Overall crime is continuing to decrease this year, leading NYPD officials to predict 2016 could end up being a record low for crime.
So far this year, the NYPD is looking at a 3.4 percent decrease in total major crimes, or 2,967 fewer crime incidents, than last year. Homicides have dropped by about 5.6 percent compared to the same time period last year, or 17 fewer murders. And there have been 93 fewer shootings this year than 2015, a 9.7 percent decrease.
“We are poised to see a historic year in New York City crime, we truly are,” said Dermot Shea, deputy commissioner of operations. “We don’t believe we’re done. We think we can push this crime lower.”
Not all crime is down, however. As of Oct. 23, felony assaults had increased by 2.9 percent and rape was up by 3.7 percent. Grand larcenies — a category that has been up for most of the year — basically flatlined with only 50 more incidents this year as of Oct. 23 than last year, a 0.1 percent increase.
“We talk about the fact that one crime is one crime too many,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio. “We’re not going to stop until we make this city as safe as it could possibly can be, but we also have to celebrate when the good work of the NYPD means people are alive and they’re walking the streets who might not have been otherwise.”
Neighborhood policing (specifically the The Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCO) program) has been cornerstone of the department’s recent crime fighting strategy. But as the program expands to more precincts and commands, de Blasio said the NYPD won’t be adding more officers to the department to cover it.
“My view is that working with the City Council we agreed to an increase in the number of officers,” he said, referring to the hiring 1,300 more cops. “What I think we know now ... is that we have the resources to make this the central strategic approach of the police department. We have the resources to make sure this is fully operational in the precincts that have had the biggest crime challenges. But there is not a specific plan for further expansion of the force at this point.”
Police Commissioner James O’Neill said the department is doing an analysis, looking for “efficiencies within the department to move people back out to patrol.”