While parts of Brooklyn and the Bronx have seen recent increases in gun violence and homicides, overall serious crimes in the city continued to fall in April to the lowest level for the month in modern history, officials said Tuesday.
During the city’s monthly crime briefing, Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill noted that overall serious crime was down almost four percent in April, with a decrease in shootings of about 38 percent, compared with 2017.
For the year to date, felonies such as homicide, burglary, rape and robbery were off 3.8 percent, with homicides down 3.3 percent, according to police statistics.
“Month after month we have seen extraordinary progress,” said de Blasio.
But O’Neill noted that in the past week alone cops saw pockets of violence in the Brownsville section of Brooklyn, as well as in areas of the Bronx.
While O’Neill did not give details, police data through May 6 show a 50 percent increase in killings in the Bronx this year compared with 2017, from 20 to 30 deaths. Homicides in the Bronx for the previous 28 days—the so-called statistical month— tripled, from four to 12.
In the Brooklyn North area, homicides were up 17.6 percent through May 6 this year over 2017. For the week ending May 6, shootings for that part of Brooklyn also increased by 200 percent over the prior year, according to police data.
O’Neill said he and his commanders were going to move “as quickly as possible” to push down the violence in the Bronx and parts of Brooklyn. Officials said the violence has been mostly gang-driven.
O’Neill credited the overall crime decline to the neighborhood policing program, which began rolling out in the fall of 2016 and is underway now in 56 of 77 of the city’s precincts.
O’Neill said he hoped the department would soon be able to release the results of a survey on police attitudes toward the program, which some commanders have privately said is taxing staffing levels. But O’Neill said an initial examination of the survey results was positive.
Chief Laurie Pollock, the new head of crime control strategies, said rape reports citywide continued to increase, with a 44.5 percent jump in April over the same month last year. For the year to date, rapes have increased almost 32 percent, according to police data. The increase includes reports involving incidents that occurred in prior years but are being reported now, officials noted.
The subway system saw a 17 percent increase this year in robberies, mostly in Manhattan transit areas. But with redeployment of transit cops to crime hot spots, the incidents have decreased in recent weeks, police said.