Newly-named Commissioner Dermot Shea held his first crime briefing in the Bronx Thursday, where he had both good news and bad — overall crime is down, but homicides, robberies and felony assault are up.
To date, there have been 299 homicides versus 275 for all of 2018 – an 8.7% increase. There have been 12,100 robberies to date versus 11,880 for all of 2018 – a 1.9% jump. Felony assaults are also up with 18,966 this year to date versus 18,682 last year – a 1.5% spike.
All other categories — including rape, burglary, grand larceny and auto theft — are down for the year.
Transit crime has declined 3.7% for the year, but housing crime is up 5.4%. Total shooting incidents have also risen by 3.4%.
Shea also introduced his new Chief of Detectives, Rodney Harrison, who was Chief of Patrol and taking his job is Assistant Chief Fausto Pichardo, who currently serves as Executive Officer in the Patrol Services Bureau under Chief Harrison. He has worked closely with Chief Harrison, serving as a key leader in the roll-out of Neighborhood Policing and overseeing the deployment of patrol resources to address crime conditions.
Shea was promoted from Chief of Detectives to commissioner by Mayor Bill de Blasio, who was on hand for Thursday’s briefing at New Settlement Community Center on Jerome Avenue in Mt. Eden, Bronx.
“The good news is overall crime is down, but the bad news is there are 22 more homicides than last year, and any increase is unacceptable so there will be focus on this,” said de Blasio. “There is a lot of resolve in the NYPD and an inability to accept the status quo.”
Commissioner Shea recalled his days starting in the NYPD when he worked in the 44th Precinct — the very place he was holding the press conference — and observed, “the area around Yankee Stadium was tougher than it is today.” He emphasized neighborhood policing as a primary tool to reach out and involve communities in bringing down crime.
Shea also said it was important for police officers to “mentor” kids and “guide young people on the road to success – this is the next iteration to neighborhood policing.”
De Blasio said fighting gang activities has been a leading way to bring down crime and violence in communities.
“We have worked to disrupt gangs, identify them, makes arrests, get the guns off the streets and neutralize the gangs to make the city safer,” de Blasio explained.
Shea noted the department continues to focus on the root causes of crime and he believes neighborhood policing will help bring down occurrences.
“As cops, we are unwavering in our commitment to keep people safe. In a time where we see overall historic crime lows, our officers are zeroing in on the small number of people causing crime to ensure this security is felt citywide,” said Shea. “We have a lot more work ahead to address persistent crime conditions and the men and women of the police department will continue to rise to the challenge while working closely with those we are sworn to serve.”
He also expressed confidence in his new appointments of Chief Harrison and Chief Pichardo.
Harrison said in a statement: “Serving as Chief of Patrol has been a tremendous privilege. Through Neighborhood Policing, we have transformed how the NYPD works with community members, grounded in building strong relationships of mutual respect, toward our shared mission of safety.”