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Thread: Crime in New York City

  1. #1

    Default Crime in New York City

    June 10, 2003

    Under Bloomberg, Crime Falls Again

    By JENNIFER STEINHAUER

    In the last 17 months, as crime began to increase around the country, many people began to question whether New York City had reached the limits of its crime-fighting successes.

    With the Giuliani administration gone and a persistent budget deficit and antiterrorism demands eating away at the resources of the New York Police Department, many New Yorkers began to sense that crime was on the rise.

    But statistics show that crime has continued to fall, and the Bloomberg administration says the credit should go to a series of highly selective crime-fighting initiatives that has won significant victories in the streets.

    Operation Impact, for example, redeployed 800 police officers into 61 crime pockets around the city. Since then, according to the latest statistics available from the mayor's office, homicides in those areas have dropped nearly 47 percent compared with the same period last year, while robberies fell 43 percent and grand larceny crimes dropped 31 percent.

    Operation Spotlight targets a small group of chronic misdemeanor offenders who commit a disproportionate share of crimes and sends them to a special court for stricter sentencing. The number of those offenders sentenced to jail has increased 46 percent from last year, and the percentage of those defendants held on bail has increased nearly 20 percent over the same time last year, the statistics show.

    A program that focuses on those quality-of-life offenders who by every indicator seem to vex New Yorkers the most — the noisy — has yielded 55,000 summonses and more than 800 felony arrests.

    During his mayoral campaign, Michael R. Bloomberg's law enforcement message, such that it was, centered on a basic theme: Rudolph W. Giuliani had put the lid on crime, and if elected, Mr. Bloomberg would try to keep it there. But crime clearly took a back seat to his other priorities, like education.

    Mr. Bloomberg, who came to the job with no crime-fighting background, has relied on the advice of his police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, and his criminal justice coordinator, John Feinblatt. The administration says it has come up with ways to make crime drop further, by zeroing in on the most intransigent pockets of criminality.

    It has done that by keeping the key Giuliani-era crime fighting program, Compstat, a system that uses data to measure where crime is most persistent.

    But the Bloomberg team has taken Compstat even further, using the statistics to sharpen its crime-fighting focus beyond merely making more arrests.

    "The two administrations are night and day when it comes to fighting crime," said Jeffrey A. Fagan, a professor of law and public health at Columbia University and an expert on crime in New York City.

    "Giuliani launched large-scale initiatives citywide under the broad-brush theory about disorder," Professor Fagan said. The Bloomberg administration, he said, has "done a very, very good job of being highly selective in terms of how they use their resources."

    Clearly, Mr. Bloomberg benefited from inheriting a city where crime rates had fallen dramatically in recent years, as they did in most of the nation's large cities. But while crime rates seem to have leveled off or crept up in other cities in the last year or so, in New York, much to the surprise of many experts, the rates continue to fall.

    Major crime over all has fallen 8 percent this year from the same period last year, and dropped in every category except rape. Reports of felony assaults, for instance, have dropped 10.7 percent, according to administration figures, and shootings are down 10.3 percent.

    According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation, total violent crime and property crime reported to law enforcement agencies across the country during the first six months of 2002 increased by 1.3 percent compared with the same period in 2001.

    Mr. Bloomberg is many things to many people — school reformer, cigarette hater, tax raiser — but the crime fighter reputation still appears to belong to his predecessor.

    "The public understands that they are safe in this city in ways they have not been in modern memory," Mr. Bloomberg said in a telephone interview on Sunday. And the mayor, who is not a fan of self-promotion, even when it involves his most successful programs, thinks people will soon associate that accomplishment with him. "They will in a re-election campaign, you may rest assured," he said.

    Mr. Bloomberg announced his first anti-crime initiative before he was sworn into office. Operation Clean Sweep was aimed at so-called quality-of-life crimes, apparently to send a message to New Yorkers that he would not let Mr. Giuliani's efforts go by the wayside.

    His administration's more recent initiatives have been more narrowly focused. Early this year, Mr. Kelly announced Operation Impact, which uses recent police academy graduates to step up enforcement in 61 neighborhoods where shootings and other crimes appeared to be rising. Crime in those areas has fallen 36.5 percent since the program began, according to police statistics.

    "Operation Impact is a perfect example of going beyond self-imposed boundaries," Mr. Kelly said. "We deployed our resources on those locations where crime was worst, and the numbers show those efforts have been a great success."

    Operation Spotlight, announced in May 2002, illustrates several hallmarks of Mr. Bloomberg's way of doing business. It makes extensive use of technology, it forces agencies and offices that traditionally compete for resources and attention to work together and it focuses on very specific problems that need fixing.

    The program began concentrating on thousands of petty criminals who seemed to be recycling through the criminal justice system. Using a computer program, repeat misdemeanor offenders are identified at the time of their arrests, then sent to be arraigned in a special part of Criminal Court in each borough. The cases receive priority treatment there, and the defendants ostensibly face lengthier sentences.

    The program expanded and now all five boroughs have courts that speed up and toughen sentencing of felons who violate their probation. Brooklyn also has a special court to handle all felony gun possession cases from five Brooklyn neighborhoods — Bedford-Stuyvesant, Crown Heights, East Flatbush, Brownsville and East New York — where a quarter of the city's shootings occur.

    More than 10,000 arrests were made in the first seven months of Operation Spotlight, and jail sentences longer than 30 days have increased 55 percent. The Brooklyn gun court began in April, but of the cases disposed so far, 100 percent have resulted in conviction and jail sentences, according to city officials.

    "He is not just interested in arrests," Mr. Feinblatt said of Mr. Bloomberg, "He wants to pull the thread through. `What is the outcome here? Are people going to jail? Are the right people being supervised?' You want to focus on the criminals who you already have under supervision, or who are already on parole but at risk."

    Mr. Feinblatt cited another initiative, the use of digital technology on 911 tapes to better catch and prosecute domestic violence offenders. "There is nothing more chilling and persuasive when somebody was getting battered than to hear the utterance of the domestic violence victim on the phone screaming for help," Mr. Feinblatt said.

    John E. Eck, a professor of criminal justice at the University of Cincinnati who studies policing and crime prevention across the nation, said that targeted policing efforts and better coordination of every aspect of criminal justice have been used successfully around the country.

    Many of the Bloomberg administration's programs, however, hark back to old-fashioned law enforcement techniques.

    "Ray Kelly came up through the same generation I did, that addressed crime with swiftly instilling in offenders' minds that apprehension and punishment will be swift and sure," said Edward Mamet, a 40-year veteran of the New York Police Department who now works as a police consultant.

    Perhaps helping the drop in crime is the administration's relationship with minority groups, which appears better than that of the prior administration, even in the wake of two recent controversial cases in which black New Yorkers died as a result of actions by the police. This may stem from the administration's speedy attempts to take responsibility for police errors, and its overall efforts to improve community outreach.

    "When we came into office," Mr. Kelly said, "we talked about the three C's: crime, counterterrorism and community relations. If there is a theme, it is that those three things have to be given co-equal status."


    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  2. #2

    Default Under Bloomberg, Crime Falls Again

    I wonder if Bloomberg will get booed for this?

    Mostly overlooked, but his smartest move may have been rehiring Ray Kelly as police commissioner.

    An article from NYPD news:

    On a bright October day several weeks after the attack on the World Trade Center, Ray Kelly and his wife, Veronica, were allowed to return to their Battery Park City apartment for the first time. Though they weren't permitted to move back in (that wouldn't happen for nearly two months), they were able, at least, to survey the scene and to take whatever personal items they could carry. Before the Kellys left the building, a block from the Trade Center, they went up to the roof to look around. Though he had been to ground zero several times, Kelly was stunned by the view overlooking the site: "For the first time, I really saw the breadth and the scope of the damage. What had been our neighborhood -- gone. Literally gone. The whole thing. We loved the area, and we were now looking at a pile of rubble that had been like our town."

    As they stood on the roof in the afternoon sunlight, his wife quietly weeping, they tried to pick out familiar landmarks in the ruins -- the bank, a bookstore. For Kelly, there was a moment of clarity. The kind that a Marine colonel and 31-year veteran of the NYPD would have. "It's not like I hadn't thought about it before. But standing there, the whole scene crystallized for me that this was war and I didn't want to be on the sidelines," says Kelly, who after nearly four decades of an extraordinary life in public service -- highlighted by a stint as police commissioner in the David Dinkins administration -- had finally settled into a prestigious directorship at Bear Stearns. A job, by the way, that he loved.

    "I knew that I wanted to do something," he says. "When you're in government, you don't have much money, but you do have a certain amount of power. You have the ability to make a difference, and I knew at that moment that's what mattered most."

    At the time, Kelly had no immediate prospects, even though he'd been advising candidate Michael Bloomberg on law-enforcement issues for nearly a year. To begin with, Bloomberg was, only a few weeks before the election, still an almost laughable long shot. But even if Bloomberg did somehow manage a huge upset, the two men had never discussed a role for Kelly in a Bloomberg administration. In fact, Kelly had convinced the rookie politician that continuity was critical and that he should try to persuade Commissioner Bernard Kerik to stay on.

    Even on Election Night, when Bloomberg's improbable victory was assured and it was clear Kerik would not stay, Kelly could be heard in Bloomberg's suite thinking out loud about whom they could get for that job. It wasn't until the next day that Kelly began to seriously think about the possibility of becoming New York's police commissioner, again, himself. The official call came two days later. Kelly was walking on Lexington Avenue when Mayor-elect Bloomberg paged him. They had a brief conversation during which the offer was made, and Kelly said he'd call him back -- which he did, rather quickly, to accept.

    "It was an opportunity to get back in the business that I know in an organization that I love," says Kelly, who points out, as evidence of his fealty to the NYPD, that in 1993 he turned down the directorship of the FBI to stay on as police commissioner. "This is the best law-enforcement job in the country. But more than anything, I wanted to be a player at this critical time in the history of the city and the history of the department."

    So Kelly has once again gotten his chance to serve. But the old aphorism "Be careful what you wish for" may soon begin to haunt him. For weeks, the city's tabloids have been dotted with panting headlines about a rise in shootings, a spike in murders, record numbers of homeless people on the streets, and even the return of the squeegee men. And these reports are often accompanied by opinion pieces issuing grave warnings about a post-Giuliani return to mayhem and disorder.

    Some of the pieces impugn Kelly's qualifications simply by associating him with the Dinkins administration -- the op-ed equivalent of warning shots fired in Kelly's direction.

    Eight years later, there is the lingering accusation that Kelly was, if not exactly soft on crime, at least willing to accept much of the pre-Giuliani conventional wisdom that there was little cops could actually do about it. When I ask Kelly about this, his demeanor changes. He visibly stiffens but is reluctant to engage. He has nothing to gain from fighting old battles. Especially now. "Was I annoyed about some things that might've been said? Sure. But that's ancient history" is as far as he'll go.

    Kelly did, however, begin to move the department in the right direction. Crime went down every month he was police commissioner, which was surprising enough at the time because the Police Department had never actually succeeded in reducing crime. But whatever good he did was completely overshadowed by the Bill Bratton revolution that followed. For Kelly, it's a little like being Buck Showalter -- the guy who managed the Yankees before Joe Torre.

    "Ray wants to vindicate himself," says someone who knows him well. "He may have been on his way to do great things, but the plug was pulled on him by Rudy Giuliani. He was sent packing not really having done anything wrong but not having had the time to accomplish much. He's also a little embarrassed at what happened when Bratton came in. You know, the fact that he wasn't the one who figured it out."

    Besides, the Police Department's enormous success under Giuliani conceals the fact that it's quietly been slipping toward crisis. "From a distance, the NYPD looks like a brand-new, shiny Cadillac," says John Timoney, who just resigned as Philadelphia's immensely popular police commissioner. "But as you get closer, you see that the shiny new car has a seized engine. So Ray's got to go in and fix the engine. There's an awful lot of heavy lifting involved. But even if he is able to get it all done, it'll be a thankless task. He won't get any credit for it because everyone will say, 'The car was fine. I saw it myself.' "

    Timoney, who worked for Kelly in the NYPD back in the early nineties and was promoted to first deputy commissioner by Bratton, knows better than most people the bitter irony in this situation. "I think he's getting screwed royally," Timoney says in no uncertain terms. "The first time around, Ray took over as police commissioner more than halfway through another man's term, and I think he did a very good job. Believe me, I know how hard he worked. He set the table for Bratton. But he got no credit. This time, as they say in Brooklyn, it's even worser. The place is a mess, and there'll be very little money to do anything. So in some respects, he's been handed a poisoned chalice. But he's the most qualified man in America to deal with it."

    You could almost make the case that Ray Kelly ought to have the office on the fourteenth floor of One Police Plaza based solely on the way he looks. Small, compact, and still tautly muscled from his five-day-a-week workouts, Kelly appears every sinewy inch the Marine he used to be: from his impossibly tight little stubble of a crewcut, which looks more like someone's five o'clock shadow than like a grown man's hairdo, to his highly shined shoes. And then there's the face, that amazing snub-nosed .45 of a kisser that seems to capture once and for all time what a cop in the NYPD ought to look like.

    When you get to his qualifications, Kelly actually looks even better -- he's the most credentialed, experienced commissioner the department has ever had. He has a law degree from St. John's, which he earned while juggling rotating shifts as a cop. He has a master's in law from NYU, which he earned while working around his four-to-midnight shift. And he has a master's from Harvard's Kennedy School of Government.

    He was undersecretary of the Treasury, in charge of the Secret Service; of the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms; and of the Customs Service. He also ran the Customs Service alone for three years. He was on the executive committee of Interpol, and for six months, he was in Haiti on behalf of the State Department to establish and train a police force. Oh, and before settling in with the NYPD, he did a tour of duty in Vietnam with the Marines.

  3. #3

    Default Under Bloomberg, Crime Falls Again

    FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
    PR- 164-03
    June 16, 2003

    MAYOR MICHAEL R. BLOOMBERG AND POLICE COMMISSIONER RAY KELLY ANNOUNCE NEW YORK CITY REMAINS NATION’S SAFEST BIG CITY

    City Falls Seven More Notches Nationwide in FBI Report


    New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly today announced that the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Reports for 2002 ranks New York City even lower in overall crime than it ranked in 2001. *According to FBI statistics, the City experienced a 4.5% drop in overall crime; the national average was a drop of only 0.2%. Moreover, the New York City ranked 203rd out of 225 cities across the nation on the total crime index; in 2001, the city ranked 196th.

    “New York City has not only retained its title as the safest big city in the country, it has defied the odds and the economy to become even safer,” Mayor Bloomberg said. *“The men and women of the Police Department, led superbly by Commissioner Kelly, have done an incredible job implementing successful anti-crime initiatives and are doing it with fewer officers as well as the increased responsibilities of counter-terrorism. * From Operation Clean Sweep, the quality-of-life enforcement program which we announced in the first days of our administration, to Operation Spotlight, where we have focused the resources of the courts to make sure persistent misdemeanants serve meaningful sentences, we have kept driving crime down and making the streets safer for the people of this great City.”

    “Thanks to the outstanding efforts of the men and women of this Department, we have made New York City the safest it's been in decades,” Commissioner Kelly said. “I want to commend them for their commitment to keep crime down to record levels. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the New York City Police Department that our City enjoys its status as the safest big city in the country.”

    The FBI's total crime index ranks cities of 100,000 people or more by the number of crimes per 100,000 people. *For 2002, the total crime index in New York City was 3,140 crimes per 100,000 people. *Out of the 225 cities, which are ranked, New York City now ranks 203, between Garden Grove, California, and Henderson, Nevada—a drop of seven from last year. *Out of the nation's 10 largest cities, New York City ranked 10th with the fewest overall crimes on the total crime index. *Out of the nation’s 25 largest cities, it ranked 24th, just behind San Jose, California.
    * * * * * * * * * * * * *
    The following list shows where New York City ranked out of the 25 largest cities in seven crime categories, and where the City ranked in 2001.

    * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *2002 *2001
    Murder * * * * * * * * * * * 20th *20th
    Forcible Rape * * * * * * *25th *25th
    Robbery * * * * * * * * * * 15th *13th
    Aggravated Assault * * *15th *16th
    Burglary * * * * * * * * * * 24th *23rd
    Larceny-Theft * * * * * * 24th *24th
    Motor Vehicle Theft * * *25th *23rd
    Total Crime Index * * * * 24th *24th

    Six out of seven crime categories dropped significantly in New York last year but climbed nationwide. *Homicides fell 9.1%, while increasing .8% nationwide. *Motor vehicle theft fell 10.1%, while increasing 1.2% nationwide. Burglaries fell by 4.8%, while increasing 1.5% nationwide.


    CONTACT:

    Edward Skyler/Jordan Barowitz (212) 788-2958

    Michael O’Looney (NYPD)
    (646) 610-8989

  4. #4

    Default Under Bloomberg, Crime Falls Again

    This is terrible. We are becoming so politically correct.

  5. #5
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    Default Under Bloomberg, Crime Falls Again

    What happened to that perception of the festering sewer that had so been implanted in the psyche of Middle America?

  6. #6
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    Default Under Bloomberg, Crime Falls Again

    Damn this safe city crap - give me some Central Park rapings, some subway stabbings, and some smelly cab drivers. *That's what NY's all about!

  7. #7

    Default Under Bloomberg, Crime Falls Again

    Billyblanco, I must apologize, but I really don't want "Central Park rapings, some subway stabbings, or some smelly cab drivers." I doubt that too many want to go back to the porn-filled, addict-filled old Times Square either, or back to the old days of whole walls of graffiti, homeless bums or hookers on every corner, and the like. *

  8. #8
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    Default Under Bloomberg, Crime Falls Again

    Sorry, I was being sarcastic.

  9. #9
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    Default Under Bloomberg, Crime Falls Again

    NY Post:

    SLAY CRISIS JOLTS NYPD

    By MURRAY WEISS

    June 20, 2003 -- The murder rate is skyrocketing in New York City, with a 17.5 percent spike in slayings over the last four weeks pushing the overall number of killings 5.4 percent above last year's figure, The Post has learned.

    In the four-week period ended last Sunday, the city counted 47 murders, compared with 40 in the same period last year.
    Alarmed by the increase, police commanders have called a round of emergency meetings at their downtown headquarters to plot a response to the problem.

    Supervisors from Brooklyn North were called to One Police Plaza yesterday for a "Compstat" session, two days after commanders from Manhattan North faced a similar grilling about the increase in killings within their precincts.
    Both meetings - which insiders have dubbed "Spike-stat" to reflect the sudden and sharp spurt of violence - were set up early Monday morning, following a weekend of violence in which 11 people were killed.

    The unusually high level of bloodshed was troubling for City Hall, which had proudly announced FBI statistics showed the Big Apple to be one of the safest big cities in America.

    Although crime is at a 40-year low, the number of slayings - a bellwether category - this year has reached 254 as of Sunday.
    During the same period last year, the city tallied 241 killings.

    Last week, two boroughs that had no murders during the preceding seven-day period had five each, contributing to an overall 120 percent jump, from 10 citywide to 22.

    The hastily-called police summits - where top brass quiz supervisors about crime within their commands - focused on whether cops were properly deployed against drug dealers and other criminals while the NYPD is shrinking because of budget constraints.
    Police officials said the ability of the NYPD to obtain up-to-the-minute crime data lets them immediately zero in on a trouble spot before it becomes an entrenched situation with similar "Spike-stat" sessions.
    An NYPD spokesman said the brass frequently summon commanders when they spot spikes in other crime categories.

    Last year, there were 584 killings. If the present pace continues, the number of homicides could exceed 620 by year's end.

    ~~~

    620 still isn't that many in proportion to New York's size, yet this should still be a matter of grave concern. *If that number is constant, then the murder rate would be (620/82 = ) 7.56 per 100,000 people, which is still well below the national average, and still lower than in most other American cities.

    So long as we're talking about crime...Fabb, I have a question. *I read in a book about Paris that in 1996 there was a total of 80 murders there out of a city of 2.2 million. *That's less than half the homicide rate in New York, but I'd like to ask what it's like now?

  10. #10

    Default Under Bloomberg, Crime Falls Again

    June 21, 2003

    Killings Rise in Manhattan, Worrying Morgenthau

    By WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM

    District Attorney Robert M. Morgenthau of Manhattan said yesterday that he was concerned about an increase in killings in the borough this year that has helped drive up the citywide murder rate by a little more than 5 percent, despite an overall decline in reported crime citywide.

    The city's homicide rate, which has decreased over the last 10 years by nearly 70 percent to levels not seen since the 1960's, can occasionally rise at some point in a given year but by year's end show a decrease. But Mr. Morgenthau's statements suggest that he believes that the rise in killings in Manhattan represents a disturbing trend.

    "I am concerned about the increase in homicides," Mr. Morgenthau said in a telephone interview. "It's not a crisis but it's one of those things where you want to catch it before it gets out of control; you want to catch it before it becomes a crisis."

    One city official said that Mr. Morgenthau, along with the city's four other district attorneys, has been fighting to stave off pending budget cuts, and suggested he was using the rise in the murder rate to make a case for more funds for his office.

    From Jan. 1 to June 15, 46 people were slain in Manhattan, up from 33 for the same period last year, an increase of roughly 40 percent, according to police statistics. The additional killings in Manhattan correspond to a 5.42 percent increase in killings citywide over the same period last year, to 254 from 241, while overall reported serious crime has dropped 7.90 percent.

    Mr. Morgenthau's office has been credited with helping bring down the homicide rate in Manhattan by focusing on several drug gangs in the 1990's that were responsible for scores of murders.

    Michael P. O'Looney, the police department's deputy commissioner for public information, said in an e-mail message that there were just 83 killings last year in Manhattan, the fewest in more than a century, something he called a "remarkable achievement" when examined in its historical context. In 1937, he said, there were 217 homicides; in 1950, 159 and in 1975, the year Mr. Morgenthau took office, there were 646. In the last 10 years alone, the rate of killings in Manhattan has fallen by 80 percent, he said.

    "As of June 15, there have been 46 homicides in the borough, again an exceptionally low number by any measure and on pace to end the year with fewer than 100 murders," he said. "One homicide is one homicide too many, but when you take a broad view, the murder rate remains near an all-time low."


    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  11. #11

    Default Under Bloomberg, Crime Falls Again

    July 2, 2003

    Mayor Extending Focus on Crime Hot Spots

    By WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday that the New York Police Department would extend its Operation Impact crime-fighting program, which he credited with helping to bring down crime. The department will use overtime to continue the initiative, which posts officers in crime hot spots across the city.

    It is the second time the administration has extended the program, which began in January and initially put about 1,500 rookie officers on the street in 61 crime pockets as soon as they graduated from the Police Academy. The decision came just days after police officials said the program would be eliminated as part of the department's budget cuts.

    Mr. Bloomberg disclosed the plan just hours before he swore in a new class of 1,350 recruits at the academy. He said overtime would be used to replace some of the Operation Impact officers, many of whom have been reassigned to precincts in recent months to replace officers who have been retiring. When the new academy class graduates in six months, some of those rookies will be assigned to impact posts, he said.

    Mr. Bloomberg, in a wide-ranging speech to the Citizens Crime Commission that focused on his administration's criminal justice initiatives, said Operation Impact had reduced crime in targeted areas by 35 percent in the first six months of this year, compared with the same period in 2002. He said that helped drive crime down 8 percent citywide for the first six months of this year.

    "It's just too important to keeping crime down in the city to let it lapse," the mayor said of Operation Impact.

    Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, who fielded reporters' questions with the mayor after the speech, said he could not yet say how many of the Operation Impact officers would be replaced. But he said the department would spend about $20 million on the initiative until the new academy class graduates.

    In his speech, Mr. Bloomberg touched on criminal justice programs that he hailed as unqualified successes. The speech and the extension of Operation Impact come at a time when the mayor has seen his approval ratings plummet despite accomplishments in balancing the city's budget and in maintaining the crime declines of the last decade. One aide said the speech represented an effort to highlight the administration's crime-fighting successes.

    When Operation Impact began, 980 officers on overtime shifts were sent to crime hot spots in the five boroughs each day, a senior police official said. The initiative was envisioned as a three-month program, but it was extended at the end of March, when 526 officers were assigned to the posts each day.

    During the program's first two months, before the academy class graduated and rookies took over the posts, the department spent about $3 million on the initiative, the official said, and a total of $11.5 million has been spent so far. Officials hope that the additional $20 million in overtime will allow the department to raise the number of officers assigned to the posts. Many officers currently at the posts will be shifted to precincts to fill positions left by those who retire, the official said.

    The mayor said another department initiative would give judges and prosecutors in all criminal cases digital recordings of 911 calls when they weigh bail for defendants. The practice is now available only for domestic violence cases.


    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

  12. #12

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    New York Daily News
    http://www.nydailynews.com

    Crime rate plummets to good-ol'-days level

    By MICHELE McPHEE
    DAILY NEWS POLICE BUREAU CHIEF

    Tuesday, December 2nd, 2003

    Cops are the true heroes of New York.

    Through November, major crime is down 5.6% compared with last year - making city streets the safest they have been in at least 35 years, harking back to a time when John Lindsay was mayor and "Oliver!" won the Oscar for Best Picture.

    It's a success story that cuts across all boroughs, from the mean streets of Brooklyn's East New York to tonier addresses on Park Ave., and in all crime categories.

    The latest good news continues a remarkable 10-year trend that exploded under then-Mayor Rudy Giuliani, who oversaw double-digit declines in all serious crimes.

    Now, Mayor Bloomberg has picked up where Giuliani left off.

    The numbers tell the story:

    * Murder has had a startling 69.6% decline over the last decade.

    * There are 38.6% fewer rapes now than there were in 1993.

    Even felonious assaults have plummeted 70.1% in the past 10 years.
    Some doubted the NYPD would be able to keep crime's remarkable slide going, especially when budget cuts have shrunk the force and anti-terrorism demands have increased.

    "A lot of people are going to have egg on their face because they predicted the crime rate could not go any lower," said Eli Silverman, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice.

    "The Police Department proved them wrong, and showed the public that they could do even more with less," Silverman said. "All in all, it is quite striking - especially when nationwide, the trend is crime is going up."

    The murder rate this year has inched up ever so slightly, with 538 homicides through November, four more than during the same period last year. Rape - which had spiked sharply in 2002 - is down 1.5%. Serious assaults have dipped 9.6%, and burglaries are down 7.6%.

    There are fewer vehicles getting swiped, with grand larceny auto going down 12.4%.

    Police officials said the overall number this year of major felonies - 132,584 from Jan. 1 to Nov. 30 - is on pace to be even lower than 1968, when the NYPD began compiling reliable statistics, police officials said.

    "The cops are on a mission to protect the city as a result of 9/11, from both conventional crime and terrorism," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said last night.

    Kelly and his supporters point to an NYPD initiative called Operation Impact as the driving force behind the safer streets. The program redeployed more than 800 cops - many of them new recruits - into 21 high-crime zones.

    Crime in every category has dropped an average of 40% in those areas since Operation Impact began in February. Violent crimes, drug-related homicides, rapes, auto theft and assaults all have seen declines as uniformed cops flood the zones.

    "When you look at the fact that we have 4,000 fewer officers than we had three years ago," Kelly said, "it's truly remarkable work, and credit has to go around to the whole uniformed force."

  13. #13

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    December 11, 2003

    New York's Amazing Police Story

    The number of homicides in the United States fell by about 34 percent over the last decade, according to the most recent statistics from the Federal Bureau of Investigation. But the drop in New York has been nearly twice that, and now the number of homicides in the city is hovering at a 40-year low. Over all, serious crime in New York is continuing to drop despite the enormous new burden placed on the Police Department by the fight against terrorism and by skyrocketing unemployment, which many expected to translate into more robberies, burglaries and drug trafficking.

    Some of the credit for the surprisingly good news must go to the crime-fighting advances that occurred during the administration of Rudolph Giuliani. The Compstat system, which requires borough and precinct commanders to explain crime rates and provide detailed strategies for reducing them, proved such a success that it has been copied around the nation.

    But some other cities that use Compstat have not been able to continue pushing down crime, while New York City has, under some of the most daunting circumstances imaginable. Experts admit to being puzzled, but some of the credit must clearly go to the city's current police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, who laid the groundwork for safer streets in an earlier stint in that post, under Mayor David Dinkins in the early 1990's. It was under Mayor Dinkins that the state and city began funneling huge new amounts of resources to a Police Department that had never really recovered from the lean years after the budget crisis of the 1970's.

    Mr. Kelly argues convincingly that a great part of the secret is the determination of Michael Bloomberg's administration to continue giving the department the money it needs despite budget problems. His department has also been smart in moving the Police Department even further in a data-driven strategy that focuses resources on new criminal outbreaks before they become epidemics.

    Mr. Bloomberg has taken enormous political heat for his conviction that tax increases were preferable to making drastic cuts in critical city services. The unexpectedly happy news on crime rates suggests that the mayor was right.


    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

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    December 16, 2003

    New York, for Second Year, Is Nation's Safest Big City

    By SHAILA K. DEWAN

    For the second year running, New York is "the undisputed safest large city in the nation," Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said happily yesterday at a news conference where he and his police commissioner released federal figures showing that the city has continued to push crime down more aggressively than most major cities.

    New York has the lowest overall crime rate among cities with more than one million people, according to their presentation of the preliminary Uniform Crime Report compiled by the Federal Bureau of Investigation for the first half of the year.

    Crime dropped 7.4 percent in New York City, the statistics show, compared with 3.1 percent in the nation as a whole, and 4.4 percent in cities with a population greater than a million. The murder rate was up slightly in New York, as it was nationwide, but the city's rate was still far below its peak in 1990.

    The city's crime index, a figure adjusted for population, is on par with much smaller cities, like Ann Arbor, Mich., and ranks 194th out of 200 cities with more than 100,000 residents, making it one of the safest.

    The mayor asserted that the recent resurgence in the economy and tourism was a result of the falling crime rates. "Our outstanding success in fighting crime over the last two years is the biggest reason why the Big Apple is coming back," Mr. Bloomberg said.

    He listed Police Department programs that responded to petty crimes and noise, as well as antigun initiatives and several programs that use courts and city agencies to focus on certain crimes and repeat offenders.

    The police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, stressed that the department had reined in offenses with 4,000 fewer officers than it had three years ago, and with 1,000 of the current 36,000 officers assigned to counterterrorism. He cited programs like Operation Impact, which floods small problem areas with patrol and anticrime officers. "Index crimes in Operation Impact zones are down 33 percent," he said, referring to the index of major crimes that includes murder, rape and grand larceny.

    But Mr. Kelly added, "That reduction has not come without a price." He and the mayor spoke of Rodney J. Andrews and James Nemorin, two detectives shot to death during an undercover drug operation in March, and five other officers shot in the line of duty this year.

    For the mayor, the continuing decline in crime will almost certainly be a major part of his platform as he runs for re-election. In public appearances at churches and neighborhood groups, he rarely fails to mention the statistics in his speeches.

    George Arzt, a Democratic political consultant and former press secretary to Mayor Edward I. Koch, said that even though the numbers have been going down since about 1990, the crime rate was still important to voters.

    "People do care, especially people with memories of city streets in the 70's and 80's," Mr. Artz said. "And I think that we all feel a great deal of comfort in this uncertain world when we see crime rates going down."

    Most of the decrease in New York came from a drop in property crimes — violent crime dropped only 3.3 percent. From January through the end of last week, murders were up slightly, 2.3 percent, compared with the same period last year. That corresponded to a national trend in the first half of the year: murder, alone among violent crimes, was up 1.1 percent, according to the F.B.I. report.

    Still, city officials expect the number of murders to be under 600 for the second year in a row. At one time, members of the department say, just getting the number below 1,000 had the same psychological significance, and air of impossibility, as the Dow Jones Industrial Average's breaking 10,000 did before the Internet boom.

    As if to pre-empt any questions that might arise about the murder rate, the news conference was held in the station house of the 44th Precinct in the Bronx, a borough where, the mayor said, murders had decreased 20 percent this year.

    Other violent-crime categories stayed virtually flat as well. The number of rapes in New York for the first six months of this year, 758, was only 4 fewer than in the same period last year. Through last week, incidents of rape were down 1.4 percent. Nationwide, violent crimes decreased at a greater rate than property crimes did.

    Gov. George E. Pataki also released statewide figures yesterday showing that in New York State crime had gone down 5.5 percent.

    Nationally, according to the F.B.I. numbers, one more category of crime proved resistant to the overall downward trend — car thefts went up a smidgen, 0.9 percent. In New York City, however, car thefts were down 12.5 percent through last week.

    Criminologists view murder and auto theft rates as bellwether statistics, because they are generally the most accurate. There is little discretion in how to classify them, and people are more likely to report an auto theft than other property crimes.



    Copyright 2003 The New York Times Company

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