Violent crime falls in NYC, reversing a months-long trend

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Violent crime in New York City has been trending downwards in recent weeks, marking a reversal of a worrying uptick from previous months. 

Throughout the month of July, the Five Boroughs saw 29 murders and 158 shooting incidents, which were both significantly lower than the same month in 2020, which saw 57 killings and 243 incidents of gun violence — making a decline of 49 percent and 35 percent, respectively. 

If the 29 murders in July 2021 occur every month for a calendar year, that would represent 348 killings — the seventh lowest amount for a year since 1960. 

“The month of July was always one of the toughest months every year,” Mayor de Blasio said at a press conference. “The middle of the summer — tough, tough time. And yet, the NYPD rose to the challenge, fought back gun violence. More to do, but real evidence of fighting it back.”

The positive news comes after the month of June, which also saw a decline in violent crime over the previous year, with 33 murders and 165 shooting incidents — representing a 23.3 percent and 19.5 percent decline from June 2020, respectively. 

“This is now two months in a row, and I take a lot of positive in that,” Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said. “Two months in a row that we’re driving the violence down in New York City.” 

Seeing a reversal of the trend toward greater violent crime provides a much-needed sigh of relief from New Yorkers worried about public safety. 

Last year, many city-dwellers were alarmed at a murder rate that far exceeded the norm of the proceeding decade — as 2020 saw 462 murders in the Five Boroughs, compared with an average of just 362 killings between 2011 and 2020.  

Troublingly, the beginning of 2021 appeared as though it would see a similar rise in murders, as 213 were killed in the first six months of the year. 

The year-and-a-half rise coincided with the city’s mayoral election, which found violent crime to be among the most talked-about issues among both candidates and voters. 

Nearly half of all voters chose “crime or violence” as their main concern in a NY1 public opinion poll from May, which outpaced “affordable housing” at 31 percent and the pandemic at 30 percent.

Ultimately, Brooklyn Borough President Eric Adams, a former police officer, won the Democratic nomination largely by rejecting the “Defund the Police” movement and harping on the need to increase public safety, including by bringing back the NYPD’s controversial Anti-Crime Unit.

“We should not throw out the baby with the bathwater. Having a good Anti-Crime team will continue to take guns off the streets,” Adams told WNYC/Gothamist and THE CITY. “We can do it right, we’ll get it right, and we’ll make sure our city is safe.”

Now, though, violent crime is trending back downward. 

In Brooklyn, 8 people were murdered between July 4 and Aug. 1, compared with 21 during the same timeframe last year, according to NYPD statistics. During that same time, the Police Department recorded 42 shooting incidents, compared with 112 the previous year — marking a 62.5 percent decline. 

“We had real challenges, but we also saw some extraordinary successes by the NYPD, and through the cooperation of the NYPD and community, and through excellent efforts at the grassroots level to stop violence,” de Blasio said.