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 has 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 was not evident in lower Manhattan, where CompStat numbers from the 1st Precinct through the first 28 days of June showed that the seven major felonies tracked by the department were up 24.1% from a year ago. Most of that increase was due to a doubling in the number of robberies from a year ago as well as gains in the number of felony assaults.
Chelsea residents had mixed feelings as to whether the drop in overall crime is felt in their neighborhood.
Audio engineer James Foster, walking by Chelsea Piers, said, “I haven’t seen enough change in the neighborhood to say that I feel safer.”
Student Rishman Farid, walking at a pace that only a New Yorker could master, with music streaming from her headphones, said that despite the NYPD’s headline-making success reported in the statistics of CompStat, she still feels unsafe in her neighborhood. Even so, Farid made it clear that she appreciated the efforts made by the police in recent months.
Moreover, for locals like James Foster, 27, and Rishman Farid, 21, the potential of the police commissioner’s decision to add 1,297 reserve cops to the NYPD depends on the willingness of cops to cooperate with the neighborhood and its residents.
“The relationship between the NYPD and New Yorkers must improve in order for crime to continue to decline,” Farid said. She suggested that the police “take up classes in psychology explore other ways that would help them focus on treating New Yorkers as New Yorkers and not potential criminals.”
Farid finished off with a plea to the NYPD. “The police have to understand that it falls on them to persuade the public that more cops are a good thing. We New Yorkers want more friends on the streets, not bullies,” she said. “If we can all come to a common understanding, I think these [1,297] cops could do some real good.”