War on Crime | December felonies dropped 11.6% as mayor, NYPD see real progress in making NYC safer

Mayor Eric Adams, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, and top NYPD brass looked back Thursday at crime stats from 2022 and reveled in a major December crime decrease.

Police officials revealed that overall crime decreased in December by 11.6% when compared to that same month last year. Major transgressions such as murder also took a staggering hit that month, decreasing by 26.1%. Grand larceny followed suit, dropping by 25.9% while rape fell by 11.5% and burglary dropped by 10.2%. Lastly, robbery trickled down by 8.3%.

The fourth quarter of the year saw index crime decrease by 1.5% compared to last year (32, 159 in 2021 dropped in 2022 to 31, 686), leading the decrease was murder by 16.7%, followed by grand larceny reducing to 8.5% and 0.8% in burglary.

Adams — who won the mayor’s race in 2021 largely on a promise of tackling crime — took a victory lap on Jan. 5 with Sewell over what they believe is a step in the right direction when it comes to curbing crime. 

Mayor Eric Adams. Photo by Dean Moses

While robbery has reduced, the NYPD reports that 20% of robbery arrests have been individuals who are under the age of 18. 

“Every day we’re out in the subway system, we’re walking our streets, we’re engaging with our police officers, and we’re making sure we move towards a city that is, as I always say, requisite to our public safety,” Mayor Eric Adams said. “This agency has continued to put out day in and day out and so we’re gonna continue to do our job.”

While the department saw great success in the later part of the year, overall index crime increased by 22.4%. However, murders decreased by 11.3%, the lowest seen since pre COVID-19 pandemic. The NYPD also underscored that 7, 135 illegal guns were removed from city streets—a 27-year high—which fueled a 2.8% increase in citywide gun arrests. 

Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell. Photo by Dean Moses

“We knew we would not turn this city around on a dime. We did not stumble into these decreases. They were not happenstance, we strategized—planned,” Commissioner Sewell said. “We’ve had highs and lows. But these decreases represent people—fewer victims in a safer city.”

Police officials also discussed several key problem areas they attempted to tackle throughout 2022, naming the Bronx as consisting of 35% of all city shootings in the first quarter of the year. With this in mind, Chief Crime Control Strategies Michael Lipetri said that the NYPD implemented more officers into the borough and cameras to tackle gun violence. Lipetri charged that the department made major gun arrests in the Bronx, citing that 30% of firearm arrests in 2022 came from the Bronx alone — resulting in a significant drop in gun violence in the borough.

“In October there were 13 shooting incidents in the Bronx. That is the best October, the best October that the Bronx has ever had in the CompStat history,” Lipetri said.

Chief Crime Control Strategies Michael Lipetri. Photo by Dean Moses

Police officials also pointed to recidivism and bail reform for various crimes recurring. According to Chief Lipetri, 1,200 criminals cuffed for burglary in 2022, went on to commit another felony within 60 days of their first crime. 

“There’s a small number of New Yorkers that are repeated offenders and our focus is to lean into those areas,” Mayor Adams said. “It’s more than just judicial discretion, it’s a criminal justice system that’s producing a bad product and allowing these people to continue to go on our streets. But let’s be clear. This month alone is about trending, how are we trending? Shootings are down, homicides are down, burglaries are down, robberies are down. This team is trending in the right direction.”

Mayor Eric Adams, Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell and NYPD top brass discussed the end of year crime stats.Photo by Dean Moses