NYPD stats: Crime down, but sharp spike in school weapon confiscation

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- The NYPD on Tuesday touted an overall drop in crime, but not when it comes to schools. New statistics show a sharp increase in crime in New York City schools.

The latest and most serious incident was the deadly stabbing at a high school in the Bronx last week.

It was a shocking crime, one student murdered and another critically injured at the Urban Assembly School for Wildlife Conservation. The weapon was a switchblade that made it into a classroom because there were no metal detectors.

The new statistics showed the number of weapons seized in city schools is up 48 percent, and Mayor Bill de Blasio acknowledged students have, for years, armed themselves in schools.

"What I appreciate about this report is that we're getting more and more of them," he said.

Abel Cedeno, 18, is facing murder and manslaughter charges in the fatal attack that killed 15-year-old Matthew McCree and left 16-year-old Ariane Leboy wounded. Also on Tuesday, Cedeno's lawyer waived the teen's court appearance in part to avoid a courtroom confrontation.

Supporters of Matthew McCree, led by his mother, traveled to Bronx Criminal Court.

"Eventually, he has to show," mom Louna Dennis said. "It doesn't matter, he has to show. I have to see him eventually. And I'm going to be at every court appearance. Justice for Matthew."

The recent violence resulted in metal detectors being installed a PS 67, the building that houses a number of smaller schools. But there are metal detectors in only 6 percent of school buildings, and most weapons seizures are the result of tips.

The NYPD says that means a version of neighborhood policing tailored to educators and students is working.

"Fifty-seven percent, last year, of weapons were recovered in non-scanning schools," said NYPD Assistant Chief Brian Conroy, commanding officer of the NYPD School Safety Division. "Through cooperative working relationships with everybody in the school community."

As far as other crime goes, New York City experienced a record low number of index crimes for September 2017, continuing the overall downward trend of the entire year. There were 15 fewer murders, 30 fewer shooting incidents and 458 fewer index crimes compared with September 2016.

"The NYPD continues to work hard in every neighborhood to reduce crime across New York City," Police Commissioner James O'Neill said. "And while we have achieved significant reductions so far this year, what is more meaningful is the manner in which we are doing it. Neighborhood policing is allowing us to count the residents of our local precincts among our strongest partners, fostering trust and making our City safer on every block."
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