Updated: January 5, 2017, 12:07 AM
BY GRAHAM RAYMAN, ROCCO PARASCANDOLA, LARRY MCSHANE
|Dermot Shea, Deputy Commissioner of Operations for the NYPD, spoke about crime patterns and the city’s record-low crime rate for 2016. (HOWARD SIMMONS/NEW YORK DAILY NEWS)|
The NYPD drove serious crime to record lows last year by focusing on very specific wrongdoers: Gang members, career criminals and recidivist robbers.
“We identified the worst individuals across the city,” said Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce as the police released 2016 crime statistics Wednesday.
“We found that the same people carrying guns, the same people witnessing crimes, the same people were committing crimes.”
Boyce specifically cited the targeting of gangs across the city as a major factor, leading to a drop of 21 gang-related homicides and 134 shootings. Those reductions were part of a record NYPD year in crimefighting, with drops in every borough and a citywide increase only in felony assaults.
The number of serious crimes dipped 4%, with fewer than 101,606 major felonies — the lowest number since 1993, when the NYPD instituted its CompStat program to better track and respond to crimes.
Murders were down 5% in 2016 to 335, compared with 352 in 2015. For the first time since reliable records were kept, there were fewer than 1,000 shooting incidents — 998 last year, down 12% compared with the 1,138 in 2015.
Along with the drop in shootings, there were 162 fewer shooting victims. There were 1,182 victims in 2016, down about 12% from 1,344 in 2015.
First-year Police Commissioner James O’Neill and Mayor de Blasio also cited the department’s recent embrace of neighborhood coordination officers who work in local precincts as a factor in the crime reductions.
“Everything we do now is geared at fighting crime and keeping people safe — everything,” O’Neill said. “It’s now much more than answering a traditional 911 call. It’s about a deeper problem-solving. Every one of us shares this responsibility.
“We’ve completely shifted the way we patrol New York. We’ve also restructured how the NYPD is organized.”
|“We are putting patterns together earlier, and then when we do bring those cases to a successful conclusion it has the greatest impact," Shea said. (GETTY IMAGES/ ISTOCKPHOTO/ GETTY IMAGES/ISTOCKPHOTO)|
According to the numbers, 12% of the major crimes committed in the city last year were connected to patterns and repeat offenders — up from less than 6% four years ago.
NYPD Chief of Crime Control Strategies Dermot Shea said the increase was actually a good thing as the department began practicing what’s known was precision policing.
“We are putting patterns together earlier, and then when we do bring those cases to a successful conclusion, it has the greatest impact,” Shea said.
Not everyone was celebrating.
Constance Malcolm, whose son Ramarley Graham, 18, was shot and killed by a city cop in February 2012, said crime statistics fail to reflect the full spectrum of police work.
“Until we see concrete actions to end police abuses and hold officers accountable in a real way ... Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner O’Neill are just advancing rhetoric and a campaign of public relations spin without any substance,” she said.
And police union head Patrick Lynch complained that police salaries aren’t going up as quickly as the crime figures were going down.
“For the past three decades, New York City officers have provided unparalleled police services at a below-market rate,” said Lynch. “Now is the time to pay our police officers like professionals.”