In a week punctuated by the killing of a 2-month-old boy in the Bronx, New York City’s homicide rate has passed 2014’s record low tally, with 339 killings through Sunday, according to the latest NYPD data.
For all of 2014, New York City reported 333 homicides — the lowest number since the modern era of police record keeping began in the early 1960s. Criminal justice experts are predicting the city will record about 350 homicides by year’s end, an increase of just over five percent.
The city remains at a historically low level for killings as other major U.S. cities see large increases, said Prof. Eugene O’Donnell, of John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
“It is not a terrible place to be,” O’Donnell said. “They would like the city to be going lower . . . possibly this is as far down as we will go.”
Brooklyn has recorded 139 homicides this year, an increase of almost 17 percent over 2014. Manhattan has also seen an increase of just over 17 percent to 40 killings. All other boroughs are recording fewer homicides with the 75th Precinct in the East New York section of Brooklyn showing the most of any precinct with 18 killings, still a 10 percent decline.
“Every murder is significant but in any context historically — the last two years, last five years — we are still at record lows,” said Richard Aborn, head of the nonprofit Citizens Crime Commission. “This is being done at a time when there are close to a million fewer police contacts with the public . . . . I think we are entering a new era of policing — precision policing.”
Sunday’s updated data included the killing of an infant boy in the Bronx. Cops arrested Jose Feliciano, 51, of the Bronx, on charges he killed the infant and dumped the child’s body in a wooded area of Dutchess County north of the city. Feliciano faces murder and manslaughter charges.
The latest 2015 homicide numbers include 12 reclassified cases, involving incidents that may have occurred decades ago but only recently were determined to be murders. The NYPD routinely includes reclassified cases in the current year homicide tallies. In 2014 cops included 12 reclassified cases and in 2013 had 15 reclassifications.
Overall, serious crime was down 2.1 percent through Sunday. Rapes continue to show an increase. But the nearly six percent spike is being driven by a large number of old allegations only now being reported by victims, police said.
Experts believe the increase in rape reports has been sparked by publicity about the allegations against actor Bill Cosby, as well as NYPD outreach to victims. Without the older rapes, the city would actually see a decrease of about six percent in the crime, police said.