Acting District Attorney
July 6, 2017
COMMUNITY PARTNER IN JUSTICE NOTIFICATION
Crime in Brooklyn Continued to Drop in First Half of 2017,
Outpacing Last Year’s Record Low Numbers
Acting Brooklyn District Attorney Eric Gonzalez today announced that Brooklyn continued to experience major declines in crime during the first half of 2017, outpacing statistics from 2016, which was the safest year since record keeping began. There were double-digit drops in shooting incidents, shooting victims and homicides, as well as decreases in nearly all other crime categories, according to the latest statistics compiled by the New York City Police Department.
The Acting District Attorney said that 50 murders were recorded in Brooklyn so far in 2017. That figure is down 11 murders (18%) compared to this time last year and is on track for the fewest in the borough’s history (there were 128 murders in 2016 and 122 in 2014, the lowest year on record). There were 32 fewer shooting incidents compared to this time last year (a total of 136, down 19.2%) and 48 fewer shooting victims (a total of 155, down 23.7%).
Like in 2016, Brooklyn was the only borough to register declines in all three categories over this time period and the percent decreases outpaced the impressive citywide declines except for homicides, where the citywide drop was 21.6%. [All statistics are as of June 30, 2017, according to CompStat analysis]. It is notable that seven of the 50 murders are reclassified homicides that took place in previous years, meaning the number of murders actually committed during the first half of 2017 in Brooklyn stands at 43 (there were three reclassified homicides in all of 2016).
In addition, the Total Index Crime in Brooklyn (representing the seven major felony crimes) is down 4.5% for the year so far with declines in all categories except for rape (two additional reported incidents or a .9% uptick compared to this time last year).
In the past few years, the Brooklyn District Attorney’s Office has increased its focus on the drivers of crime – individuals responsible for most of the shootings – and has partnered with the NYPD on a number of initiatives to reduce violent crime. Those include the work of the Crime Strategies Unit that keeps track of known gang members and other drivers of violence; long-term investigations by the Violent Criminal Enterprises Bureau, together with the NYPD, to target all criminal activities by gangs and to stop weapons traffickers; creation of the Firearms Prosecution Unit, which operates in the only Expedited Firearms Court in the city with the goal of prosecuting gun possession cases faster and more efficiently in Brooklyn; and other initiatives.
So far in 2017, The Brooklyn DA’s Office established the Public Housing Crime Suppression Unit to help drive down crime in housing developments by using data-driven intelligence and working with resident associations, community members, NYCHA and the NYPD. A Cold Case Unit was also created to investigate unsolved homicides and a DNA expert was hired to assist in this effort and to help in forensic analyses in other cases, including those involving guns and shootings.
Together with the focus on violent crime, the DA’s Office has been implementing numerous criminal justice reforms, including a change in its bail policy under which no bail is requested for nearly all misdemeanors and a new policy to protect non-citizen defendants by considering collateral immigration consequences of convictions with the assistance of two newly-hired immigration attorneys. The Office also previously announced that it will soon launch a program to allow certain drug-dependent defendants to be sent to treatment in lieu of prosecution, an innovative approach that will keep these offenders from ever setting foot in a courtroom and provide them with necessary help.
Acting District Attorney Gonzalez said, “I am very proud that crime has continued to plummet so rapidly in Brooklyn, a trend that shows that the targeted approach employed by the NYPD and my Office in fighting violent crime is working. It is also proof that we can implement criminal justice reforms while still enhancing public safety. We have launched innovative new programs to reduce reliance on bail, to protect immigrants and to divert low-level offenders from incarceration as we continue to drive down violence and improve the quality of life in all parts of Brooklyn.”