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Brooklyn mirrors citywide trend of declining murders, violent crime

Crime rose after pandemic arrived

August 6, 2021 Raanan Geberer
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For the month of July 2021, the number of murders and shooting incidents citywide in New York City declined compared with July 2020, according to index-crime statistics released by the NYPD on Thursday.  

This trend of declining murders and shooting incidents since the height of the pandemic was mirrored in both NYPD administrative divisions for Brooklyn — Patrol Borough Brooklyn North and Patrol Borough Brooklyn South. 

Also, there was one category of “index crimes” in which Brooklyn beat the trend: Robberies increased in the city as a whole, but they went down in most parts of Brooklyn.

Citywide, murders decreased by 49 percent (29 vs. 57) while shooting incidents decreased by 35 percent (158 vs. 243). The department made 383 gun arrests for the month of July, a 133.5 percent increase compared with last July and a continuation of the 44.5 percent increase in gun arrests through the first seven months of 2021. 

However, overall index crime in the city increased 0.2 percent compared with July 2020, driven by a 13.9 percent increase in Grand Larceny Auto, or car theft  (1,007 vs. 884), and a 8.6 percent increase in robbery (1,247 vs. 1,148). 

For the month of July, the crime of burglary citywide posted a 24 percent reduction (1,030 vs. 1,355) compared to the previous year. The reduction in burglaries may simply be caused by the fact that more people are working from home, making home invasions more of a risk for criminals.

For Brooklyn North in particular, murders decreased year-to-date by 23.4 percent. Like in the city as a whole, car thefts increased 26.8 percent. However, even though they increased citywide, robberies in Brooklyn North decreased 6 percent. Brooklyn North burglaries decreased 27 percent.

For Brooklyn South, murders also decreased, but only by 6.5 percent. Car thefts declined by 8.4 percent year-to-date, a smaller number than Brooklyn North. Robberies decreased 20.5 percent, and burglaries decreased 19.1 percent over last year.

Now, let’s look at a few sample Brooklyn precincts. 

In the 79th Precinct, or Bed-Stuy, murders decreased 20 percent over  last year, car thefts increased 18.5 percent, robberies increased 18.3 percent and burglaries decreased a whopping 51.6 percent.

In the 90th Precinct, or Williamsburg, murders decreased 50 percent over this time last year, car thefts decreased 18 percent, robberies decreased 18 percent and burglaries decreased 44 percent.

In the 78th Precinct, which covers Park Slope, there were no murders, so murder didn’t go up or down. Car thefts increased 9.7 percent, robberies decreased 24 percent, and burglaries, like, murders, stayed flat.

Finally, in the 60th Precinct, or Coney Island, once again, there were so few murders that there was no change from last year. Car thefts increased 9.7 percent year-to-date, robberies decreased 24 percent and unlike most places, burglaries stayed steady with no increase or decrease.

By now, some readers are wondering about the dividing line between Brooklyn North and Brooklyn South. Basically, Brooklyn North is east of the Navy Yard and Vanderbilt Avenue and north of Eastern Parkway. This means that even though Brooklyn Heights, Cobble Hill and Red Hook are geographically in the northern half of the borough, they’re part of Brooklyn South.

Overall, the crime reductions of July deepen those experienced in June and reflect the NYPD’s focus on precision policing to reduce violence across New York City, according to a statement issued by the department. “Detectives in the Gun Violence Suppression Division, and throughout the department, continue to build strong long-term cases against those who carry out violence using firearms. 

“This is demonstrated by the case this week in the Bronx and Manhattan charging eight alleged gang members in connection with stealing from rideshare drivers and shootings, including the wounding of a man shielding his children during a shootout at a car dealership and the critical wounding of a 52-year-old woman who was an unintended bystander,” the NYPD’s statement read.

“When it comes to keeping New Yorkers safe the NYPD remains fully committed to working with our partners, with community members and everyone concerned to continue doing our part to make progress toward driving down crime and violence,” said Police Commissioner Dermot Shea.”

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