Police precincts in northern Queens saw the sharpest uptick in shootings in the entire city last month, according to NYPD statistics announced by police brass and Mayor Bill de Blasio.
On Thursday, May 2, de Blasio and Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill held a press conference at One Police Plaza to review crime rates throughout the city.
“As for the hard work being done by our cops out there across the five boroughs – I continue to be pleased with the progress we’re making to improve on our already record low crimes,” said O’Neill.
According to the NYPD, crime rates in April 2019 were down 6 percent overall. There was a 34 percent decrease in murders, with 17 throughout the city, and the year-to-date number of murders is up to 88. Of the 17 murders, nearly half were shootings.
“We are at an all-time April low and for the first time in any April, we recorded fewer than 7,000 index crimes and the decreases are reflected in all seven major crimes,” said NYPD Chief of Crime Control Strategies Lori Pollock.
The overall number of shootings were spread throughout the city. However, the area called Patrol Borough Queens North — which encompasses the 104th, 108th, 109th, 111th, 112th, 114th, and 115th precincts — saw the largest increase in shootings during April, jumping from zero to seven shootings.
“The shootings during April are spread out across the city, and Queens North experienced the largest increase of seven versus zero with gangs, drugs and one robbery as the motives,” said Pollock. “Housing shooting incidents are up in April: 15 versus eight. Those incidents are also spread out amongst housing in the five boroughs. And gang violence is a factor in our shootings – over 50 percent, or 32, of our shootings are gang related.”
Rape crimes are down 16 percent with 141 recorded cases compared to 168 at this time last year. However, domestic rapes remained even with last year, and accounted for almost 45 percent of our month-to-date and year-to-date reports.
Hate crimes throughout the city, particularly anti-Semitic crimes, have increased during the beginning of 2019. In February, a 12-year-old boy was charged for drawing swastikas throughout a Rego Park schoolyard.
“What we are seeing is an increase of 60 reported hate crimes in New York City through the first four months of the year. As I’ve said before, anti-Semitic crimes make up 85 of the 148, so well over 50 percent of the overall crimes,” said Pollock. “When you drill down on the anti-Semitic hate crimes that we are seeing, approximately 80 percent of the drawing of swastikas in some way, shape or fashion throughout New York City.”
When asked about the increasing traffic fatalities, particularly in certain areas of Queens, the mayor stated that they intend to continue with a sixth year of Vision Zero to build more bike lanes.
“We have a plan out already to aggressively continue to build out bikes lanes, and it’s a very costly plan, but it’s the right thing to do. It also takes time to do these things,” said de Blasio. “So, I think the plan we have now is the right plan. What we will do a lot more of is more enforcement.”