With just a month left in 2016, police project the year will wind up with fewer homicides than last year, despite recent spikes in the Bronx and Staten Island.
As of Thursday, the NYPD had recorded 312 homicides, compared with 325 through Nov. 27, 2015, a department spokesman said. Last year, the city had 352 killings. The all-time low in the modern Compstat era of record keeping was 332 in 2014.
If current trends continue, the city might wind up with around 340 homicides for 2016, NYPD Deputy Commissioner Stephen Davis said. Davis said the city has on average less than one killing a day. But reclassified cases — incidents judged to be homicides after further investigation or which later lead to death — add a certain unpredictability to the estimates, he said.
NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill is scheduled to talk about the continuing low crime trends in a briefing with reporters on Monday. Overall, serious crime has dropped 3.9 percent this year from 2015 and O’Neill’s crime experts say the current dip may put the city on track to go below 100,000 major felonies, a level which hasn’t been reached in decades. Shootings also are down 10.3 percent to 930.
“I think we are living in what I think will become the great New York experiment,” said Richard Aborn, head of the Citizens Crime Commission.
Aborn said even with jail and prison populations declining, as well as a drop in arrests and stop and frisk encounters, city crime continues to fall. He said the NYPD deserves credit for targeted policing, gun trafficking enforcement and neighborhood policing.
In terms of homicides, the two smallest boroughs by population — the Bronx and Staten Island — stand out because they have experienced significant increases in killings this year. As of Nov. 30, the Bronx had 91 homicides, a 9.6 percent increase from 2015; and Staten Island had 20 killings, an 82 percent increase from the 11 last year.
Because of their relatively small populations, the Bronx and Staten Island have the highest homicide rates per 100,000 residents. The Bronx rate is 6.25 per 100,000, while Staten Island’s rate is 4.21 per 100,000. The overall city rate is 3.57 per 100,000.
For comparison, Chicago has reported 693 homicides through November, a rate of about 25.5 per 100,000. In 2015, Chicago had 442 killings in the same period.
The increase for Staten Island has been driven by a spike of nine killings this year in the 121st Precinct, compared with zero in 2015. The precinct is centered in the Graniteville section.
According to NYPD spokesman Lt. John Gimpel, six of the homicides in the precinct were attributed to domestic disputes. Among them was the notorious slaying in February of Rebecca Cutler, 26, and her two children in a homeless hotel facility. Police have charged her estranged boyfriend Michael Sykes, who is due back in court later this month.