Summer in New York City ended on a high-note thanks to the low number of murders and shootings in August. On Sept. 6, the NYPD released last month’s citywide crime statistics, proudly announcing the number of killings were less than half of August 2021’s count, falling from 59 to 27. 

“Any level of violence in New York City, or anywhere, is unacceptable,” said Chief of Department Kenneth Corey. “We know that New York City is safer today than it was when we implemented our Summer Violence Reduction Plan in May. 

“Throughout these months, the NYPD carried out more of its integral work, often in concert with our law enforcement partners, to develop long-term investigations focused on those few New Yorkers willing to pick up guns and use them.”

Shootings were down by 30.3% last month compared to August 2021. The Bronx, southern Queens and northern Brooklyn saw the largest improvement in decreases in gun violence. According to the NYPD, last month marked the fourth-lowest number of shootings in any August since CompStat was introduced in the mid-90s. 

This news comes as a welcome after July’s crime numbers skyrocketed in almost every category. But there’s still room for improvement. Every other major crime was up compared to August 2021 except rape, which matched last year’s exact count. There were 449 more robberies and 322 more burglaries. 

Some communities are taking matters into their own hands. In Greenwich Village, a block association is paying armed security guards to protect businesses. Burglaries more than doubled this year in the precinct, although the neighborhood is completely untouched by gun violence, according to CompStat. In Ozone Park, a volunteer street patrol organization formed to deter hate crimes received $90,000 in state funding. State Assemblywoman Jenifer Rajkumar handed the Cityline Ozone Park Civilian Patrol the check earlier this week. 

Credited for the decrease in shootings and murders by the NYPD are larger police presences, summer programs…and illegal ATV seizures. When recently asked about how tougher enforcement could lead to mass incarceration for people of color, Mayor Eric Adams doubled down, even arguing a correlation between fare evasion and gun violence during his time as a police officer.

“Quality of life is not a trade off,” he said. “Public safety and justice, they are the prerequisite to our prosperity. We must be safe as a city. What we did in our city in previous years, we eroded the things that allowed us to become one of the safest big cities in America and that’s quality of life.”
Tandy Lau is a Report for America corps member and writes about public safety for the Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps keep him writing stories like this one; please consider making a tax-deductible gift today by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/fcszwj8w

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