Increases in theft, burglary and other crimes led to a 22 percent year-on-year increase in overall major crime in New York City last year, but there was a significant drop in gun shooting and homicides.
Campaigning on a pledge to improve public safety, Mayor Eric Adams said at a press conference at Police Department headquarters that the city was making progress. He commended the agency for its efforts to increase gun arrests and free the five counties from illegal weapons and drugs.
Still, the mayor said the city needs to cut burglaries, burglaries and grand thefts — categories that contributed to the increase in crimes it defined as major crimes last year from 103,388 to 126,537 in 2021. most important concerns.
“We know we have a lot more work to do,” Mayor Adams, a former police captain, told reporters at the press conference. “New Yorkers should be safe by statistics and feel safe by what they see. This is my obligation: to make sure that security is felt.”
Criminal justice experts said the declines in homicide and gunfire last year appeared to be in line with similar declines in other U.S. cities that experienced increases in such crimes, such as New York in 2020 and 2021, during the worst of the pandemic. These experts warned against reading the data too much for a year.
“No credible criminologist would tell you that you can interpret crime trends based on a year of analysis,” said Jeffrey A. Fagan, a professor at Columbia Law School.
He added that history shows that crime rises and falls cyclically due to various social factors, and that it is natural for murders and executions to decline after sharp increases over the past two years. Recent increases in shootings and homicides in New York are well below the colossal numbers of the 1980s and ’90s.
Christopher Herrmann, an assistant professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice, said the overall picture that the 2022 statistics paint — putting the homicide and gunshot numbers aside — is that “crime has increased in New York City, and it’s gone up quite a bit.” a little.”
Mr. Herrmann also noted, based on his own analysis of Police Department data, that the decline in shootings has yet to be felt in some of the long-standing neighborhoods of gun violence, including Brownsville and Bushwick in Brooklyn; Central Harlem and Inwood in Manhattan; and the East Concourse and Claremont in the Bronx.
Professor Fagan said that beyond pulling illegal weapons from the streets, police have limited control over whether there have been shootings and murders.
Yet Keechant Sewell, who is closing his first year as New York police commissioner, has sought to highlight the declines in these categories as evidence of his department’s plans to return crime to historic, pre-pandemic lows.
“We knew we weren’t going to turn this city around for a dime,” said Commissioner Sewell. “We did not encounter these decreases. These were not accidental. We strategized, planned, deployed and recalibrated when necessary.”
Statistics can be influenced by police departments’ decisions on how to categorize crimes, what to investigate and, in the case of New York, their own definition of serious crimes, which includes some property crimes. But the numbers released Thursday provided several metrics of New York City’s crime and delinquency:
As a result, there were 189,777 citywide arrests in 2022, a 22 percent increase over 2021.
Of these, 47,572 were for the most serious crimes: murder, rape, robbery, assault, theft, grand theft and grand theft of a motor vehicle.
The number of arrests linked to shootings and murders was 1,411, up nearly 12 percent from the previous year.
Michael LiPetri, chief of crime control strategies, said the city has seen the most gun arrests in 27 years. Last year there were 4,627.
Shootings and Murders
There were 433 homicides last year, about 11 percent since 2021 and the least drop since 2019. Murders hit a 22-year low in 2017, when only 292 people were killed.
About 300 fewer people were shot last year than the previous year. Shots in 2022 also fell 17 percent to 1,294.
Some of this decline came in parts of the Bronx. Chief LiPetri said police moved dozens of cameras and thousands of officers to the county.
There were only 13 shootings in the county in October, the fewest in that month since police began tracking those numbers in the mid-1990s.
Robberies and thefts contributed greatly to the 22 percent overall increase in the most serious crimes.
Chief LiPetri said there were nearly 10,000 robbery arrests last year. Police saw a 37 percent increase in robberies in the first three quarters of the year, with some improvement over the past three months. About 17 percent of those arrested in the robberies were under the age of 18.
Transit chief Michael Kemper said crime in the subway system had increased by nearly 30 percent in 2022 from the previous year. The increase came as passenger numbers rose significantly from the lows of the first two years of the pandemic.
Officers patrolled more than 1.5 million trains in subways last year, and arrests rose 47 percent. Police arrested 35 people for illegal weapon possession, an increase of 21 percent.
“We’ve gone from a very worrying increase in crime in the first 10 months of the year to a sharp turn in the last nine weeks of the year,” said Chief Kemper. “In fact, this was the lowest nine-week year-end period for major crimes in transit since 2009.”