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Transit Crimes Up Amid Drop in Overall Crime Last Month, NYPD Says

By Shaye Weaver | April 4, 2017 10:49am
 Police Commissioner James O'Neill said March's low crime numbers helped make the first quarter of 2017 the safest in recent history.
Police Commissioner James O'Neill said March's low crime numbers helped make the first quarter of 2017 the safest in recent history.
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DNAinfo/Shaye Weaver

NEW YORK CITY — Crime in the transit system has spiked this year due to an uptick in pickpocketing incidents in the subway system, despite a drop in overall crime across the five boroughs, the NYPD said.

March saw a 26.4 percent increase in transit crimes — from 178 incidents to 225 — compared to the same month last year, police officials said at a joint press conference with Mayor Bill de Blasio Monday on Randall's Island. 

"We had a bit of a rocky patch particularly in Brooklyn and The Bronx that were grand larceny — related," said NYPD Deputy Commissioner Dermot Shea.

"There were a couple of individuals who were going around either doing pickpockets or taking property of sleeping passengers and in a very short period. In that two-week period, we saw a bulk in transit crime. One or two individuals can cause a momentary blip or a spike."

Additionally, hate crimes continue to rise, with 144 incidents reported through April 2 compared to just 72 during the same period last year — a 100 percent increase, according to Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce.

The breakdown includes a 123 percent increase in anti-Semitic hate crimes and a 180 percent increase in anti-black hate crimes.

"There's been very little violence," Boyce said of the incidents. "But it continues."

Other crimes the city continued to decrease in March, making the first few months of 2017 the safest quarter in the modern CompStat era — when police first began recording statistics in the 1990s, according to NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill.

In March there were 7,253 overall index crimes reported, a reduction of almost 9 percent from March 2016. 

Murders dropped by 35 percent (from 28 in March 2016 to 18 last month), while there were 48 shootings recorded last month compared to 67 in March 2016 — a decrease of 28 percent, officials said.

Rapes increased by 3 percent (from 101 in March 2016 to 104 last month), and assaults decreased by 5 percent (from 1,611 in March 2016 to 1,528 last month).

Robberies dropped by nearly 18 percent (from 1,168 in March 2016 to 949 last month), and burglaries dropped by 12.5 percent (from 1,036 in March 2016 to 907 last month). There was also a 7 percent drop in grand larcenies (from 3,588 in March 2016 to 3,329 last month).

Every borough saw an decrease in crime last month, Shea noted. 

 "The City is on pace for a record year in lows for shootings and homicides," Mayor de Blasio said in a statement. 

"These trends are due in large part to the NYPD's effective precision and neighborhood policing models that aim to root out violent crime in the small pockets where it still exists and work with the public stop crime before it starts and solve it when it occurs. The continued reduction of violent crime across the five boroughs is nothing short of remarkable, with this past quarter being the safest in the Comp-Stat era."