NYPD says 2018 was safest year on record in New York City

NEW YORK CITY (WABC) -- Despite increases in rapes and subway crime, the NYPD says 2018 was the safest year on record in New York City.

Police Commissioner James O'Neill said the city's 289 murders were the fewest in nearly 70 years. He also reported a drop in burglaries, robberies and shootings, which all saw a dramatic decrease from the previous year.

O'Neill credited officers on the street and community involvement for the promising statistics.

"The skill and dedication of the men and women of the NYPD are keeping New York City the safest big city in America," he said. "With stronger bonds of trust with the community created with neighborhood policing, a singular focus on violent crimes and those who commit them, and ever stronger coordination with our law enforcement partners, we can continue to drive crime down even lower in 2019."

There were 1,245 fewer total incidents in 2018 versus 2017, though rapes were up 22.4 percent with 1,795 reported cases compared to 1,467 in 2017.

The NYPD believes the reason is an increase in reporting due to MeToo movement and other social causes, as opposed to a dramatic increase in actual incidents. Additionally, some of the rapes reports referenced incidents from prior years.

From that perspective, they view the increase number is a positive because it addresses a years-long problem of under-reporting.

Subway crime also jumped 3.8 percent, with 95 additional incidents (2,569 total) compared to 2017. Hate crimes were also up by about 7 percent, the majority of which were anti-Semitic in nature.

Felony assaults and grand larcenies were up less than half of a percentage point, while shootings were down 35 incidents, or 4.4 percent, with 754 reported.

"Our city is yet again the safest big city in America thanks to the work our NYPD officers and community leaders are doing block by block across our five boroughs," Mayor Bill de Blasio said. "Neighborhood policing in New York City has defied the naysayers to become the model for 21st century American law enforcement."

Danielle Leigh also reports on progress made in the 67th Precinct in Brooklyn
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Danielle Leigh reports on a reduction in crime in the 67th Precinct

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