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Brooklyn DA: Borough will set personal record low with less than 100 murders in 2018

December 27, 2018 By Rob Abruzzese, Legal Editor Brooklyn Daily Eagle
Eric Gonzalez. Eagle file photo by Rob Abruzzese
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In a borough with more than 2.6 million residents, Brooklyn is about to set a new personal record with less than 100 murders in 2018.

District Attorney Eric Gonzalez made the announcement on Thursday. He pointed out that this is not the only low crime-related number of 2018: the number of misdemeanor defendants held in Rikers on bail has declined over 43 percent compared to 2017, and marijuana possession offenses have been cut approximately 98 percent.

Gonzalez also touted the 10 percent decrease prosecutions of low-level possession of a controlled substance cases and said there were 150 people who had their cases dismissed without even appearing in court through the Brooklyn CLEAR diversion program.

“In Brooklyn, we are leading the way in implementing initiatives that strengthen trust in the criminal justice system while keeping communities safe,” Gonzalez said. “Working with the NYPD, we are continuing to see declines in most crimes, with another historic low in homicides. And we are showing our commitment to enhancing fairness and equity by reducing reliance on incarceration and offering more opportunities for diversion.”

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With just one weekend left in the year, Brooklyn has seen 97 murders in 2018, which will likely break the 2017 record low of 110. Record keeping by the NYPD began in the 1970s.

The biggest drops in the murder rate happened in the area of Coney Island’s 60th Precinct, where there were no murders — compared to eight in 2017. The 67th precinct in East Flatbush also saw a decrease from 17 to six, and the number of murders in the 75th Precinct in East New York dropped from 11 to six.

Not all of the news was good news, though. After experiencing a record-low number of shootings and shooting victims in 2017 in Brooklyn, both of those numbers increased, to 308 and 366, respectively. Both numbers are still lower than reported in 2016.

Overall, there has been approximately a 1.9 percent drop in the seven major crime categories in 2018, with the biggest reductions being robberies (down 8.2 percent), burglaries (down 4.1 percent), and grand theft auto (down 11.3 percent). Reported rapes in the borough increased by 15.9 percent.

Total arrests in Brooklyn have fallen by 14.6 percent compared to 2017.

Gonzalez also said that because of his new bail policy implemented in April 2017, detentions on Rikers Island on misdemeanor cases have also continued to trend downward. The number has dropped 43.3 percent compared to the year before and is down nearly 58 percent overall since April 2017.

Gonzalez praised some of his new initiatives implemented under the Justice 2020 program as reasons behind the drop in arrests and Rikers Island detentions, such as his refusal to prosecute most marijuana possession cases. He said that in the early part of 2019 he will release his entire Justice 2020 plan with even more reform initiatives.

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