New York governor Kathy Hochul (D.) dismissed her state's crime wave as a few "high-profile instances," even as crime in New York City spiked 15.2 percent in the last year.
Hochul said Monday these few incidents have created "a sense of fear in people's minds." Yet the most recent New York City Police Department data show a 22.7 percent increase in burglary and a 21.5 percent increase in grand larceny auto last month compared with a year ago.
Hochul is running against Rep. Lee Zeldin (R., N.Y.) in an increasingly close gubernatorial race. Recent polling averages have Hochul up by just 6 points in a contest that former governor Andrew Cuomo (D.) won by more than 22 points in 2018.
During a press conference Monday, "Hochul got defensive when a reporter asked if she'd pivoted to the critical issue of crime so late in the campaign due to the ground she's been losing to Zeldin in the polls," the New York Post reported.
"If there is a fair assessment of what has been going on, it's been a continuum of informing the public on what we've been doing," Hochul said. "I don't think it is accurate characterization to say we just started talking about crime. … I am not letting the political theater out there affect what we've done. This is not a new issue for me and I think that's well-established."
With just two weeks until Election Day, crime ranks as the top issue among likely New York voters.