NYPD Withholds Detailed Bronx Crime Stats

In NYPD's 52nd Precinct, some blocks are plagued by crime and others are among the city's safest. 

That is one reason editors of the Norwood News, a biweekly Bronx newspaper, want to publish neighborhood-specific crime statistics. Managing Editor Alex Kratz says numbers for the entire precinct are too broad to be meaningful.

"People don't care really about what's happening on the other side of the precinct," Kratz said. "People want to know what's going on, on their block."

In 2008, the Norwood News successfully published exactly that kind of ultra-local data.  For each of the 15 sectors that make up the 52nd Precinct, readers could learn how many robberies, auto thefts, assaults and rapes had plagued their neighborhoods in the previous six months.  

Then, according to the paper's editor-in-chief, Jordan Moss, the NYPD abruptly stopped providing the information. The newspaper filed a Freedom of Information request to get the data, but that was more than 400 days ago, and there are still no statistics.

"It's concerning to us mostly because this is valuable information that community members should have that will make them safer. And it will actually help the NYPD," Kratz said.

NBC New York contacted the NYPD to ask why the seemingly basic crime statistics are being held back. The Office of the Deputy Chief of Public Information sent a terse email, stating, "The New York City Police Department has received a F.O.I.L. request which is being worked on."

City Councilman Fernando Cabrera wants to know why the work is taking so long. 

The Democrat, who represents parts of the 52nd Precinct, is drafting a bill to force the police into releasing the information.

"We need the data.  Without data we cannot make informed decisions," Cabrera said.

Until editors of the Norwood News get the data they seek, they say they will continue posting a digital clock on their website, counting the days NYPD is withholding the neighborhood level statistics. 

"It's exactly this sort of thing that we exist for, to kind of bring to the forefront," said Moss.

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