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NYPD police commissioner: Homicide spike not “Ferguson effect”

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton listens to a question

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton listens to a question during a news conference Wednesday in Manhattan. Credit: Yeong-Ung Yang

At a time when many U.S. cities large and small are experiencing spikes in violent crime, NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said yesterday New York was in much better shape and a small increase in homicides is not related to the so-called “Ferguson effect.”

During a briefing with reporters, Bratton said he expected major felonies to fall below last year’s, while acknowledging the homicide level would rise by about 5 percent over 2014’s record low.

“Our homicide rate is better than just about every major city in America,” said Bratton, noting that the current rate of 3.75 killings for every 100,000 people is well below that of other major cities.

“We are in very good shape compared to the rest of America,” Bratton said, adding that a recent survey of other 63 major cities found the majority reported large increases in homicides, rapes, robberies and aggravated assault. In New York there has been a slight increase in rapes and robberies, but overall serious crimes were down 2.5 percent through Sunday.

Some law enforcement officials have suggested cops have pulled back from proactive policing because of anti-police sentiment after the 2014 killing of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri, and Eric Garner on Staten Island after a confrontation with officers.

But Bratton said he didn’t buy into that theory.

“The Ferguson effect is not a factor here,” said Bratton. “The crime we are experiencing, I don’t believe it has any impact of . . . the events in Ferguson.”

Police officials said that a significant number of New York homicides this year have related to gang disputes. Later, Bratton told Newsday that some of the increase in homicides nationwide may be related to drug trafficking disputes.

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