Mayor DeBlasio held a press conference today at the 67th precinct in East Flatbush Brooklyn to discuss the 2018 year end New York City crime statistics. Marijuana was mentioned more than once. It was a great year for New York City in 2018 as criminal activity was low. Community involvement was cited as one of the major reasons for dramatic drops in city wide incidents of violence and disorder. All 8.6 million of people that live here and the millions more that work and visit here are safer than they have been in past year said the Mayor. 2018 was a truly remarkable year, said the Mayor. There were strong indicators of a safer society. The Mayor acknowledged the joint efforts of the many Federal and State agencies that work everyday to keep New Yorkers safe. There were steep declines in bellweather crimes like burglary, robbery and shootings, he said. All saw dramatic drops. 2018 saw the fewest number of murders in New York City in over 70 years. It saw the lowest number of overall crimes in New York City since the 1950’s. New York city had less than 300 homicides for two years running. An amazing statistic for a city of over 8.6 million people. Murders are down 14% in 2018. Murders are down 87% since 1990.
The Mayor said that New York City is the safest big city in America and it is now trying to be the fairest big city in America. Stop and frisk is down 90 % since 2013. Crime has continued to go down year after year. Overall arrests are down 37% since 2013 and crime is down consistently while at the same time addressing the mass incarceration crises. “You don’t have a mass incarceration crises if people aren’t being unnecessarily arrested”,said the Mayor.
Mayor DeBlasio stated that the New York City’s new marijuana policy has led to a 81% decline in marijuana related arrests. He said that, “these were conscious actions based on strategy and ideas like precision policing and neighborhood policing, which are now fully rolled out in all neighborhoods around the city and which made a huge difference.” He said that the NYPD is now getting information and support from communities that they haven’t seen in generations and that the NYPD is parlaying this information into a safer city for all. He said that no NYPD officers were lost in the line of duty in 2018. Excellent news.
NYPD Chief of Crime Control Strategies Lori Pollock spoke next. She said that going into 2019 New York looks safer than ever. Transit crimes, sex crimes and domestic crimes were all lower. 151 more same year rapes were reported in 2018 than in 2017, a jump not in the number that occured said Chief Pollack, but an increase in the reporting of the crimes that did occur. An NYPD spokesman said that he believed that the increase in the number of reported complaints is due to awareness in the community and the good work of the special victims unit of the NYPD. The New York City Police Commissioner then said that, “New York City sex crime advocates and the NYPD believe that an historic underreporting of these types of crimes is finally being addressed.” He stated that, “the Me Too movement is a large part of it.” Messages being sent to ask people to come forward to report these crimes are finally being heard. “We are living in a new reality”, said the Commissioner. Messages are being sent by the government and the media and advocates, helping victims and survivors to know that they should come forward, that they will be protected and the perpetrators will be found to make sure they don’t hurt someone else.
The NYPD did a top to bottom overhaul of the special victims unit over the past several years. Over 500 people in the NYPD are now dedicated to domestic violence. The NYPD Human Trafficking division has been conducting more interviews which bolsters reports. There are advocates now in every precinct for rape victims and other special victims. It was reported that there was an increase of over 300 walk in reports last year. It is thought that this is due to an increase in the trust the community members have with the Police.
Towards the end of the press conference Mayor DeBlasio was asked if he got any response from Albany about the roadmap for marijuana legalization he outlined at an earlier press conference. Mayor DeBlasio said that, “the roadmap he sent to Albany got good response from legislators.” He states that, “he got agreement on economic empowerment.” Mayor DeBlasio’s stated goal is to avoid to corporatization of the marijuana industry. Mayor DeBlasio stated that he, “wants to do something that has never been done before. He wants to literally exclude corporate America and ensure that this is a small business community based industry where opportunity, first and foremost, goes to communities that were victimized, and individuals who were victimized, right down to people having an opportunity to start businesses and get jobs who served time who never should have served time to begin with.”
The Mayor stated that he believes that there’s a lot of support for that in Albany. He went on to state that he, “thinks there is equally a lot of concern in Albany about getting the health and safety issues right.” Mayor DeBlasio stated that, “we got some very good feedback and that he is hopeful and very excited about the new State Senate and how the new state senate is [hopefully] going to allow the assembly to do a lot of the things they wanted to do previously and were always stymied on.” “This is one where I think I could do something absolutely revolutionary never before done”, Mayor DeBlasio said, and he confirmed that he is excited about that possibility.