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NYC closes the book on 2019 with a jump in shootings and homicides

NYPD patrol car (Giacomo Barbaro/Flickr)

As the city bids farewell to 2019, the NYPD will say goodbye to the drops in homicides it has proudly sustained for the last two years.

For the first time since 2017 the NYPD will end the year with more than 300 homicides, officials said.

As of Sunday, the city had investigated 315 slayings, 22 more than by this time in 2018, a jump of nearly 8%.

An additional killing — the stabbing of a 31-year-old man in a Brooklyn apartment building lobby — took place on Monday, bringing the city’s murder toll to 316.

There were 289 murders last year and 292 in 2017, lows the city hadn’t seen since the 1950s.

Shootings in the city are up so far this year by 3%, with 772 incidents compared to 749 by this time last year. There were also slight jumps in robberies and assaults.

The city has seen a drop in overall major crime this year, but just barely — police should end the year with a little more than a 1% reduction, or a drop of just over 1,000 crimes.

Striking upticks in homicides took place in northern Manhattan, northern Brooklyn, southern Queens and Staten Island, NYPD statistics show.

The largest jump was in Manhattan North, which saw a 77% increase, from 22 killings last year to 39 this year.

Pat Lynch, the president of the Police Benevolent Association, on Tuesday predicted a troubling year for the NYPD in the year ahead.

“No one is discounting the gains made by our members in lowering murder & crime since the 1990s, but this year’s numbers speak for themselves, and the trend isn’t good,” Lynch tweeted as he posted a New York Daily News editorial about the jump in homicides. “They’re a direct result of 5+ yrs of policies that undermine our work.”

Cops had been bracing for the jump in homicides, which had been predicted since the end of the summer.

In an NYPD press conference earlier this month, Chief of Crime Control Strategies Lori Pollock suggested the surge in murders is a statistical anomaly, noting that 27 deaths that happened in prior years were reclassified as homicides this year. There were only 13 such re-classifications last year, Pollock said. A crime is re-classified if, for instance, a person shot in 2010 dies in 2019.

Mayor de Blasio also made it clear that the jump in homicides will not stand.

“It’s simply not acceptable,” Mayor de Blasio said during a press conference earlier this month. “Let me me clear: Everyone’s doing their job and everyone is digging deeper to get under the skin of this and address it. But we are not going to accept this situation.”

“For much of the year, we actually had fewer homicides than at the same time last year,” de Blasio added. “In the last weeks we’ve had some real challenges and we’re going to address those challenges. And we will turn this situation around.”

In the same press conference, Police Commissioner Dermot Shea said that the city’s violent crimes were being committed by a “small number of people.”

The jump in homicides come amid fears a series of new bail and court procedure reforms could cause crime to spike in 2020 — as the NYPD celebrates its 175th year.

The removal of cash bail for most misdemeanor crimes going into effect Jan. 1 in particular will lead to more crime, many police union heads warn.

“The criminal element in NYC & State have no fear of the criminal justice system,” Ed Mullins, the president of the Sergeant’s Benevolent Association, tweeted Tuesday.

“DeBlasio & other elected officials support . . . criminals,” Mullins wrote. “Cops & working people are now looked upon as the bad people. New Yorkers should brace themselves things are about to get really bad soon!”


© 2019 New York Daily News