A New York Police officer wears a face mask as...

A New York Police officer wears a face mask as he directs traffic on a local street on Friday in New York City. Credit: Getty Images/Eduardo Munoz Alvarez

In the grip of the coronavirus, New York City has seen major crimes continue to drop, with serious felonies plummeting 41% in the weeks since the mandating of social distancing, according to the latest police statistics.

The data also showed that cops are writing markedly less traffic tickets, apparently since fewer drivers are on the road due to the order that nonessential employees work from home.

Since the week ending March 15 — the period when Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo first ramped up his stay-at-home and social distancing orders — and Sunday, major felonies fell from 1,770 reported offenses to 1,042. Those numbers included a decline of 22% from the weeks ending March 22 and Sunday, police data showed.

The biggest declines over the two weeks were seen in grand larcenies, which dipped nearly 60%, felonious assaults down 36.7% and robberies off by 31%, the data showed. Homicides, after dropping to one for the week ending March 22, kicked up to five last week, the same level recorded for the week ending March 15. However, rapes, a crime category viewed by the NYPD as underreported, have fallen by more than 51%.

Meanwhile shootings have dropped 58% since the week ending March 15.

With the number of drivers on the road cut back by work-at-home practices, cops only wrote 4,790 moving violations last week, down nearly 77% from 20,699 tickets in the week ending March 15, according to the statistics.

Cops are also making fewer arrests overall for major felonies, a drop of nearly 53% in the past two weeks.

Latest NYPD major crime statistics

CrimeWeek ending March 15Week ending March 22Week ending March 29Change
Felony assault389318246-36.7%
Grand larceny775517316-60%
Auto larceny12310397-21.1%

Source: NYPD

A spokesman for the NYPD didn’t immediately return a request for comment. Prof. Eugene O’Donnell, who teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said the crime data was good news and a pleasant surprise. The downward trends are an indication that people sense the seriousness of the situation and are trying to live and work in a city under siege, he said.     

“I think the last place anybody wants to be at this point is in the hospital … and jail, so that is a major deterrent to people and a limit on the criminal impulse,” O’Donnell said.

The continued drop in major crimes has also brought down the overall increase previously recorded in 2020 over last year. At one point, crime was up more than 20% this year and the NYPD attributed a significant portion of that spike to bail reform and its consequences. But as of Sunday, the serious crimes increase lost 7 percentage points, to a rise of 13.2 percent over the same period in 2019.

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