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Bratton: Falling NYC crime rate on meeting agenda

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton, shown on April 7,

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton, shown on April 7, 2016, said he wants this week's gathering of the largest U.S., Canada police departments to explore why major crimes rates appear to be falling in New York City and rising in other major urban areas. Credit: John Roca

NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said Sunday he wants to explore why major crime rates appear to be falling in New York City while rising in other major urban centers during a meeting he is hosting this week for law enforcement leaders.

New York City is on pace for “the safest year ever in recorded modern history,” Bratton told WNYM/970 AM radio host John Catsimatidis in an interview that aired Sunday.

Bratton predicted 2016 will end with about 100,000 serious crimes, compared with about 500,000 each year in the 1990s when he last served as commissioner. The city’s crime-recording system began in the 1950s, he said.

But as New York gets safer — homicides are down about 10 percent and shootings are down about 20 percent from last year — crime trends upward in other large cities, Bratton said.

“On the crime front, I’ll be interested to hear from my colleagues about what’s happening in their cities because here in New York, we’re having the opposite experience,” Bratton said, referring to this week’s gathering of the Major Cities Chiefs Association Conference in Manhattan. The group, made up of 75 leaders of the largest police departments around the United States and Canada, meets three times a year.

Chicago recorded 489 homicides in 2015. New York City, which has a much larger population, had 352 homicides last year.

Though homicide and shooting rates are down, New York City this year is experiencing increases in rape and felony assault — among other categories.

Bratton said this week’s closed-door conference will focus on crime rates, but the chiefs also will discuss the heroin-use epidemic and terrorism in light of the crash of EgyptAir Flight 804, which investigators say may be terror-related.

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