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Thread: Crime in New York City

  1. #16
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    NY Daily News:

    Murders still in check

    City total near 600 on final day of '03

    By GREG GITTRICH
    DAILY NEWS POLICE BUREAU


    As the new year approached last night, the number of murders in 2003 remained slightly below 600 - the new standard for safety in the city.

    A flurry of homicides - 10 in just three days - pushed the murder count to 595 by late last night.

    The 2002 figure was 587, a total not seen since the early 1960s.

    "They've had a couple of bad days," Thomas Reppetto, head of the Citizens Crime Commission, said of the NYPD.

    But he said the numbers show the murder rate has stabilized well below the record 2,245 homicides in 1990.

    "We've been able to get murder down from the 2,000 level ... to a thousand, to 700, to now the 600 level," he said. "That's an accomplishment."

    Mayor Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly have credited city cops with keeping the city safe - even as the NYPD's ranks have decreased by 4,000 since 1999.

    Yesterday, the medical examiner's office officially classified the deaths of Maria Cruz, 20, and her mother, Brenda Cassanova, 41, as homicides.

    Cruz and Cassanova both died Tuesday morning from smoke inhalation during a Bronx arson fire that gutted a three-story building on Glover St.

    A 2-year-old boy and a 17-year-old boy injured in the fire were still in critical condition yesterday, police said.

    The latest NYPD crime statistics, released earlier this week, show New York is in no danger of losing its title as the nation's safest big city.

    Compared to 2002, the number of rapes was down 3.1%, assaults dipped 9.5%, burglaries fell 1.5% and robberies dropped 4.5%. Grand larceny was the only major crime that increased, inching up 1.5%.

    In the past decade, murder has fallen by about 69%, and Reppetto said the NYPD's ability to keep the 2003 homicide tally around 600 indicates that the crime drop has not bottomed out.

    He offered high hopes for the future.

    "In the 1940s and 1950s, when 8 million people were living in the city like now, it was around 300," he said. "If we did it once with the same-size population, I think that's what we should be aiming for again."

    Originally published on January 1, 2004
    © Copyright the New York Daily News, 2004

  2. #17

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    January 2, 2004

    Homicides Up Slightly in New York City in '03

    By IAN URBINA

    New York City ended the year with a few more homicides than in 2002 — but with fewer than 600, a number seen by police and city officials as a benchmark of a less violent era. The last time a year's total dropped below that number was 1963.

    The final tally for 2003 was 596 homicides, up from 587 in 2002, according to official statistics released yesterday. But police officials pointed out that those numbers could change as pending investigations were closed.

    In the decades since 1963, the murder rate in New York City climbed dramatically and steadily, driven in the end by the crack cocaine epidemic and hitting more than 2,000 in the early 1990's. The 600 figure is therefore viewed as psychologically and symbolically important.

    Even after huge drops in the mid- and late 1990's, the overall crime rate has continued to drop under Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and his police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, who was also commissioner as crime began to slide off its highs in 1992.

    The figure seemed in peril early in the week, with seven homicides occurring on Monday and Tuesday. But on Wednesday, New Year's Eve, the only reported homicide was a statistical addition to police numbers from a shooting that took place in 1991, the police said.

    There were also remarkably few incidents during the celebration in Times Square on Wednesday night and yesterday morning. The police said that they made no arrests, and that almost all of the 105 summonses issued around Times Square went to people with open containers of alcohol. No summonses were issued for disorderly conduct, the police said.

    Officially, the last homicide of 2003 was the death of Jose Rivera, who was shot when he was 16, in 1991, and remained in a coma until he died last July, police officials said. The medical examiner's office classified the death this week as a homicide, which the Police Department did not enter into its records until Wednesday. Two men were arrested soon after the crime, the police said yesterday.

    Record-keeping aside, the actual last homicide of the year occurred on Tuesday, when Ricardo Chavis, 21, who lived in the Edenwald housing project in the Bronx, was murdered, the police said. Mr. Chavis was shot after an argument with a man who fled the scene, the police said.

    As New York officials announced the city's final number, their counterparts around the nation engaged in the same grim New Year's Day tradition. Chicago, with 599 killings, registered its fewest murders in 36 years — and 49 fewer than in 2002. But that still left the nation's third-largest city with the largest number of killings in 2003.

    Los Angeles, which had the most murders in 2002 — 658 — ended up with a total estimated at lower than 500, according to The Associated Press. The Los Angeles police commissioner, William J. Bratton, was New York City's commissioner in the mid-1990's.

    Washington registered a small drop in the number of killings — 247 from 262 in 2002 — while Baltimore saw its first increase since 1998, to 271 from 253, according to The Associated Press.

    With the slate wiped clean by the dropping of the ball, New York City recorded its first killing of 2004 less than an hour into the new year. Two more quickly followed.

    While sitting on the stoop with friends outside his family's house in Canarsie, Brooklyn, Tralane Walker, 25, was shot in the head by a man who neighbors said began firing indiscriminately from across the street. Police officials said that they were looking into questioning a suspect from the neighborhood, but that it was not clear whether the attacker knew his victim.

    Mr. Walker, a nurse's aide in an Endicott, N.Y., home for the aged, had arrived in the city on Wednesday afternoon to spend New Year's Eve with his family, said his mother, Geraldine Taylor, 51. As was his tradition, Mr. Walker joined other relatives at an evening service in the First Baptist Church of Crown Heights.

    After returning to the family's home on East 96th Street just before 1 a.m., Mr. Walker walked across the street to exchange New Year's greetings with a friend, witnesses said. Several minutes later, a man who showed up in the block to settle what Mr. Walkers' relatives' called a feud with another man started firing a gun.

    "Tralane never knew what hit him," Ms. Taylor said, "He died with his hands still in his pockets."

    The family had been planning a birthday party on Sunday for Mr. Walker's daughter, Kiarra, who will turn 4. "Now we have to also arrange a funeral instead," Ms. Taylor said.

    Several hours later, the police discovered the body of Elliott Velasquez, 20, in his apartment on Ryer Avenue in the Bronx. He had been shot to death, the police said. They added that they had no suspects in the case but that the shooting seemed to have been the result of an argument over a girlfriend.

    At 8 a.m., the body of George Rigos, 70, who had been fatally stabbed, was found by his son in his Queens Village apartment. Police officials said that there were no suspects as yet in the case.

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg seemed relieved that the city had fewer than 600 killings last year. But he was also quick to lament the incidents that occurred just after midnight. "New Year's Eve is unfortunately one of those evenings where, for some reason or another, some people get a little bit crazy," he said. "Two is two too many, but it's a lot less than it used to be on New Year's Eve."


    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  3. #18

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    January 3, 2004

    Thieves Use Pens, Not Guns, as Bank Robbery Soars in City

    By SABRINA TAVERNISE

    Bank robberies in New York City soared by 64 percent last year over 2002, driven by an increase in unarmed robberies, the police said yesterday.

    There were 408 bank robberies in 2003, an average of more than one a day, the police said. The vast majority of those — 342 — were carried out without the use of a weapon, the police said.

    The police gave few details on the reasons for the increase. Michael O'Looney, the Police Department spokesman, said the banking industry had not taken enough steps to combat the robberies, including installing closed-circuit television systems and bullet-resistant barriers to protect bank employees. Unarmed bank robberies are often carried out by robbers passing demands for cash to tellers on pieces of paper.

    Typical of the pattern, on Dec. 16, a man passed a note demanding cash to a teller at a branch of the Valley National Bank in Midtown Manhattan. The man fled without getting any money.

    "Over all, the banking industry has not done enough to address the problem," Mr. O'Looney said. "We plan to put an even greater focus on which banks are cooperating with our best practices and those that are not. We expect better results in 2004."

    The increase in bank robberies this year contrasts with the city's dropping crime rate. Robberies of all types were down last year by 4.5 percent compared with 2002 and by 69 percent compared with 1993. The murder rate, now hovering below 600 per year, is less than half the rate in the early 1990's.

    National figures, available only for 2002, showed that the rate of serious crime remained unchanged in that year from 2001, according to a report issued by the F.B.I. in October. The national robbery rate for that year dropped by 1.8 percent from 2001.

    An analysis of bank robberies in 2001 showed a national increase of 18 percent from 2000, the report found.

    In New York City, the police have stepped up efforts to combat the problem. Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly has sponsored a City Council bill to require banks to set up barriers of bullet-proof glass to protect tellers. Some banks have resisted, saying they do little to thwart robbers.

    Nationwide, the average amount of money taken in a bank robbery is less than $5,000, according to the F.B.I. report.


    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company


    Small-Time Crooks

  4. #19
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    Small setback in murders notwithstanding, here's to hoping that in ten years overall crime will drop another seventy percent.

  5. #20

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    NYPD TECH WRECK

    By BRAD HAMILTON

    January 4, 2004 -- While investigating the stabbing murder of a cigarette vendor in downtown Brooklyn six weeks ago, cops hit a sudden roadblock: Their computer crashed.

    Detectives at the 84th Precinct wanted to track down a suspect, but when they went to look up his information on their computer, the system went dead - for three days.

    "We couldn't do one thing the whole weekend," said a cop familiar with the case. We're still looking for the guy."

    The machine - made by CSS, a discount computer firm in Cranford, N.J. - is about a decade old, cops said.

    "It's been in and out of the shop 12 times," said one cop of the unit, which can be used to call up rap sheets and other information about suspects.

    "It's so slow that after I log in, I go make a pot of coffee because it takes that long. There's a bunch of them piled up in the basement with a sign, 'Stock to be destroyed.' "

    It is just one example of how outdated computers are hurting the NYPD's crime-fighting efforts.

    Among the problems:

    * There are generally no more than a handful of computers at each precinct, which range in size from about 100 to more than 400 cops.

    * Most cops don't have the passwords to log in to the department's systems - so they rely on a select few officers to log in.

    * Few cops receive any training on using the department's computers or searching archives on them.

    * Criminal records and other data are still kept in four separate databases - all of which cops must search whenever they're investigating a suspect, though doing so can take up to four hours.

    * Different precincts have different types of computers and different programs - and there's no overall central system for the department.

    * Only top cops have their own computers, and they're the only ones in the stationhouse who are officially allowed to have Internet access.

    Cops told The Post of a patchwork system that barely functions and lacks many basic advances used by average New Yorkers.

    They say officers battle over computer access because there just aren't enough machines to go around.

    When they do get on, calling up the information they need can be a long, slow headache.

    "A lot of the times you can't even sign in because there's only one server for the entire precinct," said one detective.

    Obtaining even the most basic police record - the rap sheet - is no easy task.

    A suspect's fingerprints must be faxed to Albany to be researched by the state.

    The department could do better if it had more programmers to crunch data and troubleshoot, insiders said.

    The bulk of the work is done by hobbyists - regular cops who happen to be computer-savvy. But the programs they develop are often limited to the needs of their individual precinct.

    Ironically, computers and other technologies are first-rate at the top of the NYPD. The Compstat system for analyzing crime data has been hailed widely as a key to historic reductions in crime.

    Copyright 2003 NYP Holdings, Inc.

  6. #21

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    January 13, 2004

    Police Widen Plan to Flood Crime Areas

    By WILLIAM K. RASHBAUM and MICHAEL COOPER

    The Police Department is expanding a year-old anticrime initiative that narrowly focuses officers on neighborhoods, subway stations and housing projects with nagging crime problems, the mayor and the police commissioner announced yesterday.

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly have often credited the initiative, Operation Impact, with helping to reduce violent crime around the city, and yesterday they said it decreased crime 33 percent last year in the areas where it operated.

    The expanded initiative will funnel more than 1,000 rookie police officers and about 700 officers who worked on it last year into 52 new impact zones, officials said. The areas include 26 subway stations in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Manhattan, parts of 22 precincts around the city and 9 housing developments in Brooklyn and the Bronx. The planned expansion was first reported in The New York Post on Sunday.

    Some of the zones are as small as a subway station or, in one case, a stretch of Church Avenue in East Flatbush that is several blocks long. Others encompass sprawling housing developments or swaths of precincts, like the 47th in the Eastchester section of the Bronx. They include crime-prone areas, like East New York in Brooklyn, which has two zones, and the Upper East Side of Manhattan, where a zone stretches from East 83rd Street to East 89th Street, from Lexington to Second Avenues, officials said.

    Mayor Bloomberg, who along with Mr. Kelly announced the expansion at a news conference at the 104th Precinct in Ridgewood, Queens, one of four precincts to have new impact zones added this year, said the department would funnel new officers to the zones twice a year, as they graduated from the Police Academy.

    "We keep changing our strategy as the needs in this city change," Mr. Bloomberg said. He added that the Police Department did sophisticated analysis to identify and select the zones and then flooded them with the new officers along with veterans and supervisors from gang and narcotics units.

    "Going where the bad guys are is the right thing to do,'' Mr. Bloomberg said. "Just spreading your resources throughout the entire city wastes them and doesn't give you enough to focus on addressing the real problems."

    Commissioner Kelly said that the department carefully monitored activity in the areas around the zones on a daily basis. "The secret is to be agile, to be flexible," he said. Asked whether the intense focus on the zones pushed crime to other areas, Mr. Kelly said, "It's something that we constantly have to be concerned about," adding, "We look at displacement all the time."

    Last year, the Police Department coordinated the initiative with the city's five district attorneys and it resulted in more than 32,000 arrests and nearly 376,000 summonses in the impact areas, officials said.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  7. #22

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    January 20, 2004

    OP-ED CONTRIBUTOR

    Fighting Crime and Gaining Favor

    By ANDREW WHITE

    After his second inauguration, in early 1998, with crime falling and New York on its way to becoming the safest large city in America, Rudolph W. Giuliani rose to heights of popularity he would not see again until the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks. Meanwhile, the man in charge of the city's vaunted Police Department, Commissioner Howard Safir, was slipping badly in opinion polls.

    A little more than two years later, after notorious incidents of police brutality and the mistaken police shootings of two innocent black men, Amadou Diallo and Patrick Dorismond, Mr. Safir's tenure was over. Just before his resignation in August 2000, a poll found just 11 percent of black voters — and less than a third of all New Yorkers polled — had a favorable opinion of the police commissioner.

    What a difference a new administration makes. Last year polls consistently found Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly to be the city's most popular public official by far, with approval ratings near 70 percent. It is Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg who has settled into a trough of unpopularity, with ratings below 40 percent.

    What explains this change in attitude? Enthusiasm for Mr. Kelly has roots in the public support for uniformed services that followed 9/11, but there's more to it. There has been a significant shift in policing strategy under the Bloomberg administration — even as crime rates have continued to decline. It is this shift, along with Mr. Kelly's political skills, that have improved perceptions of police headquarters, especially in black and Latino communities.

    Several hundred officers are now engaged in antiterrorism efforts, and tight budgets have driven the number of officers down to below 37,000 from a peak of more than 40,000 in 2001. But equally notable is a steady transition away from some of the hardball tactics of the Giuliani era that inflamed neighborhoods in northern Manhattan, central Brooklyn and the Bronx.

    A few years ago, critics asserted that New York's street-level enforcement efforts, particularly the special plainclothes units independent of the precinct commands, harassed innocent citizens. Defenders of the tactics said the stop-and-frisk routines in high-crime neighborhoods were necessary to control guns and drugs.

    Yet some smaller cities, including Boston, San Jose and San Diego, managed to drive crime rates down substantially without generating the depth of anger and distrust seen in New York City. Police commanders worked with religious leaders and community organizations to identify crime spots and develop support in those cities' substantial minority populations. Boston, like New York, developed a comprehensive computer-based crime tracking and precinct accountability system, but also integrated nonstatistical information drawn from local organizations to help commanders better understand the sources of crime.

    Mr. Kelly's department is somewhere between these two models. While full-fledged community policing is a relic in New York, there is a recognition that tough policing does not necessarily depend on the harsh stop-and-frisk tactics typical of the 400-strong plainclothes Street Crime Unit that Mr. Safir vastly expanded in the late 1990's.

    The current administration put most of that unit's detectives back into local precincts. Smaller firearms units, with far fewer officers and detectives, now go after illegal gun dealers. Today, most street-level enforcement is now the responsibility of local precincts and of Operation Impact, a program that suppresses street crime by flooding troubled neighborhoods with uniformed rookie officers and setting up visible, accessible command-post trailers. The program also includes meetings with residents and merchants, and a clear explanation of strategy and tactics.

    Furthermore, after a 66 percent increase in misdemeanor arrests from 1993 to 1998, the level of arrests and pretrial detentions for such minor crimes as turnstile hopping and public drinking has declined. While misdemeanor arrests remain high compared to the early 1990's, they dropped by more than 20 percent in Manhattan between 1998 and 2003, with the largest decline coming during Mr. Kelly's first year in office.

    Mr. Kelly has also been more responsive when the police make mistakes. A 57-year-old woman, Alberta Spruill, died last May of a heart attack after police officers used a concussion grenade during a "no knock" raid on her Harlem apartment. Mr. Kelly quickly went into the community and apologized for his officers' reliance on inaccurate information from an informant. He transferred or reassigned several officers responsible for the policy and the assault. The department temporarily ended the use of stun grenades and drastically reduced the number of no-knock searches.

    Of course, the Police Department remains a paramilitary organization. It is not always adept at responding to criticism. And Mr. Kelly has failed to reach beyond religious institutions and the official precinct community councils to include other types of groups — neighborhood associations, tenant groups, youth service organizations — in meaningful discussions.

    Boston's departing commissioner, Paul Evans, was a pioneer in this approach. Such work may seem an inefficient sideline in a city burdened with huge antiterrorism responsibilities, but if Mr. Kelly hopes to retain his newly won reputation, he would do well to follow through on recent efforts by becoming more inclusive in his outreach.

    Even so, crime control remains dependable in New York and policing today in Harlem, Bedford-Stuyvesant and other neighborhoods is no longer generating the harsh reaction so common in the recent past. The credit may not yet have accrued to City Hall, but it has, at least for now, reached the headquarters of an extraordinarily popular police commissioner.

    Andrew White is director of the Center for New York City Affairs at New School University.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  8. #23

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marty
    I hope we are not going through another trend like we did in the early 80’s.
    The Warriors III maybe?

    The gangs of New York are on a killing spree.
    Gang slayings shot up nearly 80% across the city last year, a startling statistic given the Police Department's success in pushing overall murders to historic lows.

    http://www.nydailynews.com/news/crim...p-147596c.html
    New York Daily News - http://www.nydailynews.com

    Bloody gangs of New York

    By GREG GITTRICH
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

    Sunday, February 29th, 2004

    The gangs of New York are on a killing spree.

    Gang slayings shot up nearly 80% across the city last year, a startling statistic given the Police Department's success in pushing overall murders to historic lows.

    Gang-motivated homicides jumped to 52 in 2003 from 29 the year before, according to police records.

    When all slayings committed by gang members - including those unrelated to gang activities - are considered, the violent reach of gangs is inescapable: Nearly one of every six people killed in the city last year was slain by a gang member.

    "For every 10 arrests, there are 20 new gang members coming in," said a former "general" in the Latin Kings. "The cops can't stop gangs. There are too many of them."

    Police downplayed the statistics, noting overall gang-motivated crime was cut by 18%.

    "It's an aberration in an area that is notoriously hard to gauge," said Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne.

    "The [gang-motivated] homicides were isolated, not part of a pattern," said Inspector William Tartaglia, head of the NYPD Gang Division, "and there was nothing we didn't deal with right away."

    Tartaglia pointed to the first weeks of this year as evidence. Through Feb. 8, gang-motivated killings fell by 50% compared with the same period last year.

    Yet the deadly danger posed by gangs has a profound effect on average New Yorkers.

    Teens are pressured to join various gangs. Mexican immigrants are afraid to reveal their hometowns to gang members for fear of getting slashed.

    Places where parents once walked with their children without fear are now off-limits at night.

    When the sun is shining, Eric Covington brings his baby daughter to St. James Park and plays outside near his Bronx home with his 7-year-old son.

    "As soon as the street lights come on, it's time go upstairs," said Covington, 27. "You got these kids on the streets trying to make names for themselves."

    "Bloods, Latin Kings, Ñetas," he said. "The police have been cracking down a lot. But you still have these 13- to 17-year-old kids - sickos - who believe violence gets you status."

    The ranks of the city's gangs stand at just under 15,000, with about a quarter active and not in prison, authorities said.

    Among the most active are the Bloods, the Crips, the Latin Kings, the Ñetas, The Mexican Boys, Los Vagos (The Lazy Ones), Los Traviesos (The Troublemakers), Los Pitufos (The Smurfs) and a gang of Salvadoran nationals called Mara Salvatrucha or MS 13.

    A major challenge in combating gang violence is that it tends to be random because the thugs lack organization.

    Gangs tend to menace other criminals, but their illegal activities also can breed violence beyond their ranks.

    Last June, a Bronx teen who tried to stop his cousin from being initiated into a gang was shot dead by the thugs outside a cafe at 149th St. and Morris Ave.

    The NYPD battles gangs on all fronts.

    Even as homicides jumped, the NYPD achieved double-digit declines in almost every major gang-crime category last year and got 302 guns off the streets.

    The largest increase in murder was in Queens, where Mexican gangs prey on other immigrants and are known to barge into baptisms, weddings and family gatherings.

    To respond to the violence quickly, the Gang Division holds weekly strategy meetings with housing, transit, school and correction cops, and shares intelligence with district attorneys.

    The Queens district attorney's office, which has its own gang unit, organizes an annual conference and regularly puts witnesses into hiding.

    Bronx prosecutors also have created a Gang/Major Case Bureau. In April, the unit busted nine alleged Bloods for selling up to $80,000 in crack a month from the Patterson Houses.

    On the streets, the Gang Division's 280 officers and the NYPD's Operation Impact, which floods rookie cops into areas with persistent crime, have proven successful.

    Less than a year ago, Mexican gangs effectively ruled Linden Park in Corona, Queens. Not any more.

    "It's like a police academy now," Jose Hernandez, 22, said as he took a breather from a game of hoops.

    At Crystal Liquors near the park, the owner, Ruben Peña, said he would almost consider removing the shop's bullet-proof glass.

    "The cops have really helped," said Peña, who credits Councilman Hiram Monserrate (D-Corona) for getting the added police presence. "The problem is they put the police here for a while, but then they remove them and things could get bad again."

  9. #24

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    March 24, 2004

    Union Leaders Allege Fudging of Statistics on City Crime

    By SHAILA K. DEWAN

    The presidents of the main police union and the sergeants union said yesterday that political pressure to keep the crime rate down was leading some precinct commanders to fudge their numbers. They contend that there were more rapes, robberies and other felonies in the city than have been made public.

    They offered little evidence to support their claim, which was made as the city and the union have been battling over wages and the failure to reach a new contract for the force.

    The assertion drew a stinging rebuke from Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, who, at his own news conference later in the day, suggested that in making such charges, the police union leadership was implicitly insulting its own members.

    "You can't have it both ways," he said, beginning his attack before a reporter could quite finish his question. "You can't have a billboard in Times Square claiming you're doing such a great job and therefore need a raise, and then the same guy goes out on the steps of wherever he gave his press conference and claim that the success of the N.Y.P.D. is inflated."

    The mayor continued, "I'm a bigger advocate, a fan, of the members of the P.B.A. than apparently the union leadership is."

    But the union leader he was referring to, Patrick J. Lynch, the president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, was adamant that the police force had done "an outstanding job." He said the problem was that the force, now numbering nearly 37,000, had shrunk by about 4,000 officers since 2000.

    Mr. Lynch defended the record declines in reported crime over the last decade, but could not say when he believed the department's statistics had first become suspect. He and the head of the sergeants union, Ed Mullins, stopped short of accusing senior police officials of condoning fraud.

    "We've reached a point where some local N.Y.P.D. commanders are forced to falsify stats in order to maintain the appearance of a continued reduction in crime," Mr. Lynch said.

    Mr. Lynch said union members from across the department had complained that superiors downgraded crimes from felonies to misdemeanors or refused to count them, but he offered no evidence that such practices were widespread, and the Police Department strongly denied the claim.

    About a half-dozen precinct commanders have been accused of cooking their books since 1994, when the department introduced new accountability measures.

    Paul J. Browne, the department's chief spokesman, said each precinct's crime reports were audited twice a year, and the rate of error had fallen to 1.8 percent in 2003 from 4.4 percent in 2000.

    The union news conference followed a report in Newsday suggesting that a commander of the 50th Precinct in the Bronx had underreported crime, based largely on the fact that the count of some felony crimes had ballooned since the previous commander left.

    Mr. Browne pointed out that under the previous commander, grand larceny, one of the easiest crimes to misreport, had increased while murder and auto theft, two of the most difficult to fudge, had gone down.

    The dispute over crime statistics comes amid increasing tensions between the P.B.A. and the Bloomberg administration.

    The tensions were crystallized by the union's demand in February that Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly resign for saying that that there appeared to be "no justification" for the police shooting of an unarmed teenager the month before.

    The mayor has also angered the police unions by suggesting that their raises will be less than those granted to city teachers.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  10. #25

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    March 26, 2004

    Kelly Reports a Sharp Decrease in Bank Robberies in the City

    By MICHAEL WILSON

    After a sharp increase in the number of bank robberies in New York City in the first half of last year, the number began to decrease because of improved security measures in the banks, Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly told a gathering of state bankers yesterday.

    "While the problem has abated significantly, it is still too early to declare victory. But we are very encouraged by the results so far," Mr. Kelly said, calling for further use of "bandit barriers," dye packs, security guards and conspicuous video cameras as deterrents.

    From Jan. 2 to Tuesday, there were 87 bank robberies in the city, down 31 percent from 126 on the same date last year. In the past year, the police commissioner has repeatedly criticized the banks for failing to take measures to prevent robberies.

    "Based on debriefings of bank robbery suspects, we learned that it had become a commonly held belief inside Rikers Island and on the street that banks had become easier to rob," Mr. Kelly told an audience of about 250 people at the New York Bankers Association's Annual Financial Services Forum at the Waldorf-Astoria. "Everyone from career criminals to vagrants were trying it."

    During last year's cases, most of the robbers - 73 of the 87 - were unarmed.

    Bandit barriers are glass partitions between tellers and customers. They allow a teller to simply walk away from a potential robber, Mr. Kelly said.

    "Where barriers are in place, we have found the banks' use of a walk-away policy to be extremely effective," Mr. Kelly said.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company


    Small-Time Crooks

  11. #26

  12. #27

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

    Subways are safer due to 9/11 tactics

    By PETE DONOHUE
    DAILY NEWS STAFF WRITER

    Tuesday, April 6th, 2004

    Police are on track to beat last year's historic low tally of subway crimes - and cops are crediting part of the ongoing decline to anti-terror efforts.

    Robberies are down more than 12% so far this year, police statistics reveal. "It's quite remarkable," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.

    Crime in all major categories combined is down about 2% from last year, which was the lowest in more than three decades. From January through Sunday night, there were 775 felonies, compared with 789 during the same period last year.

    There were 265 robberies, compared with 302 last year.

    Officials give some credit to tried and true strategies, such as focusing on fare-beaters who might be more prone to commit more serious offenses, Kelly said.

    But anti-terrorism tactics - which include flooding stations with police in surprise surges, and placing more uniformed officers in stations - are likely deterring pickpockets, muggers and other criminals, he said.

    "The officers are really on a mission in the post 9/11 world," Kelly said. "They are focused on keeping the environment as safe as it can be."

    The only increase has come in grand larcenies - usually pickpockets and purse snatchings - which are up about 6%.

    In all, there are about 8.2 felonies a day for a system that carries millions of daily riders.

    "The NYPD, working with our people, have done a miraculous job," Metropolitan Transportation Authority Chairman Peter Kalikow said. "Every month we think the crime statistics can't get any lower, and they keep getting lower."

  13. #28

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    April 8, 2004

    The Shots Not Heard Around the Bronx

    By JENNIFER STEINHAUER and SHERRI DAY

    Ten years ago, at least 30 shots were fired during a single week in the Bronx, killing 12 people. On a single day in that week, 40 minutes apart, two men were shot and killed within a few miles of each other.

    During the same week this year, March 29 to Sunday, not a shot was reported in the Bronx, the police said. The quiet continued until Tuesday.

    Citing that startling statistic, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said yesterday that it was the first time a week had gone by without a single shooting in the borough since 1994, when the Police Department first began using a computerized system to measure crime by precinct.

    "If I'd told you 10 years ago or even five years ago that I could stand here and read these numbers," Mr. Bloomberg said to reporters, "you would have all had smirks on your faces and you'd never write it."

    But just hours after the mayor's news conference, three people were shot and slightly injured in the Kingsbridge section of the Bronx, offering a reminder that further reducing violent crime will remain a tough challenge for this administration.

    Over the last few years, crime in the Bronx has fallen with the rest of the city's statistical rates on murder, robbery and shootings. Murder is down by roughly 11 percent this year citywide and in the Bronx, and has fallen in all parts of the city except for northern Brooklyn, where it has climbed by 22.5 percent. Crime continues to fall in most categories throughout the city, as it has for several years now, distinguishing New York from other large cities.

    For decades, the Bronx has been so synonymous with crime and misery that movies have been dedicated to its neighborhoods. So it is a small but fascinating moment for a city that has spent the last decade clawing and policing its way to among the safest in the nation.

    Otis Vincent, 37, who lives in Harlem and works in construction in the Crotona Park section of the Bronx, remembers when he avoided the parks and other public spaces. "If I had my kids with me, I would be afraid for my kids," Mr. Vincent said. "I noticed that a lot of kids were getting hit by stray bullets. I never used to take them to the park because it was dangerous. Now, they rebuilt the park."

    The borough president, Adolfo Carrión Jr., said the week without gunfire was indicative of the general direction in which the Bronx was moving. "We have had a tremendous level of development in the borough, and income levels are rising,'' he said. "Young families are moving to the Bronx and people are much more involved in their neighborhoods."

    The decrease in crime in the Bronx can be attributed to many factors, experts said, ranging from redevelopment of its most blighted areas, private investment in housing, demographic shifts and improving police tactics. In the South Bronx, for instance, a large increase in privately financed development has led to a tripling of the prices of vacant lots that were once representative of a burned-out, depressed region since 1999.

    "When people come here," Mr. Carrión said, "they are shocked at how neighborhoods that 15 years ago were devastated are completely transformed with families and kids and parks and houses."

    Over the last month in the Bronx, there have been four murders, compared to 13 during the same period in 2003; a nine-day hiatus from gun violence ended when two men were shot and injured on Tuesday, leaving one of them in critical condition.

    The city's police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly, said techniques like Operation Impact, a tactic that pours officers into areas where crime persists, have contributed to the decrease in crime. "I think it is an example of good police work," Commissioner Kelly said in a telephone interview. "I like to also think it shows the success of Operation Impact. Shootings are down 50 percent over last year in our impact zones."

    Mr. Kelly also said that reinvestment along the Grand Concourse and other areas of the borough have helped. "Good things are happening in the Bronx for a variety of reasons," he said. "One of them is the Police Department's focus."

    These days, Rosario Sanchez, who has worked as a carpenter in the South Bronx for 10 years, feels comfortable taking his lunch break in a small park at the corner of Westchester and Hoe Avenues. He said he would never have lounged in the park before.

    "Around this park there were drugs and prostitutes," said Mr. Sanchez, 52. "Now, nothing like that. The police are working with that."

    Still, many borough residents are leery, given the history surrounding their homes.

    "Wait until it gets a little warmer; wait until summertime," said Norfleet Beale, 74, of Bronx River, who was also in the park. He said it was hard to assess crime in the borough "because nobody wants to come out.''

    "I don't want to give your mayor too much credit,'' Mr. Beale said. "Wait until summer, then come back again."

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  14. #29
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    Hurrah for Kelly.

  15. #30

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    New York Newsday
    April 8, 2004

    Shots spoil mayor's moment

    By Nick Sambides Jr.

    Maybe he spoke too soon: Less than 12 hours after Mayor Michael Bloomberg touted the Bronx's nine days without shootings, gunshots rang out in the borough and three men were wounded Wednesday night.

    The men, whose names police did not release, were standing at the corner of West Kingsbridge Road and Webb Avenue shortly after 7 p.m. when they were approached by two men, one with a dog. An argument and shoving match ensued, witnesses said, and one of the two approaching men pulled a gun and started firing.

    One of the victims was shot in the neck; the other two were shot in the leg, police said. The three men were taken to St. Barnabus Hospital where they are in stable condition. None of the injuries is considered life-threatening. Police said they found a silver handgun they believe was used in the crime and have a description of the suspects.

    Earlier in the day, Bloomberg touted the job police have been doing in the Bronx, which by reputation is one of the city's roughest boroughs.

    "We went nine days without one shooting in the Bronx," Bloomberg said during a daily press conference. "Ten years ago in the same week there were 30 [shootings]. Last year, there were five. This year, zero.

    "It is an amazing number," Bloomberg added. He encouraged residents to thank police for their efforts, particularly in the Bronx.

    Wednesday night would have made 10 days without a shooting. The record runs back to 1994, when police began keeping such statistics.

    There has not been a murder in the Bronx since March 12.

    Information from the WB11 was included in this report.

    Copyright 2004 Newsday, Inc.

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