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Crime and Homelessness on the Rise, Mayor's Report Shows

By Jill Colvin | September 19, 2012 7:28pm

NEW YORK CITY — Felony crimes and police response times spiked, homelessness soared and city classrooms grew increasingly crowded during the last fiscal year, the city’s annual report card showed.

The latest Mayor’s Management Report — which tracks the performance of all of the city's agencies — for fiscal year 2012, which ended in June, detailed how services have suffered across the board.

Major felony crimes, for instance, jumped nearly 4 percent, from 105,500 crimes in fiscal year 2011 to 109,300 in fiscal year 2012, thanks to jumps in robberies, burglaries, felony assaults and grand larcenies.

Average response times to crimes also rose from 8.4 minutes to 9.1 minutes —  a 21 percent jump from 2003, early in the mayor’s first term.

And school safety incidents increased from just over 9,000 incidents in fiscal year 2011 to 9,472 incidents in fiscal year 2012 — a 5 percent bump.

Bloomberg, meanwhile focused on the positive, noting that nearly 60 percent of other services — including clean streets, infant mortality, and tourism — improved or held steady from fiscal year 2011 to fiscal year 2012.

“New York City services and operations have consistently improved over the last 10 years — even through difficult economic cycles that required cost-cutting measures — because of our commitment to finding innovative ways to deliver better services at a lower cost,” Bloomberg said in a statement.

“Our willingness to try new ideas and technologies, and our committed City workforce, have helped us find never-before-seen solutions to old problems and allowed us to overcome fiscal challenges,” he said.

Still, in addition to rising crime, the city has also seen fewer parks deemed to be in “acceptable” condition; class sizes swell in elementary and middle schools; and longer response times to child and abuse reports referred from the state.

The number of homeless people living on city streets and in subway stations spiked 23 percent, from 2,648 in fiscal year 2011 to 3,262 in 2012. So did the number of families with children living in city shelters.

And despite new investments, the city placed fewer unemployed New Yorkers in jobs through its Workforce1 job centers, with 30,900 placements in fiscal year 2012, down from 32,854 in fiscal year 2011. At the same time, the city’s unemployment rate rose from 8.9 to 9.4 percent.

Even the Staten Island Ferry logged more delays — although nearly 90 percent of rides were still on time.

The city's report blame the declines on factors such as funding cutbacks, and celebrated improvements, including the city’s record-low murder and falling automobile fatality rates.