NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — With gang gun violence continuing to plague the city, and no immediate solutions in sight, the mayoral candidates jumped into the fray Tuesday.

As CBS2’s Marcia Kramer reported, a reported major gang war took the life of a 13-year-old in the Bronx — then three more became the victims of gun violence not far from the scene, including a 66-year-old woman who is recovering from a stray bullet to the leg

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The toll: Four incidents, eight victims on Monday alone. That has Police Commissioner Dermot Shea expressing frustration, pointing again to the defund-the-cops brigade that he says has hamstrung officers.

“In the past year we’ve had to push back on the City Council asking us to get rid of the database on gangs. We’ve been asked not to stop cars, don’t interview kids when they’re arrested,” Shea said. “At a time when people should be coming to us and saying ‘What do you need? What can be done to help?’ We’re seeing the opposite.”

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Shea has been singing some version of that song for over a year, lamenting changes intended to stop abusive policing.

“You have a 16-year-old kid arrested three times in 90 days with guns,” he said. “Why would this kid be put back onto the street over and over and over without meaningful help? So is it COVID? Is it incompetence? What is the plan here? Where is the mentorship?”

Enter Democratic mayoral candidate Eric Adams, who says you can have both public safety and a police force that is not abusing people.

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“We need real leadership. I’m going to send a clear message to my police officers: ‘I have your back, but you will have to have the backs of the people of the city that you swore to protect,'” he said.

Adams said he will bring back the plainclothes unit to take weapons off the street, and also have zero tolerance for abusive cops.

“We have become a safe haven for abusive police officers… and in the New York City Police Department that stops Day 1,” Adams said. “You will be out of my department in a short period of time.”

Republican mayoral candidate Curtis Sliwa said the answer is more cops, and hiring them now. He linked Adams to Mayor Bill de Blasio, showing off pictures of the two together, and he slammed the mayor for not using federal COVID funds to hire more cops and beef up a police force depleted by retirements and attrition.

“We can’t wait until the inauguration. We won’t be seeing any new police if it all, possibly until late spring,” Sliwa said. “Shame on you, Bill de Blasio. Shame on you, Eric Adams.”

President Joe Biden has suggested that the city use some of the $350 billion in COVID funds to hire more cops. De Blasio has refused.

Local organizations have been trying to do their part to help. Rehabilitated gang members work with people from similar backgrounds to try and defuse gang conflict in a non-violent way.

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CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas contributed to this report.

Marcia Kramer