Limited gains on crime not enough to end New Yorkers’ fear
Good news: Most major crimes so far this year are down slightly from the same time in 2022, a sign that Mayor Eric Adams’ approach may have started to turn things around.
Homicides fell to 146 from 168.
Not so good news: the total number of crimes, including No-major crimes, are up about 1% in the first five months of last year.
This reflects, among other things, the scourge of retail theft and other “crimes”. (And the numbers don’t reflect the likely increase in crimes that don’t be flagged because merchants don’t see the point.)
Bad news outright: The city still has a long way to go to reach the levels it saw before the state’s ‘criminal justice reforms’ drove crime up — then soared during shutdowns .
Each major category of crime still has two digits jumps from 2018, when crime levels were 34% lower.
According to NYPD statistics:
- Murders are up 30% from five years ago.
- The flight increased by a quarter.
- Criminal assault, 35%.
- Car theft, a whopping 217%.
That doesn’t mean that last year’s small gains don’t make sense. But they are precarious: The NYPD has adapted, but the criminals must adapt as well.
New Yorkers therefore have reason to be concerned as the (usually harsher) summer months approach.
Especially when high profile horrors keep happening. More recently, the city has seen:
Meanwhile, the NYPD’s workforce is the smallest in decades.
Cops have retired or resigned faster than the city can replace them – and experience can’t be replaced even if the ranks of the police begin to grow to the funded level.
Additionally, state aid that allowed for more overtime police patrols to reduce crime on the subway will end at some point.
And a fixed (or decreasing) number of police can only do a limited amount of OT, anyway.
The NYPD “did more with less,” Commissioner Keechant Sewell admitted during a recent City Council hearing.
This confession should have sounded the alarm at the town hall.
Adams put public safety first (although he did not seek to increase the size of the force).
And he’s struck a fair new police contract that could stop the ranks from shrinking.
But he’s stuck with city and state lawmakers prioritizing the needs of criminals over children, the elderly and the law-abiding general public.
Until and unless that changes, the mayor’s only hope of reducing crime may be to start budgeting for a larger force.