War on Crime | NYPD reports major declines in shootings and homicides year-to-date, felonies flat in March

PO Commissioner
Police Commissioner Keechant L Sewell announcing the March 2023 crime stats Thursday (Photo: NYPD)

Gun violence continues to decline across the Five Boroughs, with the NYPD announcing Thursday that the number of shooting incidents is down significantly compared to a year ago.

Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell told reporters at a press conference Thursday that there was a 23% decrease in shooting incidents for the year through March, compared to the same three-month period in 2022. The number of shooting victims also fell by more than 17% during the first quarter of 2023, compared to the same period a year ago.

The decline in shootings, Sewell said, also played a role in the drop in homicides, which are down nearly 12.7% for the first three months, compared to the first quarter of 2022.

“The ongoing reductions in murders and shootings are a direct reflection of the NYPD’s commitment to confront gun violence in our city,” Sewell said at the press conference. “And they underscore our focus on ending the proliferation of illegal firearms.”

Sewell also provided crime statistics for the month of March, which indicated that major crime was flat compared to March 2022. Four of the seven major crime categories declined in March compared to the same period last year, with murder down 11.4%, rape down 0.8%, robbery down 1.4% and burglary down 12.5%.

However, felony assaults were up 1.9%, grand larceny 0.4%, and grand larceny auto up 14.3%.

But Sewell’s focus was on gun violence, and how the police are clamping down on it. She said that there was a reduction in shooting incidents in March in all five boroughs, with Bronx seeing a decline by 39.5% compared to March 2022. Manhattan also saw a 29.4% drop over the same period.

Sewell said that NYPD is breaking records in terms of the number of overall arrests, racking up the highest number of arrests year-to-date in 24 years.

Meanwhile the number of arrests in the transit system, she said, were up 48% year to date, compared to the same period in 2022.

But Sewell expressed frustration about recidivism, particularly when it comes to shoplifting.

“A small percentage of people are responsible for a disproportionate amount of retail thefts citywide,” she said. “Last year, 327 individuals [collectively] were arrested more than 6,000 times for retail theft.”

She said that it was disheartening to the businesses affected and a waste of police resources.

Sewell said the NYPD would continue to focus its efforts on gun violence, and that gangs and street crews account for most of it. She said in the first three months of 2023, 34 long-term investigations were conducted, including 12 targeting gang activity. The cases resulted in 232 arrests and the seizure of 196 illegal firearms.