Crime drops to historic low in city, borough

Queens and New York City saw decreases in most major crime categories between 2015 and 2016, according to the NYPD and the Queens DA.
By Patrick Donachie

New York City saw a continued drop in overall crime in the past year, according to recently-released statistics from the NYPD. Crime was reduced by more than 4 percent, leading to the fewest annual index crimes ever reported since the police first introduced CompStat in 1994.

As for Queens, the borough saw similar reductions in most serious crimes, according to Queens District Attorney Richard Brown. The amount of serious crime dropped by 3.26 percent from 2015 to 2016, according to Brown, with a nearly 19 percent drop in murders and a 15 percent drop in auto thefts, an 8.5 percent drop in robberies as well as a decline of almost 8 percent in burglaries.

Citywide, shooting incidents dropped to 998 in 2016, compared to 1,138 in 2015, equal to a drop of 12.3 percent, which the NYPD said was the fewest annual shooting incidents ever reported since the NYPD first instituted CompStat.

“2016 was the safest year ever in the history of New York City,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said about the citywide drop in incidents of crime. “We have been working hard at reducing crime to historic lows, when many said it could not be done. And we have reduced crime despite upticks in violence in many other cities across America.”

O’Neill credited the expanded use of the Neighborhood Policing program as one reason for the continued decrease, and said the NYPD had greater success in making arrests and stymieing gang activity throughout the city.

Throughout the city, the NYPD recorded 335 murders in 2016, a 4.8 percent reduction from the year before, and a 1 percent reduction in rapes, down to 1,436. In 2016, 15,489 robberies were committed, a reduction of 8.7 percent. Of the major index crimes, only felonious assaults saw an increase, from 20,375 in 2015 to 20,807 in 2016, a rise of 2.1 percent.

Mayor Bill de Blasio lauded the drop in crime throughout the city.

“Three years ago, countless onlookers scoffed at the notion that New York City could reduce crime from already record lows,” the mayor said. “Yet we’ve done it, all while working toward a more just city by reducing arrests and curtailing the overuse of stop and frisk.”

Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdonachie@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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