Crime in New York City continued a downward trend in April, with four of the five boroughs showing decreases last month and the NYPD anticipating that 2016 will see record breaking drops in some serious felonies, officials said Tuesday.
The crime decreases come at a time when officers are spending less time on minor quality of life arrests but are making more arrests for felonies and gun seizures, said Commissioner William Bratton at a briefing for reporters Tuesday.
Last month was the safest April since the city began keeping records in 1994 with the CompStat system, with 15 fewer homicides and 49 less shootings for the year compared to 2015, Bratton said.
”All the numbers are going in the right direction,” said Bratton, speaking at a joint news conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio and Queens officials at the 105th Precinct in Queens Village. “The ones we want going down are going down, the ones we want going up are going up.”
However, overall serious felonies are up by about 1 percent, something police officials attributed to an extra day in 2016 because of the leap year and an increase in grand larcenies and rapes.
For the year, murders are down citywide by just more than 13 percent, shootings off by 15.7 percent, burglaries off 8 percent, and robberies down about 2 percent. Rapes have increased 6 percent, as have grand larcenies by 4.6 percent and felonious assaults up 8 percent.
Bratton and de Blasio chose that particular station house to laud the mayor’s plan to build a new $70 million 116th Precinct in Queens out of the large, elongated area encompassed by the 105th Precinct. The new precinct idea was one that Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said had been talked about since he was in high school during the 1940s. The current 105th Precinct area was delineated in 1929.
DeBlasio said it was unclear where the new precinct would be located. He said that the City Council ultimately has to approve his budget plan.
Detailing the latest crime trends, Dermot Shea, deputy commissioner for operations, said the only borough to see an increase in April was the Bronx where serious crimes rose 8 percent. Despite some problems with larcenies fueled by thieves using ATM skimming devices, Shea thought the city was on the verge of setting new low crime records this year.
”We believe we are not at the end, we are closer to the beginning,” said Shea about crime trends. “It is exciting to see really how low we can push this crime down.”
Speaking about the corruption investigations into some high-ranking officers by the internal affairs bureau and the FBI, Bratton clarified remarks he made earlier. When the scandal first broke, Bratton was quoted as saying that he thought things were as bad as things where in 1972 when the Knapp Commission probed widespread corruption.
On Tuesday, Bratton said his remarks were taken out of context and the current probe “in no way mirrors in any way, shape or form, the size of that systemic citywide corruption of the 1970s.”
“It is in no way systemic throughout the organization,” Bratton said of the corruption allegations. “It is contained, as far of the scope of it . . . this is not the Knapp days all over again.”