Does New York City feel safer?
According to the NYPD, it should. The department said that the month of June was the safest for the city since 1994, as major felonies fell across the board.
NYPD Commissioner William Bratton held a press conference on July 1, in part to trumpet the numbers and in part to reassure New Yorkers that, going into the summer, the department is ready.
The NYPD as announced a summer staff-up program, which involved the participation of over 300 formerly desked members of the NYPD in high-crime precincts. Bratton said the additions were aiming at dealing “with the traditional spike that we anticipate in the summer months.”
Bratton also succeeded in convincing Mayor Bill de Blasio to add up to 1,300 new cops on the street, though the effects of those extra officers are months away.
The citywide dip in crime was evident on the Upper East Side, where CompStat numbers from the 19th Precinct through the first 28 days of June showed that the seven major felonies tracked by the department dropped 9.6% from a year ago. However, those declines were dominated by a 67% drop in felony assaults; other categories, including robbery, burglary, and auto theft, saw an increase in crime in the precinct.
A stranger to an too familiar place, patient service coordinator Rosalia Rodriguez, 54, said, having returned to the city to visit her daughter, “My daughter says that the city is a lot safer than before, and I think so too.” Her daughter now lives in New York City, her mother’s old home, while Rosalia lives in another state.
Other locals, like fashion designer Timothy Milano and Sam Marburger, say the recent crime drop has been almost unapparent. Beating the traffic light at 86th and Lexington Avenue, Milano said, “I don’t feel safer, but I do feel safe.” Similarly, Marburger, while awaiting the arrival of a rather late express bus to Riverdale, said, “Crime in the neighborhood hasn’t seemed to change very much.” A majority of Upper East Siders spoke of a traditional safeness that they’d long associated with the neighborhood, and more often than not mentioned that crime has never been a serious issue for those living in the area.
They were in general supportive of the commissioner’s plan to hire an additional 1,297 cops to act as a reserve force. “The addition of cops could be a good thing not only for the Upper East Side, but for the city in general,” Milano said.
Marburger said likewise, but added that the relationship between New Yorkers and the police could improve significantly if the NYPD invited more transparency and self-accountability.
Rodriguez, playing the tourist this time around in the city, said that “A greater presence of cops could ruin the vibrant atmosphere of New York.” Adding, “You don’t want to see cops everywhere you go.”