What to Know
- New York City experienced a 38.5% increase in overall major crimes last month compared to the same time period last year, according to the latest statistics shared by the NYPD.
- For the month of January 2022, the city reported 9,566 overall incidents under the major index crime categories compared to the 6,905 cases in January 2021.
- According to the NYPD, every major index crime category saw a surge for that time period with the exception of murder, which fell by 15.2% (28 v. 33).
New York City experienced a 38.5% increase in overall major crimes last month compared to the same time period last year, according to the latest statistics shared by the NYPD.
For the month of January 2022, the city reported 9,566 overall incidents under the major index crime categories compared to the 6,905 cases in January 2021.
According to the NYPD, every major index crime category saw a surge for that time period with the exception of murder, which fell by 15.2% (28 v. 33).
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Robbery increased by 33.1% (1,251 v. 940), and grand larceny increased by 58.1% (4,047 v. 2,559), the statistics show. Citywide shooting incidents increased by 31.6% (100 v. 76).
The NYPD said it remains devoted to reducing crime and fight the rising toll of gun violence.
“The NYPD will forever work to ensure public safety and will never give up this city,” said NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell. “This is our solemn vow to New Yorkers and to New York City. It remains critical that all partners come to the table in this shared mission to combat gun violence.
It is the purpose-driven work that allows NYPD officers to honor the lives of their two recently murdered colleagues, First Grade Detectives Jason Rivera and Wilbert Mora. We will never forget the light they shined for us and we will never relinquish our privileged duty as society’s guardian.”
Rivera and Mora were two of the many officers that were shot just in the month of January in New York City.
Gun violence has already been on the rise during the pandemic and is spiking anew, and beleaguered cities are struggling with how to manage it.
The surge in crimes has leaders and communities worried, so much so, that President Joe Biden visited New York City on Thursday to talk to local and state leaders about the crime wave impacting the city as he tries to dispel criticism from the right that he hasn’t been tough enough on crime.
One Biden administration official said New York City was chosen because it is an example of communities experiencing a spike in crime "as a result of the pandemic," but also one that has "fully deployed many strategies" that the president has outlined to try and reverse the trends. Officials also highlighted the Biden administration's efforts to work with local governments to disrupt the flow of guns used in the crimes, like the gun that was used in the fatal shooting of two NYPD officers in Harlem.
But there are limits to what the president can do when there is no appetite in Congress to pass gun legislation.
The strongest effort in recent years failed, even after 20 children and six adults were killed in the 2012 Sandy Hook school shooting in Newtown, Connecticut.
All this unfolds against the backdrop of recent polls showing that Americans are increasingly concerned about crime and that Republicans have an advantage over Democrats as the party that would do a better job dealing with it.
The White House is pushing back against GOP efforts to paint Biden as soft.
“I think we all agree or should agree that violent crime is a serious problem,” White House press secretary Jen Psaki said this week. “Our view is that instead of turning this into a political football, we need to be focused from the beginning of the president’s time in office on reducing crime and keeping our communities safe.”
Guns are at the center of the debate as the nation grapples with homicides that spiked nationally in 2020. At least seven 16-year-olds were killed in shootings last year in New York alone. And 32 officers have been shot on the job in 2022, five fatally, including Mora and his partner, Jason Rivera, in the last few weeks.
Americans purchased a record number of firearms in 2020. Law enforcement officers recovered historically high numbers of firearms last year and are coming across more firearms stripped of serial numbers, making them impossible to trace.
Some early data suggests that the period between when a gun was purchased and used in a crime and recovered by police has shortened, compared with earlier years.
To combat this, the Biden administration is clamping down more on traders of “ghost guns,” homemade firearms that lack serial numbers used to trace them and that are often purchased without a background check.
The Justice Department is also working to stop the movement of guns north along the Interstate 95 corridor from Southern states with lax gun laws. Federal prosecutors will prioritize cases of those who sell or transfer guns used in violent crime and, if Biden's budget is enacted, get specific agents dedicated to the effort.
Los Angeles and New York are among the cities with federal strike forces aimed at cracking down on gun trafficking.
Federal agents are embedded in homicide units in police departments around the country, and the U.S. Marshals Service regularly conducts fugitive sweeps to arrest people with outstanding state or federal warrants.