Courtesy of NYC.gov
By Michael V. Cusenza
While tabloid front pages may depict the Big Apple as rotten to its blood-and-bullets core, facts and figures seem to be painting a starkly different picture.
In 2016, the five boroughs collectively experienced the safest start to a year in modern New York City history, according to the City Police Department’s latest available statistics.
There have been 19 fewer murders and 96 fewer shootings, year-to-date, compared with 2015. In terms of perspective, there have been 127 murders in all of 2016 thus far, compared to the 158 murders that occurred in May of 1993 alone.
“There is a perception that crime and violence are on the rise in New York. That perception defies reality. We are in the midst of experiencing the safest start to any year I have ever seen—with nearly one hundred fewer shootings and nineteen fewer murders through the first five months of the year,” Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said last Thursday during a crime briefing at 1 Police Plaza. “I am extremely proud of the of the precision put forth by the members of this department. From intelligent observations and arrests by officers on patrol, to the many gang takedowns, to the cases we have built with prosecutors, we continue our focus on those committing the most egregious crimes as we enter the summer, ensuring New York City remains the safest big city in our nation.”
Bratton noted that a driving force behind the sustained decrease in violence are strategic takedowns in areas experiencing violence. These long-term investigations have yielded upwards of 350 arrests, including some of the city’s most violent and prolific criminals. Additionally, there have been nearly 1,550 gun arrests in 2016 thus far, representing an increase of more than 20 percent compared with the same period in 2015.
Overall crime in May 2016 declined 6 percent in the city, compared with the same period last year – including seven fewer murders and 50 fewer shootings, making this May among the safest in the entire CompStat era.
And there were 192 fewer robberies, 118 fewer felony assaults, 205 fewer burglaries, and 89 fewer auto larcenies in May of 2016, compared with May of 2015.
However, it hasn’t all been positive. Also for the month of May 2016, rape has increased 16.7 percent, or 20 crimes; and grand larceny has increased 1.1 percent, or 41 crimes, compared with May 2015.
Additionally, the Transit Bureau is down 23 crimes for May; and the Housing Bureau is down 26 crimes, compared to this period last year.
“June is National Gun Violence Awareness Month, and we’re proud to head into the month with an extraordinary drop in gun violence in our city,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “The first five months of this year saw a 22-percent drop in shootings—an extraordinary low that goes hand in hand with the NYPD’s tremendous increase in gun arrests. Today’s numbers make clear: precision policing is working. I want to thank Commissioner Bratton and all the women and men of the NYPD who spend each day working tirelessly to keep our city the safest big city in America.”