NYPD officers patrol the Times Square area in May. 

NYPD officers patrol the Times Square area in May.  Credit: Marcus Santos

New York City is on track to close out 2021 with some of the worst crimes statistics seen in years, including those for homicide and shootings, according to a Newsday analysis of the latest NYPD data.

After years of steady decline in serious crimes, the situation reversed in 2020. In 2021 it further deteriorated to the point where the total for all such offenses — including robbery, felony assault, rape and grand larceny — passed 100,000 for the first time since 2016 and is likely to total more than 103,000.

In the cases of homicides and shootings, the numbers through Dec. 26 went above what was recorded in 2020, a year in which killings increased by nearly 50% and shootings went up nearly 100%. So far in 2021, homicides total more than 480, compared to 468 in the prior year, an increase of about 2.5%. Shootings were at 1,546, up 2% from a record surge in 2020. At their current pace, shootings are expected to hit 1,580, a level not seen since 2003.

"Unfortunately we had a record surge last year and we have an increase over last year — it is a big deal," said criminologist Joseph Giacalone, a former NYPD detective who now teaches at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

On Jan. 1, Mayor-elect Eric Adams will take over, as will his new police commissioner, Keechant Sewell, and both will inherit a worsening crime situation. Adams made crime a major issue in his campaign and has pledged, as has Sewell, to make it a priority.

"The first thing we have to do is get a handle on the violence in the city that is absolutely unacceptable," Sewell said during a recent interview on MSNBC's "Morning Joe."

Sewell, who will be relinquishing her current job as chief of detectives for the Nassau County Police Department to take the NYPD top job, explained in general terms that she wants police to use plainclothes units and work closely with the community. An Adams spokesman didn’t return a request for comment Monday.

NYPD officials didn’t want to comment on the year-end crime data until after Jan. 1, when Adams and Sewell take over. But in recent weeks, outgoing NYPD commissioner Dermot Shea, noting how crime decreased in some categories in November, said problems remain with the impact of bail reform and the inability of gun cases, of which more than 5,000 are still open, to move quickly through the courts.

"When we start to take those people and see those cases adjudicated, we are going to see crime and the violence in New York City plummet," Shea predicted at a recent news conference.

Giacalone pointed out that many factors will make progress difficult. "So many things are still stacked against them," said Giacalone, referring to bail reform, residual anti-police sentiment and disillusionment among cops. "I wish them luck."

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