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Crime down in New York City compared to last year, but hate crimes still up, NYPD says

Police Commissioner James O'Neill, left, New York City

Police Commissioner James O'Neill, left, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio, center, and NYPD First Deputy Commissioner Benjamin Tucker at Tuesday's crime statistics briefing.   Photo Credit: Charles Eckert

Crime in New York City declined by 2.6% so far this year compared with the same period last year, the NYPD said Tuesday.

The drop included murder, robbery, burglary, grand larceny and grand larceny auto, though shooting incidents were up, statistics show. Overall, there were 1,876 fewer crimes — 69,995, compared with 71,871 in the same period last year ending Sept. 30.

"While crime in New York City remains down thanks to the tireless work of the men and women of the police department working in close partnership with community members, we are focused on violent crime and the persistence of gun violence,” Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill said in a statement. 

Hate crimes continued to be higher than last year. They increased from 243 last year to 323, a 33% increase, the NYPD said.

"When you look at the categories of crime, it continues to be anti-Semitic which is driving the overall" number, said Dermot Shea, chief of detectives.  

There were 170 anti-Semitic cases so far this year, compared with 111 in the same period last year. Shea pointed out that arrests were also up, by 21%.

The city this summer created an Office for the Prevention of Hate Crimes within the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice. Besides prevention, the new office will coordinate the city’s response to hate crimes and will help victims and their communities.

Police attributed the overall decline in crime to several factors, including “precision policing, targeted deployments and the expansion of violence-interrupter efforts such as Ceasefire,” the department said in a statement. Ceasefire uses a series of escalating encounters with gang members to try to prevent future violence. That includes meetings in which social services providers, clergy and police officers, as well as federal prosecutors and family members who have lost someone to violence, speak to gang members on parole or probation.

The department also has utilized its Intelligence Division to crack down on gun-related domestic violence, the NYPD said. Members assist in intensive investigations of such cases when they involve a firearm, police officials have said. 

“Every New Yorker deserves to feel safe in their neighborhood,” Mayor Bill de Blasio said. “I applaud the men and women of the NYPD for working tirelessly every single day to make our city safer and fairer.”

Shooting incidents increased to 607 so far this year, compared with 573 in the same period last year, a 5.9% increase.

However, shootings declined in the month of September compared to last September, from 71 to 67. Police said it was the lowest figure recorded in the city for September since it first started using CompStat, a program begun in 1994 that allows police to track crime and compare performance but also to react quickly to changing situations.

Rapes increased to 1,377 from 1,361 in the same period last year.

The department also said it has worked to try to ensure that convicts re-entering society after release from prison get sufficient support so they do not fall back into a life of crime. Police said they are doing that in part by working with parole, probation and other departments.

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