Although crime is down in New York City overall, the number of slashings and stabbings in 2016 is up 20 percent compared to the same period of time last year. During a press conference Monday afternoon, Police Commissioner William Bratton said the sharp increase in felony assaults committed this year is thanks to a spike in the number of slashings and stabbings — 899 had occurred by the end of March, DNA Info reports. “Make no mistake about it; stabbings and slashings aren’t going away,” Bratton said. “It’s one of the few crimes that are going up [to a] level that is of concern to us.”
What’s more, although murder overall is down 21 percent, “homicides by cutting instruments” are reportedly up, said Deputy Commissioner Dermot Shea. But Bratton seemed to view these numbers as part of a natural pattern. “I’m confident that over time, [like] just about everything else we focus on around here, they will go down,” he said.
There’s been growing concern over the number of slashings and stabbings in New York, particularly as the incidents gain publicity. Officials have denied any link between the cases — Bratton himself called them an “aberration” — but they’re no closer to stemming the tide of slashings than they are to discovering their origins.
Last month, Mayor de Blasio announced “Operation Cutting Edge,” under which officers will scrutinize slashing and stabbing incidents as closely as they do murders. Police are hoping that including more details about the crimes in police reports will reveal a way to prevent them. “When we see a new problem, we go after it,” de Blasio said at the time. “We’re going to take the same exact approach that has worked year in and year out.”