Crime in NYC continues to drop but hate crimes spike, NYPD boss says in visit to Astoria

Photo courtesy of NYPD News

Police Commissioner James O’Neill and Mayor Bill de Blasio visited the 114th Precinct in Astoria on Wednesday to provide their monthly update on citywide crime.

February marked a new record as the month with the lowest number of serious crimes in the modern comp-stat era. Overall, there were 6,630 index crimes reported for February 2017 compared to 7,339 crimes reported during the same time last year.

Robberies were down 13.3 percent from the same time last year, rapes were down 21.3 percent and burglaries dropped 13.9 percent. Shootings were also down 35.5 percent, from 62 in February 2017 to 40 last month.

There were 20 murders reported in February 2017 compared to 18 last year, which marks an 11.1 percent increase. O’Neill and de Blasio attributed the drop in crime to an increased emphasis in community policing. The 114th Precinct is one of several that has implemented the Neighborhood Community Officer (NCO) program, which assigns officers to specific sectors so that community members can become acquainted with them.

“While the reduction of crime continues in New York City, it is nothing we take for granted,” O’Neill said. “A 35% decrease in shootings this February represents remarkable progress. We will target any violence with continued precision. Our neighborhood policing continues to play a critical role in fighting crime, by strengthening relationships between our communities and the police who protect them. As always, I am extremely proud of the work by all members of this Department to ensure the safety of all New Yorkers.”

Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said at the press conference that the city has recorded 24 hate crimes in 2017, which marks a 55 percent spike since the same time last year. He said 17 of the 24 crimes were anti-Semitic, a 94 percent increase from 2016 in those types of incidents.

“We believe that is part of a nationwide pattern,” Boyce said.

Chief of Patrol Carlos Gomez also added that the NYPD has increased patrols around Jewish centers and will continue to do so into the Passover holiday.

“Overall crime across the five boroughs remains on the decline thanks to an effective combination of precision and neighborhood policing,” said De Blasio. “Last year saw the fewest shootings in city history, and as we continue to take guns off the street and snuff out violent crime in the few pockets of the city where it still exists, those numbers continue their decline. I want to thank Commissioner O’Neill and the men and women in uniform who work hard to keep New York City the safest big city in the nation.”

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