NYC baffling crime scene 2020: Crime rate saw 'historic low' but shootings spiked by 97% amid Covid-19 and BLM

While crime rate has hit a record low, the NYPD said that there has been a surge in homicides, shootings, car thefts and burglaries


                            NYC baffling crime scene 2020: Crime rate saw 'historic low' but shootings spiked by 97% amid Covid-19 and BLM
(Getty Images)

The year 2020 has been a very torrid one for America’s police forces. In the wake of the brutal death of George Floyd at the hands of cops in Minneapolis in May, protests against the personnel in uniform have only grown stronger. The radical voices have also demanded the defunding and dismantling of police departments in major cities, including New York City while Black Lives Matter activists have continued to target the law-keepers. Amid the controversy and protests around the police, criminal activities have gone up in many cities.

The Big Apple has come up with a strange case as far as the statistics over its criminal activities are concerned. The New York Police Department (NYPD) has said that the crime rate in the city saw an overall "historic low" in the year that just went by even though there has been a surge in homicides, shootings, car thefts and burglaries. 

NYPD said on Wednesday, January 6, that there were 95,552 reported cases in 2020 and 681 victims less compared to that in 2019 and 11,668 less compared to 2014, the first year of Mayor Bill de Blasio in office.

NYPD officers look on as demonstrators denouncing systemic racism and the police killings of African Americans take to the streets in the borough of Manhattan in New York City in June last year. (Getty Images)

 

But while the number of cases and victims were low compared to the previous year, NYC saw a staggering 97 percent rise in shooting incidents and 44 percent rise in murders and 42 percent rise in burglaries. In case of car theft incidents, 2020 saw a 67 percent rise. Also, more than 4,200 people were arrested over gun crimes and that marked a 29 percent rise from 2019 which speaks volume about the city police department’s serious efforts to mitigate violence. More than 2,000 gun arrests were made in the last four months of 2020. 

This will determine the way forward for all of us: NYC top cop

City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea, who tested positive for Covid-19 on Friday, January 8, said in a statement issued by the department on Wednesday: “What New York City and our nation experienced in 2020 will resonate for a long, long time. The NYPD recognizes this as a time for asking and answering difficult questions, for reflection and action and for encouraging and serving New Yorkers.”

NYPD Police Commissioner Dermot Shea (Getty Images)

He added: “This will determine the way forward for all of us. Together, we will ensure the preservation of our collective public safety while also cultivating a culture that upholds the values and dignity of every New Yorker, in every neighborhood.”

The NYPD also said in its statement that despite the difficulties it faced in 2020, it continued to engage people who live, work and serve throughout the city “to ensure public safety that is fair, responsive and considerate to all New Yorkers”. It said the department’s efforts to make its policing safer and fairer for all concerned will continue in the new year as well and it will focus on building on the fundamental changes and strengthening of bonds between the law-keepers and the community that has developed over the last many years. The police in many cities have been accused of not being sympathetic towards the residents, particularly those of color, thanks to a series of incidents in which Black individuals died in police firing. 

The NYPD also said that its resources last year were stretched, thanks to a reduced headcount with the onset of the Covid-19 pandemic and the wide-scale protests that were sparked by Floyd’s death. It's plainclothes anti-crime unit was also disbanded in June last year. Shea said on the occasion that the NYPD was moving more towards high-tech, intelligence-based policing instead of "brute force". 

“Yet the NYPD’s work continued. Investigators focused on concentrated areas of violence and used intelligence-based precision to attain justice for victims. The NYPD made an arrest in 32% of shooting incidents and established probable cause to arrest a suspect in an additional 6% of shooting incidents. On murders, NYPD detectives cleared 54% of homicides that occurred within calendar 2020,” it said.