April was the safest month in the history of New York City. Murders are down 13 percent compared to this time last year. Last month saw 20 homicides, versus 28 in April 2016. Overall, the city has seen a 5 percent decline in serious crime from last year — and New York had already achieved historically low crime in 2016.
NYPD officials attribute the most dramatic drops to “precision policing,” where cops identify crime patterns and investigate and target the key offenders. Police build strong cases over time with the goal of making meaningful arrests — quality over quantity — that more often lead to prosecution.
And as officials promoted New York as one of the safest big cities in America, they managed to quietly throw shade at the Trump administration. Last month, the Justice Department described New York City as “soft on crime” in a memo warning so-called “sanctuary cities” that they risked losing funding for failing to cooperate with federal immigration authorities. Attorney General Jeff Sessions somewhat walked back those comments, and a judge has halted the executive order that spurred the threat. But the letter burned because New York City has maintained its record-low crime, even as other cities have seen spikes in recent years (and whether that’s related to illegal immigration is a separate debate entirely). Yet, after last month’s stats, New York being “soft on crime” is what the White House might have, at one time, called an alternative fact.