data. The 488 murders were also more than prior years, but far below the 2,262 in 1990.

The transition report, marked as “confidential” and released to WNYC/Gothamist by a committee member who did not want to be named, made no mention of many of Adams’ most contentious proposals, which include allowing judges to consider a defendant’s “dangerousness” in deciding whether to hold them in jail, allowing 16- and 17-year olds to be charged as adults for certain gun crimes, and the re-establishment of a plain-clothes, anti-crime unit within the NYPD tasked with removing guns from the street.

“That's a step backwards,” said Tina Luongo, also a member of the mayor’s transition committee and attorney-in-charge of the criminal defense practice at the Legal Aid Society. “It is what brought us stop and frisk. It is what brought us an increase in the population at Rikers. It brought us the [court] backlog that the mayor is trying to address.”

Luongo said the transition team was a diverse group, made up of prosecutors, academics, anti-violence community activists, defense attorneys, and members with law enforcement backgrounds. “It was a very strong committee,” she said, and it engaged in “real deep dialogue and discussion.” Luongo did not provide the report to WNYC/Gothamist.

Transition teams are used by incoming elected officials to offer a framework for policies, particularly at the onset of the administration, and Adams is under no obligation to follow the document. Some of its ideas are echoed, in diluted form, in the mayor’s plan. While the transition team called for the city to fund year-round paid jobs to young people, Adams’ blueprint set a “goal” of paid internships during the summer for every young person who wants one.

Adams’ blueprint also expressed support for the city’s existing Crisis Management System, which involves community-based violence prevention teams and is widely viewed as successful. The transition committee called for additional funding and cited city data showing gun violence dropped by 40% in neighborhoods with a program in place, a sharper decrease than in other parts of the city. However, the mayor’s plan offered few details on what that support will look like.

“The truth is, rather than putting these preventative measures at the core of our city’s approach, the plan treats them as peripheral supplements to a program built on a foundation of surveillance and punishment, which are ineffective and dangerous,” said Council Member Tiffany Cabán in a statement.

While Luongo praised parts of the Adams’ blueprint that called for directing resources to those who are homeless or mentally ill, she said the more headline-grabbing aspects of Adams’ plan — such as enabling people to be locked up for “dangerousness” — is distractive fear-mongering and is not backed up by data indicating that it makes the city safer. Such measures are also outside Adams’ jurisdiction as mayor and would have to be approved by the state. So far, key leaders of the state Assembly and Senate have not signaled they’re on board. “I'm really happy to see that leadership is holding the line,” Luongo said.

She also noted that increased policing through facial recognition programs and bag checks will only focus on certain New Yorkers. “We talk about it as if these policing mechanisms are used in every community in New York City. The reality is that is not the case,” Luongo said. “They happen in Black and brown communities. And that's when you get disproportionate policing and over-policing of BIPOC communities. That's a step backwards.”

Adams’ plan comes on the heels of several high-profile incidents of violence in his first month in office: The murder of two officers in Harlem, the shooting of an 11-month-old girl in the face, the killing of a woman pushed in front of a train in Times Square, and the shooting death of a young woman working late night at a Burger King.

“Several elements in the proposal from the mayor would quite frankly make us less safe and lead to more Black and brown people to go to jail,” said Michael Blake, a former Assembly member from the Bronx who worked on the state’s “Raise The Age” legislation. Now a fellow at Monroe College, Blake was critical of the mayor’s agenda, including random checks at transportation hubs and allowing judges to assess a person’s dangerousness in deciding whether to hold them in jail .

“‘Dangerousness’ is just a substitute for ‘Black and Latino,’” Blake said.

“As a tall dark-skinned Black man, I don’t know any scenario where I would feel comfortable having a spot check on me because of all the reasons we’ve seen in history of how something goes quickly wrong,” he said. “Why on earth would we want a scenario where more Black and brown people are going to jail in 2022?”