New York City and its Police Department were buffeted by conflicting forces in 2020, as a historic low in overall index crime was accompanied by significant upticks in homicides, shootings, burglaries and car thefts. In calendar 2020, overall crime was lower than in 2019, dropping to a new benchmark of 95,552 reported incidents – representing 681 fewer victims than last year and 11,668 fewer victims than in 2014, the first year of Mayor Bill de Blasio’s administration.
At the same time, the NYPD in 2020 confronted a + 97% (1,531 v. 777) increase in shooting incidents and + 44% increase in the number of murders (462 v. 319) amid the challenges of an ongoing international health pandemic that has strained city residents and the police officers sworn to ensure public safety for everyone. Burglaries increased by 42% (15,463 v. 10,909) and car thefts increased by 67% (9.038 v. 5,422). Through it all, the NYPD has worked to mitigate violence as reflected in a 29% increase (4,253 v. 3,299) in annual gun arrests for 2020 compared with 2019 – including 2,057 gun arrests in the last four months of the year.
Unprecedented events of 2020 presented significant challenges for New York City and its police. From a diminished headcount beginning at the onset of COVID-19 to large-scale protests sparked by the murder of George Floyd in May, the NYPD’s resources were stretched further than at any time in recent memory. Yet the NYPD’s work continued. Investigators focused on concentrated areas of violence and used intelligence-based precision to attain justice for victims. The NYPD made an arrest in 32% of shooting incidents and established probable cause to arrest a suspect in an additional 6% of shooting incidents. On murders, NYPD detectives cleared 54% of homicides that occurred within calendar 2020. The clearance rate for this violent crime reflects the NYPD’s deep commitment to public service and will only continue to improve over time as investigations progress.
More broadly, the NYPD in 2020 continued to engage the people who live, work and serve throughout the city in its ongoing effort to ensure public safety that is fair, responsive and considerate to all New Yorkers. Buoyed by the resiliency of New Yorkers and officers throughout 2020, the NYPD’s undertaking to transform New York City policing to be safer and fairer for all concerned will continue in 2021, building on the fundamental changes and the strengthening of bonds between the police and the community that have developed over the last seven years.
“What New York City and our nation experienced in 2020 will resonate for a long, long time,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea. “The NYPD recognizes this as a time for asking and answering difficult questions, for reflection and action and for encouraging and serving New Yorkers. This will determine the way forward for all of us. Together, we will ensure the preservation of our collective public safety while also cultivating a culture that upholds the values and dignity of every New Yorker, in every neighborhood.”
* Reference:NYPD Press Release
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