A year into my administration, New York City remains the safest large city in America. We are following through on a 360-degree approach to fighting crime that includes both strategies for investing in our communities and excellent policing.
Thanks to two years of tireless efforts and coordination between the NYPD Gun Violence Suppression Unit and the Violent Criminal Enterprise Bureau, on Feb. 14, we announced an 85-count indictment that charges 23 gang members in Queens with conspiracy to commit murder, attempted murder, reckless endangerment, and gun possession. Eight of the men had fired a weapon previously. All of them had no regard for others’ lives or safety.
The indictment covers eighteen acts of gun-related violence that took place in and around the Astoria Houses and the Woodside Houses. The gang members fired their weapons in broad daylight next to an ice cream truck, in a courtyard and at a playground. Children were present and on one occasion, an innocent bystander was injured. The senseless violence was the result of feuds on social media and threatening rap videos—but the online activity spilled over into real life with real consequences. I have said this before: gangs plus guns equals graves. No one should have to fear for their life as they go about their daily life. No one should have to fear for the safety of their children while they are playing in a playground or courtyard or buying ice cream.
Along with the NYPD’s units and Commissioner Sewell, we are grateful to the office of the Queen’s District Attorney, Melinda Katz, for also playing a crucial role in bringing about the charges.
My goal in tackling crime is to be proactive—to take guns and dangerous individuals off our streets, as well as offer alternative solutions like jobs, education, and violence prevention programs to neighborhoods that are most affected by gun violence. This is intervention, and prevention.
And our efforts are bearing fruit. Shootings are down, murders are down, and major crimes were down last quarter for the first time in six quarters. We have the highest murder clearance rate since 1998, and the third highest clearance rate in 32 years. So far this year, shootings are down 20.9%, and between Jan. 1, 2023, and February 12, 2023, we’ve seized nearly 900 firearms.
This is no coincidence. These numbers are the result of a strategic, data-driven enforcement plan, and the NYPD has also utilized existing resources to increase patrols in key neighborhoods throughout the five boroughs and strengthened detection efforts. By the time guns get into the wrong hands, we are too late, so we are also investing in systems of community care like mental health care, childcare, affordable housing, and parks. Addressing these basic necessities goes a long way toward solving the root causes of crime and suffering. A recent study shows that New York City spends more on this kind of care relative to criminalization than any nearly every other major city in the nation.
Creating a safe city requires excellent policing as well as a system of support that provides hope, opportunity, and meets our most vulnerable New Yorkers’ needs. Our administration is taking all the steps necessary to tackle comprehensively tackle crime and create an even safer New York for everyone.