The return of the bad old days will have to wait.
Following more that a year of rising numbers of violent crime citywide—and pronounced fears that the city was on the verge of killing sprees to rival the early 1990s—murders and shootings declined in September for the fourth straight month compared to similar periods last year.
Numbers Still High
The NYPD recorded 46 homicides, 13 fewer than in September 2020, while the 136 shooting incidents were 14 fewer than last year, the department said.
Still, the numbers of murders and shootings remain elevated compared to before the pandemic. Through September, killings were up 43 percent compared to the first nine months of 2019, with shootings still hovering at nearly twice the number they were at that point two years ago.
But the decreases compared to 2020 elicited both relief from city officials and a determination to continue to beat back the violent crime wave that crested last year but clearly has not fully ebbed.
Mayor de Blasio said that while the felony crime was down this year and misdemeanors were at their lowest point in three decades, there were still concerns.
“Look, we got a lot more to do, but what's clear is not just what's been done since the pandemic began, but the years and years before,” he said during his daily press briefing Oct. 6 following the release of the NYPD’s monthly crime statistics.
Brooklyn Less Lethal
He said that shootings in Brooklyn had dropped considerably from numbers recorded last year, including by nearly half in the borough’s notoriously violent northern precincts. Mr. de Blasio also noted the high number of gun arrests—a cooperative effort with state and Federal authorities spearheaded by the NYPD in recent months—which were up 21 percent for the year, to 3,425 through September.
While index crime—homicides, rapes, burglaries, robberies, felony assaults, grand larcenies and car thefts—rose by 2.6 percent last month compared with September 2020, those categories are down slightly for the year, with notable decreases in rapes and burglaries.
Assaults, however, were up nearly 19 percent and robberies increased 6 percent. Car thefts were up 4 percent and larceny increased very slightly.
Big Gun Bust
A day earlier, Mr. Shea and Manhattan District Attorney Cyrus Vance Jr. announced the indictment of a West 55th St. doorman and a Tennessee man on charges they sold 80 firearms to an undercover NYPD Detectives after buying them from two other Tennessee-based men.
During the Mayor’s press briefing, Mr. Shea, answering a question about so-called “ghost guns,” said they were “another obstacle.”
Referring to comments by Mr. Vance, he said, “we need help with the guns, clearly, and I would be a voice for that,” adding that he was prepared to go to Washington, D.C, to lobby for Federal help.
“It's, to me, it's crazy that people can buy guns so easily, repeatedly, and then bring them into neighborhoods where they are devastating neighborhoods,” the Commissioner said, adding that a rethinking about guns could bring down incarceration at the same time that safety on the streets would go up.
“Right now we're waiting for somebody with a gun to shoot somebody, and then we treat it serious,” he said, alluding to how gun cases are prosecuted and adjudicated. “It's backwards.”