Good news: Most major crimes so far this year are down a bit over the same period in 2022, a sign Mayor Eric Adams’ approach may have started turning things around.
Homicides dropped to 146 from 168.
Not-so-good news: Total crime numbers, including non-major crimes, are up about 1% over the first five months of last year.
That reflects, among other things, the plague of retail theft and other “misdemeanors.” (And the numbers don’t reflect the likely rise in crimes that don’t get reported because merchants don’t see the point.)
Outright bad news: The city’s still got a ways to go to reach the levels it saw before the state’s “criminal justice reforms” sent crime rising — and then skyrocketing during the lockdowns.
Every major crime category still has double-digit jumps compared to 2018, when crime levels were 34% lower.
Per NYPD stats:
- Murders are up 30% compared to five years ago.
- Robbery is up by a quarter.
- Felony assault, 35%.
- Car theft, a whopping 217%.
This doesn’t mean the small gains over last year are meaningless. But they’re precarious: The NYPD has adapted, but criminals get to adapt in turn.
So New Yorkers have reason to worry as the (usually more violent) summer months approach.
Especially when high-profile horrors keep happening. Most recently, the city’s seen:
Meanwhile, the NYPD headcount stands as the smallest in decades.
Cops have been retiring or resigning faster than the city can replace them — and experience can’t be replaced even if police ranks start growing up to the funded level.
Plus, the state aid that’s allowed for more police overtime patrols to drive down subway crime will end at some point.
And a fixed (or shrinking) number of police can only do so much OT, anyway.
The NYPD “has been doing more with less,” Commissioner Keechant Sewell admitted at a recent City Council hearing.
That admission should have sounded alarm bells at City Hall.
Adams has put public safety first (though he hasn’t sought to increase the size of the force).
And he’s reached a fair new police contract that may stop the ranks’ shrinkage.
But he’s stuck with city and state lawmakers who prioritize the needs of criminals over children, the elderly and the general law-abiding public.
Until and unless that changes, the mayor’s only hope to keep crime going down may be to start budgeting for a larger force.
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