Following a rise in crime during the first year of the pandemic that continued into 2021, statistics released by the NYPD on Tuesday showed that violent crime decreased over the summer compared to the same period last year.
According to the new data, violent crime — which includes shootings, murders, rape, robbery, and aggravated assault — declined in June, July, and August, traditionally the highest-crime period of the year. Shootings in August also fell 31 percent compared to the prior August, while murders fell 9 percent. In June and July, murders dropped 23 percent and 49 percent, respectively, compared to the same months in 2020. “I am happy to report we are now three months in the bank where we have really turned the corner in terms of pushing back on that violence,” said NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea at a press conference.
Officials, including Shea and Mayor Bill de Blasio, cited the Safe Summer NYC initiative, which involves community measures and “strategic, precise deployments” of cops focusing on the “100 blocks with the highest rates of gun violence.” As a result of the program, firearm arrests have increased 37 percent this year over 2020. “The good news is New York is turning the corner when it comes to public safety,” de Blasio said Tuesday. “We have a lot more to go.”
Major crimes remain high in New York after historic lows experienced throughout the late 2010s. Following the spike in shootings and homicides amid the pandemic, murders in 2021 are still up 39 percent and shootings are up 96 percent compared to 2019. Hate crimes are also up substantially, with 181 occurring in 2020 compared to 378 this year.