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Violent crimes up in state, murders down in city

ALBANY -- New York's violent crimes increased 2.3 percent statewide to more than 79,000 last year despite a steep drop in New York City murders.

State data on serious property and violent crimes still show an overall 13 percent decadelong decline to about 450,000 last year. That reflects fewer crimes in all categories, led by a 62 percent drop in stolen vehicles, according to the state Division of Criminal Justice Services.

"There's all kinds of things you could point to and say maybe they make a difference, but I think it's hard with any certainty to say," Michael Green, ex-prosecutor and DCJS executive deputy commissioner, said of the plummeting homicide rate. They arguably include police anti-gang strategies, the city database for tracking guns, and programs providing alternatives to jail, he said.

While the city's murders declined almost 19 percent to 419 in 2012, the fewest recorded in decades, aggravated assaults, robberies and forcible rapes all rose slightly to nearly 53,000 violent crimes, up 3.5 percent from 2011, and about two-thirds of the statewide total.

For the rest of the state, violent crimes were nearly flat at about 26,000 last year, with declines in forcible rapes and robberies, an uptick in aggravated assaults, and 265 murders, a 4 percent increase.

New York City police reports this year show a continuing drop in murders to 166 through the first week of July, down 27 percent from last year, with a 9 percent decline in robberies, a 2 percent increase in rapes and a 1 percent uptick in felony assaults. The report noted 526 shooting incidents with 614 victims, both numbers down more than 27 percent from a year earlier.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, speaking this month at police graduation ceremonies, said the city last year set a record low for both murders and shootings and was on pace to break both records this year.

State & Region