NYC Crime: Murders and burglaries decrease; e-bikes and scooters contribute to rise in assaults, robberies

crime scene
Photo by Dean Moses

Major crimes in NYC including murder, burglary and grand larceny were down in May compared to the same month last year, the NYPD announced on Wednesday.

Robbery and felony assaults continue to surge, due in large part to offenders fleeing crime scenes on illegal e-bikes and similar vehicles, according to the NYPD report of June 5. 

Straphangers can rest easy though, as the department reported a continued reduction in transit crime, which dropped another 10.6% in May. Crime in the nation’s largest subway system has seen double-digit drops in the past four consecutive months of 2024

Overall, the Big Apple saw 261 fewer crimes in May compared to the same month last year. The most significant reduction was in murder, which saw another 21.1% drop this year. 

Murders have also declined by 17.1% year to date, with 29 fewer people killed in 2024 — 141 incidents compared to 170 this time last year. 

Shootings increased by almost 5% last month compared to the previous May (89 shootings compared to 85 in May 2023), though police reported a nearly 13% reduction in shootings year-to-date. Cops took 571 firearms off the streets in May, adding to the nearly 2,750 illegal guns seized so far this year through May 31. 

Robberies increased nearly 5% in May (1,432 incidents compared to 1,368 in May 2023).

Citywide in May, 123 fewer vehicles were stolen, a 9.1% drop (1,231 compared to 1,354 in May 2023); 88 fewer burglaries were committed, a 7.5% decrease (1,091 compared to 1,179 in May 2023); and 299 fewer grand larcenies were reported, a 6.9%reduction (4,037 compared to 4,336 in May 2023). 

Public housing complexes throughout the city saw a slight reduction in crimes (534 compared with 536 May 2023). 

Antisemitic incidents continue to rise. The total number of bias incidents investigated by the NYPD’s Hate Crime Task Force in May increased by 30, a 54% surge over the same month last year, with anti-Jewish offenses leading the rise. The city saw an 83% decrease in anti-Asian crimes. 

Police Commissioner Edward Caban said his department will continue to address community concerns and take other actions to combat city crime. 

“The men and women of the NYPD continue to turn the tide on overall crime in neighborhoods throughout New York City, as well as below ground in our vast subway system, by remaining nimble and strategically deploying our resources,” Caban said. “We vow to stay in front of crime trends by directly addressing community concerns, disrupting emerging patterns, and dismantling criminal networks where they operate. New Yorkers expect and deserve nothing less.”

Rape continues to be an underreported crime, according to the department. Anyone who was a victim of a sexual assault is urged to call the NYPD Special Victims Division at 212-267-RAPE.

E-bikes and e-scooters: Getaway vehicles for perps

Seizing illegal vehicles has played a big role in reducing crime, according to the NYPD. Police attribute the reduction in most crimes to agency-led initiatives at the city’s bridges, tunnels and roadways that target “ghost vehicles” – unregistered, uninsured cars, trucks and motorcycles. 

Since its inception in March, a multi-agency task force has conducted 17 operations that resulted in 218 arrests made, 7,722 summons issued, and 997 vehicles seized that owed more than $7.7 million in unpaid tolls, fees, and outstanding judgments, the NYPD reported.  

But illegal e-bikes and e-scooters remain a big issue in the world of violent crime.

Robberies and felony assaults are on the rise, NYPD officials said, and criminals often use vehicles such as motorized scooters, bikes — even Citi Bikes — to flee their crime scenes. 

In response, the department kicked off an enhanced summer enforcement strategy aimed at confiscating these illegal vehicles on city streets. 

E-vehicles have been a concern among New Yorkers in recent years and a priority for the NYPD since 2022. In all of 2023, cops seized more than 18,000 illegal and unregistered motorized scooters and bikes. 

As for 2024, the NYPD has already seized more than 13,000 illegal two-wheeled vehicles and ATVs, bringing the total to nearly 42,000 since the start of 2022.

“When it comes to protecting public safety, this administration is crushing it and that includes our efforts to crack down on the ongoing issue of illegal mopeds and scooters on our streets and sidewalks,” Mayor Eric Adams said. “Mopeds and scooters are not only endangering pedestrians when they are driven recklessly, but we have also seen an exponential increase in criminals using them to ride around and snatch property from New Yorkers.”

Since 2022, crime patterns for street robberies and grand larcenies involving the use of illegal scooters and mopeds have steadily increased. In the first five months of 2022, cops tracked 10 total robbery patterns, made up of 44 complaints involving these types of unregistered vehicles. Over those same five months in 2023, the number of robbery patterns increased to 22, while the number of complaints jumped to 104.

Unsafe to share the streets

E-vehicles are not just used in crime, as the NYPD reported, but many New Yorkers cite them as a larger “quality of life” concern. 

“It’s frustrating when the bikers don’t pay attention to the traffic lights and when they ride on the sidewalks,” Upper West Side resident Alan Wolfe said. “It’s dangerous and scary.”

New Yorker April Karno Kaminsky, agrees. 

“Nobody is safe walking, riding or driving anywhere in the city due to their recklessness,” she said. 

Another New Yorker named Nancy, who preferred to use just her first name, enjoys riding her own non-electric bike and Citi Bikes. Although she recognizes the convenience of e-bikes, she often encounters reckless bikers — as well as reckless drivers — on the road. 

“Something I notice is people who don’t use e-bikes in the way they’re supposed to and don’t follow the rules often,” she said. “I see e-bikes running lights and not stopping for pedestrians.”

She added that she does not think the bus lines are safe for bikers due to drivers who too often break traffic laws or yield to bikers.

“The bike lanes aren’t protected and safe,” she said. “Cars cut me off, don’t signal, don’t look out for me as a biker. It’s so incredibly dangerous. Pedestrians cross against the lights and don’t look out for me, even though I follow the road rules. It’s scary.”

In a press release, Caban said the NYPD will continue to listen to concerned New Yorkers “who correctly demand that these hazards be removed” from city neighborhoods. 

“These illegal vehicles have no place in New York City,” the police commissioner said. “These motorbikes are dangerous and reckless, and they put everyone on our streets and sidewalks at risk. On top of that, these bikes have become the vehicle of choice in the commission of robberies and other violent crime patterns across our city. The NYPD takes this issue seriously, as proven by the thousands of vehicle seizures we have made so far this year.”