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Domestic killings in the Bronx drive up homicide rate, NYPD says

Through May 31, the Bronx has recorded 38 killings, compared to 21 in the same period for 2017 — an increase of more than 80 percent.

Domestic killings in the Bronx are up to

Domestic killings in the Bronx are up to eight, compared to three in 2017, the NYPD said. Photo Credit: Jeff Bachner

The rising number of homicides in the Bronx this year is being driven by an increase in domestic killings involving people within households with no prior history of incidents, NYPD officials said.

Through May 31, the Bronx has recorded 38 killings, compared to 21 in the same period for 2017 — an increase of more than 80 percent. While some other parts of the city, notably north Brooklyn and Queens have seen more homicides, those increases have been much smaller than the jump in the Bronx, which appears to be driving an uptick in overall city killings.

According to NYPD, domestic killings in the Bronx are up to eight, compared to three in 2017, an increase of 166 percent. Gang-related killings so far account for only one slaying, compared to two in the prior year, although officials believe some of the murders with an unknown motive may turn out to be gang-related. The catch-all category of “disputes” is the motive assigned to the most killings in the Bronx at 13, compared to 4. Other motives were not provided.

The homicide increase in the Bronx, as well as a persistent citywide increase of more than 35 percent in rape complaints, are trends expected to be discussed as early as Tuesday by NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill and his commanders during the monthly crime briefing.

For most of May, homicides started to exceed what had been recorded for the same month in 2017, a year which recorded a modern low in killings with 292. The upward trend seemed to slacken a bit and by May 27 had only seen an increase in killings of 1.9 percent.

Chief Lori Pollock, head of the NYPD’s office of crime control strategies, told Newsday that the fact that recent Bronx homicides occurred indoors at locations with no previous domestic violence incidents is creating what a police spokesman called a “stealth challenge” for cops, meaning incidents they can’t easily pre-empt or see. Women are not the only victims.

“Three of our domestic victims have been male,” Pollock said.

The Bronx homicides are not clustered in one or two areas, but spread out throughout the borough, Pollock said.

To combat the domestic homicide issue, cops have relied on outreach visits by social service agencies and neighborhood coordination officers, known as NCOs, specialized officers crucial to the much-touted Neighborhood Policing Strategy.

But retired NYPD detective sergeant Joseph Giacalone, now a teacher at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, contends there is very little cops can do about domestic homicides.

“It is not just here but anywhere,” Giacalone said. “You are not putting a cop in every house.”

Giacalone said that NCO cops are good for crime that happens outside the household, but not very effective for domestic problems.

But in an effort to deal with home issues before they turn violent, Pollack said that in the Bronx cops, domestic violence officers and NCOs have made 13,630 home visits so far this year, sometimes just to check in on a family having problems.

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