Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly holds a press conference to announce...

Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly holds a press conference to announce the results of Operation Crew Cuts. (Nov. 25, 2013) Credit: Linda Rosier

Homicides among mostly minority young men ages 13 to 21 have dropped by more than 50 percent so far this year in the city, a trend which the NYPD chalked up to its aggressive anti-gang offensive known as Operation Crew Cut, officials said Monday.

The drop comes against a backdrop of a 21 percent decline in shootings and killings citywide this year, trends which NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly also ascribed to the offensive against the gangs.

Kelly announced the results as police and Brooklyn prosecutors revealed indictments against 20 reputed members and associates of gangs in the area of the 73rd Precinct, which serves the Ocean Hill-Brownsville area. Charges included murder, robberies, assault and weapons possession.

"Strategic enforcement and proactive policing, combined with strong prosecutorial partnerships -- including attention to the new battleground of social media -- has resulted in lives being saved in New York City, mostly among minority men," Kelly said at a news conference Monday.

After noting that about one-third of the shootings in the city committed by young people were motivated by gang rivalry, the NYPD initiated Operation Crew Cut in October 2012 to remedy what Kelly called at that time an uncoordinated approach to street crews. The department assigned more officers in certain precincts to gang enforcement, teamed up with Brooklyn clergy and began monitoring social media.

Among the indictments unsealed Monday were weapons possession, assault and conspiracy charges against women suspected of being involved with the street gang Addicted to Cash, or ATC.

"Detectives have found girl-on-girl crime by crew members is vicious and growing more dangerous," said Kelly, who described how an 18-year-old woman struck another woman with a two-by-four.

Homicides among 13- to 21-year-olds have dropped 50.6 percent, from 87 in 2012 to 43, through Sunday, police said. Citywide, homicides are down this year 20.1 percent, from 379 to 303 and shootings have dipped to 1,012 from 1,268, a decline of 20.2 percent.

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