What to Know
- The wave of violence in the Big Apple continues to rear its ugly head, as New York City saw an increase in overall crime last month compared to the same time in 2019, according to the latest NYPD statistics.
- For the month of August 2020, there was a 166% increase in the number of shooting incidents across the city compared to the same time period last year (242 compared to 91) as the number of shootings rose in all boroughs except Staten Island.
- Some local leaders have begun to wonder if the NYPD is actively engaging is some sort of slowdown due to recent police criticism. Chief of Department Terence Monahan, the highest ranking uniformed officer, has disputed the slowdown accusations.
The wave of violence in the Big Apple continues to rear its ugly head, as New York City saw an increase in overall crime last month compared to the same time in 2019, according to the latest NYPD statistics.
For the month of August 2020, there was a 166% increase in the number of shooting incidents across the city compared to the same time period last year (242 v. 91) as the number of shootings rose in all boroughs except Staten Island. Year-to-date, through August 31, there is a +87% spike in citywide shooting incidents (1,014 compared to 541).
The number of people murdered citywide increased to 53 compared to 36 (+ 47%) this August compared with August 2019.
Meanwhile, the number of robberies increased to 1,276 compared to 1,226 (+4%) and the number of burglaries increased to 1,310 compared to 1,076 (+22%) year-to-date through August 31 citywide. Overall crime for August 2020 increased to 9,093 compared to 9,033 (+0.7%).
In August 2020, gun arrests increased with a total of 359 gun arrests made by the NYPD compared to 357 in August 2019.
There were some positive spots. Rapes decreased by -22% this August over last (126 compared to 162), the data reveals. However, according to the NYPD, rape continues to be underreported. The NYPD asks victims of sexual assault to please come forward by calling the NYPD Special Victims Division's 24-hour hotline at 212-267RAPE (7273).
The NYPD data also reveals that year-to-date, through August 28, citywide hate crimes declined -37% (182 compared to 288).
According to the NYPD, it has made efforts to address the surging violence including shifting officers to areas experiencing upticks in shootings, collecting timely intelligence about crime and criminal conditions and addressing them in real time, a combination of short and long-term investigations to root out the persistent violence perpetrators, and having officers engage with the community at the grassroots level to focus on the problems and solve them locally.
“Despite all the continuing challenges, our NYPD officers are undaunted,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said in a statement. “The work of our officers represents the best of the policing profession and it continues as they increasingly engage with all of our community partners to protect life, prevent crime and build safer neighborhoods.”
After another violent weekend in New York City, and during a Monday that saw at least another three shootings across the five boroughs, some local leaders have begun to wonder if the NYPD is actively engaging is some sort of slowdown.
For many New Yorkers, the crime isn't new, and the aftermath is becoming all-too common.
"I've witnessed a lot of funerals happen this summer, to be honest, it's really bad out there," said Chantal Tejeda. "I haven't seen much police action to be honest, and you would think with all the violence coming, but no."
Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams is similarly disturbed by the uptick in crime — and by what he believes is a deliberate slow down in NYPD response time to 911 calls as a reaction to recent criticism of police.
"When a police officer does a slow down, he's not only endangering the public, he's endangering lives of his colleagues," Adams said.
Chief of Department Terence Monahan, the highest ranking uniformed officer, disputes the slowdown accusations. Instead, he attributes the rise in violence to other factors such as 2,000 fewer officers patrolling the streets every week, and pointed to the rise in gun arrests over the last month as a sign that no slowdown has been taking place.
He also said there have been thousands of NYPD retirements this year, keeping overall numbers low, and said there are less cops to go around due to the higher number of crime scenes this summer.