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Mayor credits additional officers with crime rate’s continued slide

Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill (l) and Mayor Bill de Blasio review crime numbers for February at the 114th Precinct in Astoria.
Photo by Michael Shain
By Bill Parry

Mayor Bill de Blasio announced at the 114th Precinct in Astoria Wednesday that citywide crime in February had dropped to a new low benchmark for the month in the modern Compstat-era. There were nine days last month without a single shooting in the city, according to the NYPD.

“Overall crime across the five boroughs remains on the decline thanks to an effective combination of precision and neighborhood policing,” de Blasio said. “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 will continue their decline.”

Citywide crime decreased nearly 9.9 percent, — with 6,630 major felony crimes recorded last month — compared to the same period last year. In total, there were 40 recorded shootings in February— a 35.5 percent drop from last February’s 62 shootings, although murders were up 11 percent.

“While the reduction of crime continues in New York City, it is nothing we take for granted,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said. “A 35-percent 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.”

The mayor also credited the deployment of 2,000 more officers on the streets with helping crime decrease, calling them an X-factor that’s going to have an increasingly big impact.”

De Blasio also reiterated his support for broken-windows policing, saying, “We believe in quality of life policing. We believe it’s one of the reasons this city has gotten safer for a quarter of a century.”

Last month City Councilman Rory Lancman (D–Hillcrest ) called on the mayor to re-examine parts of broken-windows policing — which could expose immigrants to deportation under Donald Trump because minor, nonviolent offenses are criminalized — when other, more humane and measured options for holding people accountable are readily available.

At a news conference last week, Lancman, along with representatives of lawyers organizations, urged the mayor to use his authority to direct that fare evasion be treated as a civil offense instead of a criminal offense.

Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparry@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4538.

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