What to Know
- Gun arrests across the five boroughs remain at a record high, according to the latest NYPD crime statistics.
- While there is an alarming gun violence trend in the city, overall, according to officials, crime is down.
- For the month of February 2021, New York City saw continued reductions in every major index crime category with the exception of grand larceny auto. Additionally, there is a 42 percent decrease in hate crimes. However, there continues to be an uptick in anti-Asian hate crimes.
Gun arrests across the five boroughs remain at a record high, according to the latest NYPD crime statistics.
Gun violence in the city remains a central focus for police, as investigators continue to work closely to build strong cases against those who traffic, sell or use illegal firearms.
"Gun violence coming out of last year and into this year continues to be something we are working very hard at," NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said during the mayor's press conference Thursday morning, adding that gun violence "continues to be a stubborn thing to stamp out."
For the month of February 2021, there were 400 gun arrests, according to the latest NYPD statistics. This is an increase of 63.9 percent compared to February 2020, or 156 more arrests. The majority of these arrests were in the Bronx (117) and Brooklyn (94).
According to police, the NYPD is shifting its officers to areas that experience an uptick in violence as part of an ongoing analysis of emerging crime trends. Additionally, precision policing allows investigators to pay close attention to individuals who are the persistent offenders.
"Even though we experienced some real challenges in 2020, particularly with gun violence, in fact, if you look at all of the numbers, overall crime decreased in 2020 and the fact is that the responses that are being made right now are working more and more," Mayor Bill de Blasio said.
Part of that response was installing 200 additional NYPD cameras to help resolve violent crimes as well as hate crimes -- with more cameras to come, Shea said.
NYPD Deputy Commissioner of Information Technology Matthew Fraser said that the technology -- both cameras and Shotspotter, a gunshot detection system -- were placed in areas that consistently faced violence. According to Fraser, the cameras and Shotspotter, work hand-in-hand -- with areas with Shotspotter having a 12 percent faster response time by police. Seeing technology as a useful tool, the city has plans to install an additional 200 cameras, while Shotspotter, which has been expanded by 12 square miles, will expand an additional four square miles by the end of this month.
While there is an alarming gun violence trend in the city, overall, according to officials, crime is down.
For the month of February 2021, New York City saw continued reductions in every major index crime category with the exception of grand larceny auto. Overall index crime fell 26.5 percent compared with February 2020. The reduction was driven by a 40.4 percent decrease in grand larceny (2068 in February 2021 compared to 3471 during the same period last year) and a 32.7 percent decrease in robbery (791 in February 2021 compared to 1175 in February 2020). There was also one less murder in February 2021 (21) compared to the previous year (22). While felonious assault saw a 7.9 percent reduction (1315) compared to February 2020 (1428), shooting incidents increased to 77 last month compared to the 44 in February 2020 -- a 75 percent spike.
Additionally, there is a 42 percent decrease in hate crimes. However, there continues to be an uptick in anti-Asian hate crimes. Last month saw three reported anti-Asian hate crimes compared to zero during the same time last year. Hate crimes targeting Asians and Asian Americans have increased since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Shea said that the department continues to pay special attention to this disturbing uptick.
"We have extremely dedicated detectives throughout the NYPD...the most diverse police department in the world, that takes this topic very seriously," Shea said.
NYPD Hate Crimes Unit Deputy Inspector Jessica Corey echoed similar sentiments.
"Our team of investigators will relentlessly investigate any crimes motivated by hate and seek to bring the perpetrators to justice. For those that believe your voices are not heard: I hear you, members of out Hate Crimes Team hear you and the entire New York Police Department hears you," Corey said. "In the coming days, weeks and months, I along with members of my team will be participating in a series of meetings throughout the five boroughs and we are going to build relationships and trust with various communities and listen to your concerns."