By Emily Ngo
NEW YORK — New York City so far this year has recorded a 10-day stretch with no slayings and a 24-hour period without even a nonfatal shooting, stabbing or slashing — evidence that it's on its way "to becoming an incredibly safe city," NYPD Commissioner William Bratton said Tuesday.
Overall, major crime is down 2 percent compared with this point last year, homicides are down 21 percent and shootings are down 14 percent, Mayor Bill de Blasio said at a City Hall news conference with Bratton.
The numbers stood in rebuttal to criticism aimed during last year's campaign at de Blasio, predicting crime would spike under his leadership.
De Blasio credited Bratton for having "driven down already historically low levels of crime" during his administration's first 10 weeks through a "spirit of collaboration."
"The NYPD has shown that it is able to keep reducing crime while dialing back the tensions that have too long marred the relationship between the police and the community," the mayor said.
Bratton pledged to improve the numbers even more going forward: "The bottom is zero."
Bratton cited the 10-day stretch without murder in February and the day without violent crime, March 5, as firsts since NYPD began keep records, but Deputy Police Commissioner Stephen Davis later Tuesday clarified that Bratton had made "an erroneous reference." Only the 10-day homicide-free statistic is historic, Davis said.
The city has, however, seen a 6 percent increase in felony assaults and an 11 percent hike in auto thefts, the most recent NYPD statistics show.
Bratton acknowledged the cold, snow-filled weather of January and February may have been a factor in keeping overall major crime down during those months — "Jack Frost is a best friend of a police officer," he said — but predicted the trend will continue.
He said his department will "find even better and more humane and more successful ways" to fight crime.
De Blasio's news conference Tuesday served to announce four criminal justice appointments in his administration.
Joseph Ponte will be commissioner of the Department of Correction; Ana Bermúdez will be commissioner of the Department of Probation; Elizabeth Glazer will be director of the Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice; and Vincent Schiraldi will be senior adviser to the criminal justice office.
Copyright 2014 Newsday
McClatchy-Tribune News Service