Last week, the NYPD issued a press release touting the 4.1% reduction in crime in November 2023 compared to November 2022.
But when you look at the numbers year to date, crime is down a statistically insignificant 0.77% this year compared to 2022, but it is a hefty 33.7% higher than it was in 2019, before bail reform and discovery reform trashed our criminal justice system.
While the NYPD notes that, overall, there were 866 fewer crimes in 2023 compared to 2022, there were almost 30,097 more felony crimes and 22,000 more petit larcenies and misdemeanor assaults in 2023 than there were in 2019.
While there were 405 fewer people shot this year than last year, 210 more people were shot in 2023 than in 2019 and 70 more were murdered.
The higher crime rates of 2020, 2021, 2022 and 2023 should not be the new standard by which the NYPD measures success.
New York City felony index crimes went down in 17 of the 20 years between 2000 and 2019. Crime went down every year from 2014 through 2019.
It was only after thousands of “non-violent” career criminals were released from city jails (pre-COVID) in early 2020 that crime began to rise.
By March 15, 2020, crime had risen 20%. It rose further when thousands of the more dangerous city inmates were released because of the COVID virus beginning in mid-March.
As a result of those releases, violent crime in the city began to rise, and by the end of 2020 murder was up 53% and the number of people shot soared 103% over 2019.
It is not being honest with New Yorkers to compare 2023 crime rates to 2022 crime rates.
To show the magnitude of the problem this city faces, the NYPD must start to compare the crime rates of the present to the crime rates of 2019.
The monthly NYPD COMPSTAT report currently compares today’s crime rate with that of two, five and 26 years ago.
Why not replace one of those categories with the 2019 rate, to show how far we have deviated from the lowest crime rate in a generation?
We know that the low 2019 crime rates are achievable — we achieved them just four years ago, when crime was continuing its decline — pre-bail “reform.”
I get it. The NYPD is a giant bureaucracy run by a new Police Commissioner who answers to a politician — the mayor.
Press releases are issued to make the issuing agency and the bosses look good.
But the goal should not be to pride ourselves on stemming the tide of rising crime. It must be to reverse it.
If we fail to do that, we are condemning tens of thousands of additional New Yorkers to be victims of crime every year, compared to where we were in 2019.
The politicians who passed these “reforms” will cite the leveling off of crime as proof that their reforms worked.
But the real story more than 52,000 additional crimes in 2023 than in 2019, caused by the disastrous bail reform and other “justice reforms” that got us here in the first place.
It is time for our legislators to get off their ideological high horses and fix this.
But unless the NYPD and the mayor are honest about these crime statistics, nothing will change — and that is the tragedy.
Jim Quinn was executive district attorney in the Queens DA’s Office, where he served for 42 years.