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City's crime rate dipped in first 6 months

Murders, shootings decrease, reflecting nationwide trend

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Major crimes declined citywide through the first half of the year, with killings and shootings in particular showing marked drops, according to recent NYPD statistics. 

Through June, homicides were down nearly 18 percent while shooting incidents decreased 8.5 percent compared to the same time period last year. Overall, serious crimes decreased nearly 2 percent through June 30, although rapes, by 11 percent; felony assaults, by 6 percent; and robberies, by 5 percent, all increased. 

Mayor Eric Adams, speaking at the NYPD’s July 3 crime briefing, attributed the drops to an  offensive by police. “We have had a full frontal assault on disorder. When you have six straight months of a decrease in crime, it says that the initiatives that we have put in place, they're working,” the mayor said. 

He noted that his administration had inherited a spike in crime when he took office in January 2021. He also suggested that the media’s coverage of violent crime did not reflect reality. 

“We know that if it bleeds, it leads, that some of the cases that take place would be on our front pages, but in reality, New York City is the safest big city in America,” Adams said in rolling out a mayoral mantra that dates back to at least the Bloomberg administration.  

But the dip in citywide crime, particularly killings, reflects a nationwide pattern, as it typically does. Across more than 270 cities of varying populations nationwide, including 10 with more than one million residents, murders were down an average of 17.7 percent, just one-tenth of a percent less than in New York City, according to data compiled by Jeff Asher, a New Orleans-based crime analyst, from police department statistics released in recent weeks. 

Noting that the decrease in homicide rates from his sample was not quite as large as earlier in the year, Asher nonetheless noted that “murder is still down at a historically large pace and one of the major questions for the second half of 2024 is whether it can eclipse 2023’s possibly historically rate of decline.”

Violent and property crime nationwide is also down, by 7 and 11 percent, respectively, so far this year, according to Asher’s data sweeps of more than 190 cities’ statistics through at least May.

Subway felonies down

The NYPD attributes the city’s crime decline both to sustained anti-crime efforts, such as an increased presence of officers in the subway, and precision-policing strategies that deploy cops in neighborhoods experiencing upticks in violence. 

“The results we see don't happen overnight, and they're by no accident,” NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban said at the briefing. “It's the hard-working, dedicated thousands of officers that are out there across dozens of department-wide units that brought us to today.”

Referring to the transit system as the “lifeblood” of the city, Adams said that crime in the subway system had dropped since the infusion of 1,000 additional officers underground. That redeployment followed a significant spike in crime in the system in January. 

Year over year, major crime in the subway is down 7 percent, and by 14 percent since April, according to NYPD data. 

“This is a clear case of the NYPD identifying an issue, creating a plan to address it and executing the plan effectively,” Caban said. “New Yorkers demand and deserve a safe transit system and that's exactly what the NYPD is going to give them.”

The NYPD noted that officers had seized nearly 3,400 illegal firearms through the first half of the year and that gun arrests had increased 7.6 percent year over year in June, while arrests for all major crimes climbed 9.6 percent.  

Chief of Crime Control Strategies Michael LiPetri said that the number of gun arrests last quarter, more than 1,000, were the highest in nearly three decades. “We're taking basically the same amount of arrests for guns than … 29 years ago with four times less the shootings,” he said at the briefing. 

So far, what’s referred to as the summertime spike — which runs from roughly Memorial Day through Labor Day — has failed to materialize. Caban and LiPetri credited the department’s violence reduction plan, which Caban said had “great success” last year.

“This summer, we expect to repeat that success. We expect to build upon it, keep driving down crime, disorder citywide,” the commissioner said.

LiPetri said the department had identified about 10 of the city’s roughly 300 square land miles as where about a quarter of the shootings take place. “That's where the thousands of officers are being placed this summer,” he said.

richardk@thechiefleader.com

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  • reenjoe

    It's no surprise that crime is DOWN. It has been dropping steadily, with the exception of the Covid blip, since the 1980's. What is surprising is that conservative voters continue to swallow the lie that crime is rising, particularly in Blue cities like NY. Improved strategic policing, linked computerized criminal databases, DNA advancements and an emphasis on community-police engagement have all had a positive effect. If we could only reign in gun ownership with a national registry database, ban untracked person-to-person gun sales with universal background checks and permanently ban semi-automatic long guns crime would drop further. The fact that the highest gun violence rates are in states with loose gun laws reinforces that sensible gun regulations are vital to a safer society.

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