Overall crime in New York City has increased by more than 35% in the last year, according to the March crime report released by the NYPD. The announcement comes after numerous reports of a crime spree in the MTA, the city’s subway system. The crime wave in New York will surely prove to be one of the most challenging issues Mayor Eric Adams will have to face in his first year in office.
The NYPD data shows that, despite the city experiencing a 15.8% decrease in the murder rate (32 homicides) compared to 2021, overall delinquency has been on a sharp rise in the city. According to the data, felony assault, robberies, grand larceny, and car theft have all suffered a significant increase when compared to March 2021. In total, the city has suffered an astonishing 9,873 reported cases of crime just in March—2,500 more than in March 2021.
Citywide shootings also increased last month, as the city police reported a total of 115 incidents in March, a 16.25% increase when compared to March 2020. The police also announced a record number of gun arrests, as officers detained 410 suspects for gun-related crimes, the highest single-month increase since 2021.
Crime in New York City has not only risen in March, as it has been a constant upward trend since the year began. January had a 38.5% increase in total crime, especially auto theft, while February was the most crime-ridden month of the year as the city suffered a 58.7% increase in total crime from 2021.
The subway is at the center of the ongoing fight against crime in New York City
Transit has been at the forefront of the crime surge in New York City, and Mayor Adams has started a plan to counter the rise of criminal activity in metro stations across the city. According to the NYPD data, there were 108 crimes reported in the transit system in March alone, and the police also reported a 73% increase in transit crimes during last month.
The decaying security situation in the NYC subway system made news in early March as police reported a series of crimes in the underground trains. A stabbing in the NYC metro left four people injured in early March, and just a few days after a 77-year-old woman was also stabbed at a Brooklyn metro station by a man who was being sought due to his involvement in a previous February stabbing. In January, a woman was attacked by a man who launched human feces into her face.
Mayor Adams, who partly ran as a candidate that was willing to implement a tough on crime policy and as a strong opponent of the Defund the Police movement, announced in February a new security plan to crackdown on transit crime. The plan started in full force in late February-early March with the NYPD conducting over 143 arrests, removing 455 people from trains, and issuing 1,553 tickets for violations during the first couple weeks of the program.
However, crime has yet to come under control. Part of the problem, according to declarations of NYPD chief of detectives Robert Boyce to a local news outlet, is that the courts are releasing the suspects the police are arresting for these crimes. In remarks to ABC 7, Boyce said that “We know who they are, we make arrests on them and they come through the system and they are back out. So, something has to give here.”
New York’s criminal system changed in late 2020, when the NY state legislature implemented a profound reform in the state’s bail system, preventing judges to set bails for many nonviolent felonies and misdemeanors, including burglary, some types of assaults, and many drug offenses.
The reform has been a controversial one in the state, with opponents saying it makes it more difficult for police to keep the city safe while supporters say the previous system hurt the poor the most.