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July had fewest serious crimes in modern city history, NYPD says

The latest NYPD data showed that major felonies — including homicide, rape and robbery — decreased about two percent in July compared to the same period in 2017.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, and NYPD Commissioner

Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, and NYPD Commissioner James P. O'Neill, seen here on Jan. 30, said Thursday that July's crime statistics put the city on track to set a record. Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Despite some high profile killings and gang fights, July had the fewest serious crimes in modern city history, NYPD officials said on Thursday.

The latest NYPD data showed that major felonies — including homicide, burglary, rape and robbery — decreased about two percent in July compared to the same period in 2017. The level of crimes recorded so far in 2018 could put the city on track to break more records by the end of 2018.

“We are on pace to finish the year, potentially, with under a 100,000 index crime, which would be only the second time that has occurred,” said NYPD Chief of Crime Control Strategies Lori Pollock on Thursday during the monthly crime briefing. “Year to date we have recorded 53,937 index crimes.”

In 2017 the city recorded 292 homicides and about 96,000 serious crimes, known as index crimes under the uniform FBI statistical reporting system used by police across the country.

So far, the city has 911 fewer crimes than 2017, a decrease of 1.7 percent in the year to date.

“To be within reach of the 100,000 number for the second time in the Compstat era is absolutely remarkable,” Pollock said, referring to the period of modern police record keeping that began in 1994.

“We are on pace right now to do what we did last year, have the safest year in New York City history . . . since the Cold War,” said Mayor Bill de Blasio, who also attended the news conference with NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill.

O’Neill attributed the crime declines in July to what he called “our precise focus on the real drivers of crime that enable us to keep reducing the shootings and the murders.”

The Bronx had been, and still remains, a trouble spot for the NYPD but Pollock said July represented a turn around for the borough. Overall crime was reduced 6.5 percent in July for the Bronx, with murders declining 64 percent over July 2017, from 14 to five this year, said Pollock. She attributed the decline to the shifting of police officers to crime hot spots.

However, homicides in the Bronx are still up for the year-to-date after spikes in May and June, noted Pollock.

July tied the lowest number of homicides for the month at 24, a level last reached in 2013, Pollock said, adding that so far in 2018, the city had 171 homicides compared with 174 in 2017. The lower number of killings came during a month in which four people died in a murder-suicide in Astoria earlier in the week. About 70 percent of homicides involved gunshots, with 43 percent involving some kind of gang connection, Pollock said.

Rapes in the city had increased in 2018 by about 24 percent, according to police data, a number driven by complaints about incidents from earlier years. Pollock noted that reports of rapes from 2017 and earlier have slowed down.

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