New York City Keeps Getting Safer as Murders, Robberies Decline

(Bloomberg) -- New York City experienced another record-setting crime reduction in 2018, continuing a more-than two decade decline that has cut the number of homicides to a fraction of the 2,000 that were seen in 1990, Police Commissioner James O’Neill said.

The city recorded its second consecutive year of less than 300 homicides, with 289 last year, down from 292 in 2017. There were fewer than 800 shootings for the second consecutive year, and robberies and burglaries fell to a record low, according to police department statistics. Rapes increased 22 percent, the only crime to see a significant rise. Mayor Bill de Blasio said that was likely because more women felt empowered to report sexual assaults to the police.

O’Neill and de Blasio attributed the continuing success to the department’s emphasis on better relations with minority communities and organized neighborhood-based anti-violence efforts.

“It’s unbelievable to think how far we’ve come,” de Blasio said. “We’re in the new normal now and we intend to go farther.”

The steady drop in crime coincided with record reductions in the city jail population and a rollback in the so-called stop-and-frisk practices of New York police officers, a tactic sharply reduced after civil rights advocates cited data showing it was disproportionately used in minority neighborhoods. There were 94 percent fewer stop-and-frisk street encounters between police and city residents since the practice peaked before de Blasio took office in 2014.

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