New York City showed a relatively modest decline in major crimes in November compared with the same period a year ago and a significant drop in shootings in areas of violence in three boroughs, according to the latest NYPD data released Monday.
The November drop of 1.2% in major felonies such as burglaries, robberies, grand larcenies, felonious assaults and homicides followed a 5.6% spike in October over the month in 2021. NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell said the decrease in major crimes was a sign that cops were seeing “substantial tangible progress toward our public safety goals.”
But at the same time, the Compstat police data showed that major crimes have continued to increase — more than 25% for the year compared with 2021, with persistent spikes in robberies, felonious assaults, grand larcenies and auto theft. The year-to-date numbers show that crime this year is also more than 30% above what it was at the same time in 2020 and 2019.
One bright spot was the decline in shootings. In November, shootings fell 32.8% over November 2021, driven by major decreases in violence hot spots in northern Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. However, homicides citywide in November jumped by 20%, although down 12.3% for the year so far, the data showed.
In a statement, Sewell attributed the November drop in major felonies to gang takedowns and the seizure of illegal guns, which now amount to more than 6,600 so far in 2022, a figure that includes 356 “ghost guns.”
Responding to a spike in 2022 transit crime, the NYPD last month increased the number of cops below ground by decreeing that officers would be assigned overtime to patrol subway stations, platforms and cars. The result has been a drop of 12.8% for November in major subway crime, compared with the period a year ago, Sewell said. Transit crime is still up nearly 32% for the year, according to a separate NYPD report for Compstat.
Sewell noted that a recent city initiative in which police will be involved in taking homeless people and others off the streets if they present a danger is another positive step. The policy has raised civil liberty concerns and was implemented without notice to NYPD officers and unions, raising additional concerns about what is expected of officers, according to union leaders.
“New Yorkers who are experiencing severe mental illness cannot be left to suffer on our streets and subways,” Police Benevolent Association president Patrick Lynch said in a statement. “… [W]e will need to hear more about the role police officers will play in this new plan. We need extremely clear guidance and training on when and how we should compel people to accept help.”
Sewell said: “This is a long-standing and very complex issue that has the full support and attention of the NYPD."