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Drop in violent crimes hits record lows, NYPD says

There were 182 homicides in the city so

There were 182 homicides in the city so far in 2017, compared to 239 in the same period last year, police said. Photo Credit: Theodore Parisienne

NYPD and city officials are scheduled to announce Tuesday a continuing drop in violent crimes, notably homicides and shootings, to record lows.

With homicides and shootings down so far this year about 23 percent from 2016, police officials are acknowledging in private that the number of killings could drop well below 300 while shootings may fall below 900. The latter is at a level never before seen in the modern era of crime statistics, officials said.

Through Sunday, there were 182 homicides in the city compared with 239 in the same period a year ago, a drop of 23.85 percent, police said. Shootings in the same period amounted to 532 compared with 697 in 2016, a drop of 23.7 percent, officials noted.

Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD commissioner James O’Neill plan to reveal more about those trends, as well as other developments, during the monthly crime briefing Tuesday afternoon at the 41st Precinct in the Hunts Point section of the Bronx.

The drop in all serious crimes — defined as homicide, rape, robbery and a few other major offenses — is expected to show a 6 percent dip from 2016.

“When you look at the these numbers, you have to admit great intelligence and precision policing are doing it,” said former NYPD detective sergeant Joseph Giacalone, who teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

Giacalone also believed that technology, notably the use of smart phones and tablets, has also helped cops keep a step ahead.

O’Neill has often credited the NYPD’s gang offensive and focus on repeat offenders as contributing to the drop in violence. A spokesman for the department declined to comment on the crime data in advance of the briefing.

De Blasio and O’Neill are also expected Tuesday to be peppered with questions about the large deployment of cops at the J’Ouvert in Crown Heights and the overtime expenses involved. Some revelers complained about the massive turnout of officers and security screening implemented following two years of incidents in which three people were shot dead.

There was a shooting and a stabbing Monday afternoon along the route of the West Indian Day Parade, which followed the J'Ouvert festival. None were life-threatening and no arrests were made, police said.

There had been one fatal shooting Sunday night about a block from the West Indian Day Parade route and two people wounded in another incident early Monday about two blocks away, but police don’t believe the crimes were connected to the celebration.

One police official said the number of cops assigned to monitor J’Ouvert seemed underutilized for the size of the crowd.

While crime could spike in the remaining months of 2017, if the current homicide drop continues, the city could record 260 killings, although some police believe it would more likely come in at about 280. In either scenario, the homicide rate would be between 3.0 to 3.27 per 100,000 population.

By comparison, the homicide rate was 30.0 in 1989 when killings totaled a record 2,245. Criminologists estimated the homicide rate was 9.37 in 1860 and as high as 10.1 in 1863, the year of the infamous Draft Riots.

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