The number of murders and rapes in New York City have increased in the first half of 2018, the New York Police Department announced on Tuesday, but the overall crime rate has dropped to record lows.
Murder is up 8.1 percent city-wide so far this year, but the total number of murders, 147, is still the second lowest amount for a six-month period in the modern era, police said.
The Bronx is driving this increase, NYPD Chief of Patrol Terry Monahan said at a Tuesday news conference in the borough, with 58 homicides having occurred there in the first half of 2018 — which is 21 more murders than the same period last year. There have been 29 fatal shootings in the Bronx so far, compared to 17 by this time last year.
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“We see this trend throughout the rest of city as well,” Monahan said, “with 82 murders citywide this year by way of shooting, increase of 20. So our shootings are going down, but the people who have died after they were shot has gone up.”
The other crime in New York City that has increase is rape, which is up 33.2 percent so far in 2018 compared to the first half of last year. The number of reported domestic rapes — historically, Monahan said, the most underreported crime — has increased even more, by 37.4 percent.
This increase is actually encouraging to law enforcement, Monahan said.
“Rape, we’ve always know, has often been an underreported crime — nationally, they say one of the most underreported — and we’ve been pushing people to come out and report it,” he said. “That’s one crime that when it goes up, it’s actually a good thing, because more people are coming forward.”
But it’s not all bad news. Overall crime across the five boroughs is down 1.8 percent compared to the first six months of 2017, and the NYPD also made 11.5 percent fewer arrests over the same time period, for a total of nearly 17,000 fewer arrests so far this year.
The number of robberies, burglaries and grand larceny have all dropped, as have the overall number of shooting incidents, though there have been more fatal shootings, police said, which is tied to the increase in murders.
“We have exceeded historic reductions that we had achieved at this time last year,” Monahan said.
Efforts underway to reduce crime in New York City
Mayor Bill de Blasio commended the overall decrease in crime in New York City, but noted that there’s still more work to do to make this "the safest big city in America."
Part of the effort to increase safety here come through community policing initiatives, and to help connect community members and police officers even further, the mayor announced that the 40th Precinct will get a new station house.
Construction has already begun on the new South Bronx station house, which is set to cost $68 million and to be completed by spring of 2021. The new 42,000 square-foot building will be located at 567 East 149th Street and have a dedicated space for the community to help strengthen “the bond between neighborhood and police,” officials say.
“All the people who live, work and visit here will be able to come in and be part of the police department like nowhere else in the five boroughs,” NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill said at the news conference. “Our message to New Yorkers going forward is ‘These are your station houses.’”