At a Nov. 3 press conference, Mayor de Blasio commended the efforts of “the finest police force in the United States” as well as work on the community level to turn back gun violence and murders in October — but the statistics for the month showed a troubling surge in other crimes.
The mayor’s comments followed the release of the October 2021 Citywide Crime Statistics, showing the decrease of murders, shootings and overall crime across the city over the past year.
“In this city, real change is happening. We’ve got more to do for sure but real change is happening,” the mayor said. “It’s about precision policing, it’s about neighborhood policing, these approaches work.”
NYPD statistics showed that that murders and shootings were down by 9.8% (37 in 2021 vs. 41 in 2020) and 4.4% (129 in 2021 vs. 135 in 2020) respectively. The stats also showed that the number of shootings victims fell by 11%.
“Contrast that to what we’re seeing nationwide and it’s very sad to say, nationwide murders [are] up substantially. Sixteen percent in major cities across the country — Chicago, LA, Philadelphia, Houston — unfortunately we’re seeing murder rates go up, we’re seeing more crime,” de Blasio said.
De Blasio credited the city’s eight borough commands with bringing major crime indicators, especially shootings, close to where they were before the pandemic in 2019.
Data showed that there were 445 shootings in Brooklyn in 2021 compared to 557 last year, for a 20 percent reduction. Since May, de Blasio highlighted that the Brooklyn South area is closer to 2019 shooting levels and Brooklyn North shootings are down compared to 2020.
In Queens, both the north and south sectors experienced a reduction in shootings, with 198 shootings this year compared to 204 last year.
Staten Island experienced a similar reduction in shootings, with 30 reported in 2021 compared to 33 last year.
The data also showed that Manhattan, particularly in the north, and the Bronx had shooting increases over the last year. Manhattan shootings were reportedly up 220 in 2021 compared to 175 last year, for a 26 percent increase, while the Bronx experienced a 31% increase, with 431 shootings in 2021 compared to 328 in 2020.
“There’s some things we’ve seen since the start of the summer in June where we were up over 200 shooting year to date,” said NYPD Chief of Department Rodney Harrison. “Now we’re only up 23 shootings compared to last year and the decrease is due to the great work by the Summer All Out of our officers, stronger connections with the community as well as precision policing into our most problematic gangs.”
To further aid in precision policing, Harrison said that the NYPD was focusing their attention on communities experiencing increased violence.
“Even though the Bronx is still struggling, [it’s] the only borough in the city that has over 1,000 gun arrests year to date. That is an increase of 22 percent compared to last year,” Rodney said. “To help combat youth-related crimes, the youth coordination officers in the Bronx have made connections with 150 [at-risk] youth for the month of October.”
Harrison encouraged New Yorkers to attend local Build the Block meetings to help out with community policing. He reported that there have been 274 meetings during the past three months, which helped to identify and address issues within the community.
Assaults, robberies were sky high
But beyond the shootings, the NYPD reported a troubling uptick in overall major felonies (murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and auto theft) during October 2021 — with more than 10,000 such crimes reported for the period.
The spike was largely fueled by massive increases in robberies (up 15.8%), felony assault (more than 2,100 cases in October, a 13.8% jump from the previous year) and grand larcenies (more than 4,100 cases, up 18.6% year-over-year).
Though he praised his department’s efforts to battle crime, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea hinted, as he has done before, that more must be done to keep criminals behind bars.
“While their devotion to service is commendable, effective crime fighting is predicated upon a collaborative effort from all aspects of the criminal justice landscape – as well as society as a whole,” Shea said. “Additionally, our brave officers’ work must be reinforced by meaningful consequences that send a consequential message to those who find themselves on the path toward criminality.”
With reporting by Robert Pozarycki