The NYPD’s top cops announced Wednesday that crime continued to rise in March, but that at the same time arrests are up and the department’s ‘neighborhood safety teams” are taking guns off the streets.
“We are arresting record numbers of people for shootings and homicides and we’re clearing more cases helping to deliver justice to victims.” said NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell. “The NYPD will use every available resource and opportunity to secure this city. While there is no doubt that we face challenges, and reversing years will not take weeks, the NYPD remains steadfast in its vision, plan and commitment to the residents, businesses and visitors to the city.”
Sewell said the department has made 335 arrests related to murders and non-fatal shootings, compared to 257 arrests in that category made during the same period last year. Overall the NYPD made 28.2 percent more arrests last month than in March of 2021.
The commissioner laid much of the blame of the continuing violent crime wave on several state-level criminal justice reforms passed in recent years – like changes to bail and discovery laws and “Raise the Age” – that gave more rights to accused perpetrators of crimes.
“It’s clear we are confronting a perception among criminals that there are no consequences even for serious crime. We need tangible changes. With a balanced system that puts victims first. It must be fair, but it must first and foremost favor the people it was designed to safeguard and protect,” she said.
Rollbacks to those reforms are currently being debated by state lawmakers and are likely to be included in this year’s state budget, which has still not been finalized.
Over the past month there was a 36.5 percent increase in major crimes compared to the same period last year, with much of that rise being driven by increases in car thefts, robberies and grand larcenies – according to NYPD data. There was, however, a 15.8 percent drop in murders for March of this year compared to last.
NYPD Chief of Crime Control Strategies Michael Lipetri said shootings were up 16 percent over the past month compared to last year – a large number of them were motivated by gang violence.
But, NYPD Chief of Department Kenneth Corey said, this problem is being successfully combated by the department’s “new neighborhood safety teams,” – which are a revamped version of the disbanded anti-crime units focussed on getting guns off the streets. Since they were first deployed last month, Corey said, the teams have made 135 arrests – 25 of which are gun arrests.
“The officers doing this vital work are ensuring that these guns never victimize another New Yorker,” Corey said in a release. “This is the most dangerous kind of work we do, but it can have the greatest impact on public safety. Our officers are precisely targeting the small number of criminals willing to carry a gun, and to use it.”