Secondary Navigation

Transcript: Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton Announce 2014 Saw Fewest Murders in Recorded City History; Lowest Murders, Robberies, Buglaries in 10 Years

January 5, 2015

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Good afternoon, everyone. In 2013, we had a debate in this city about the direction we needed to go in. I believe, as so many New Yorkers believed at the time, that what we had to do was build a different kind of approach, build a different kind of connection between our police and our community, so that was the way forward – that that was the right path, the fair path, the safe path for everyone involved.

Well, we're about to go over with you the results of a full year, the year 2014. And you will see the facts, you will see the numbers that make clear that it was possible all along to create a safer city and a fairer city. It was possible to create the kind of cooperation that would reduce crime even when compared to the record previous year that we saw before we came into office. 2014 proves to be the most extraordinary year of all.

I've said to some of you – I'd like to repeat it – when I was preparing to take office, a lot of people in this department – a lot of people who watch these issues closely said to me, with a certain reverence, that it would be nearly impossible to repeat the achievements of 2013, that this NYPD had done such an extraordinary job, it was probably as good as it gets. But you're about to hear from the leaders of this department, you're about to see the charts and the facts that make clear that 2014 was a year of even greater achievement – a record-setting year, an extraordinary year – where this department did things that previously were unimaginable, in terms of bringing down crime. And they did it with ever-fairer approaches, and a greater closeness to our communities.

So much of the credit goes to Commissioner Bratton. I was certain, when I chose him as our commissioner, that he would lead us to places we had never been before – better places – and he has fulfilled that promise so clearly. His leadership, the leadership team he's assembled around him, and most importantly the men and women of the NYPD have done an absolutely extraordinary job, and these numbers speak to it – overall, major crime down 4.6 percent. 2014 compared to 2013, overall crime down 4.6 percent – the lowest number of homicides since the modern policing era began in 1993, since the – what we call the CompStat era – the lowest number of homicides we have ever seen. 2,600 fewer robberies than the year before. This number – there are so many powerful numbers you'll see today, but think about the everyday lives of our people – 2,600 New Yorkers did not experience robbery compared to the – what we had seen the year before. That's an extraordinary impact on people's lives, also setting a record.

And in our transit system, in our subways – outstanding success in our subway system. Major crime down 15 percent – 1-5, 15 percent in 2014 compared to 2013. Only two homicides in our entire subway system for the entire year of 2014.

These are numbers – for those of us who have lived in this city for a long time, these are numbers that were once absolutely unimaginable, and this is a time to appreciate what all the people around me have achieved, and I want to thank them – so many gathered here today, our First Deputy Commissioner Ben Tucker; our Chief of Department Jimmy O'Neill; our Chief of Patrol Carlos Gomez; our Deputy Commissioner for Intelligence and Counterterrorism John Miller; our Deputy Commissioner of Operations Dermot Shea; our Chief of Intelligence Tom Galati; Chief of Detectives Bob Boyce; Chief of Transit Joe Fox; Chief of Housing James Secreto.

This leadership team is one for the ages, and commissioner, I want to congratulate you for really having brought together the best and the brightest.

Now, again, this is not just about numbers. The numbers are so important, but every number indicates a human life or a family, and every number that we show that's made progress means a family or an individual who didn't go through the pain of a crime. This has been progress that has had a deep impact on our neighborhoods all across the five boroughs, and some of these numbers specifically are absolutely outstanding. One example, in our public housing, is Stapleton Houses in Staten Island.

Last year, crime was down over 40 percent – 4-0 – 40 percent, compared to the year before. And that was due, in part, to the over $200 million dollar investment we made in the housing authority, with a focus on security measures like additional lighting that made residents' lives better, but also made the work of our police better and safer. And the human impact in these situations goes beyond just being free from crime. It improves people's lives, their sense of well-being, their sense of freedom. People in so many of our public housing developments have been able to feel their lives getting a little better, able to be outside a little more – have a sense their kids would be safer because of these actions and because of the work of the men and women of the NYPD.

Now, we know this is very difficult work. I've spent the last year all over this city at police precincts and talking to officers who did extraordinary things, giving accolades to those who were such positive examples of the work this department does – talking to every day New Yorkers about what it means to them. People in this city appreciate our police. They appreciate how hard the work is and they see the progress we're making. Yesterday, tens of thousands paid their respects to Detective Liu and his family. And so many people who couldn't be at the funeral, talked to me and so many members of my administration about their feeling for those families, their willingness to do everything they could to help those families, because they understand what a profound sacrifice was made on behalf of the people of this city. People feel a lot for Detective Liu's family. They feel a lot for Detective Ramos' family. And that is a commitment that we will keep for the long-term for those families. This department has a proud history of standing by the families of all those we lose, and the people of this city feel the same way. They feel a deep commitment to the men and women who do this work, and to their families. 35,000 people protect us. As you're going to see in a moment, they do it very, very well.

These two brave men we lost – they contributed to this outstanding progress from last year. They didn't get to see the end of the year, but they were part of that success. They dreamed of doing this work their whole lives. You know their stories. They wanted to wear that uniform. They wanted to serve others. They wanted to work for just the kind of success that we're able to tell you about today. And if you know something about Detective Ramos and Detective Liu, you know they believed in building bridges between the police and the communities. Both were extraordinarily devoted to the communities they came from – devoted to their families, their neighborhoods. They wanted that closeness to deepen, and that's what we're dedicated to. And all this is based on the notion that when you bring police and community closer together, it is not only an act of fairness, it's an act of safety for all. And you can see it in the numbers that will be laid out today. Because as we have driven down crime, we've seen substantial decreases in the stop-and-frisk approach, and substantial decreases in low-level marijuana arrests.

So, a lot of change is happening, and that change is happening while at the same time, the city is becoming safer. Another important fact – 2014 – 11 percent fewer complaints by New York City residents to the Civilian Complaint Review Board – another indicator of the fact that we're going in the right direction. As we begin the new year, we have a lot to do. We've already announced substantial investments of close to $400 million dollars in additional resources – beyond that – that we put in the last city budget, so that we can make the work of our officers more effective and safer. Particularly exciting is the investment in technology – the fact that every patrol car will have tablets, every officer will have a smartphone. The information they need will be at their fingertips instantaneously – something we never could have imagined years ago. But now, whether we are trying to find an everyday criminal, or whether, God forbid, there's a terrorist threat to this city, our officers will have all the facts, all the pictures, all the descriptions – everything they need immediately. And that will make us all safer. That's the kind of investment that we need. And we will deepen – we will deepen our commitment to training. That will become an ongoing part of the work of this department – tactical training – training that will make officers more effective and safer – training that will help them work more closely with the communities they serve.

A lot to be done, but we have momentum. We have momentum in terms of reducing crime. We have momentum in terms of bettering the relationship between police and community, and keeping our officers safe. We're going to build upon that momentum in 2015. This is the world's greatest police department. There's no doubt about it. I've said it many times. I never have any fear or contradiction when I say that statement. It is the world's greatest police department. I've traveled all over the world and people speak reverently about the NYPD. They want to learn from the NYPD. They want to visit this building, talk to its leaders, learn about its technology, its strategies. It's been true for many years. It's been particularly true since this man brought us the CompStat approach and so many other innovations that have been the basis for the constant improvements of safety made over two decades-plus. And it is the world's greatest police department because it is constantly committed to getting better. This is not a department that rests on its laurels. This is a department that believes in innovation, believes in constantly working to build upon on previous successes. I keep saying that records were set this year – this year that just passed – 2014. Records were set that were unimaginable, particularly compared to that extraordinary year of 2013. I believe we're going to set some more records in 2015, because we have the talent, we have the commitment, we have the leadership to do it.

Let me close by saying, that rather than get lost in the daily back and forth by the loudest and most disrespectful voices – those that have been so loud in this debate in recent weeks – let's talk about where we need to go as a city. Let's talk about a positive vision. Let's talk about what the people of this city want us to do together.

And I'll tell you, this is the vision I think we will see play out in the near future in New York City. I see a New York where our streets will be even safer. I see a New York where citizens and police officers are partners in the endeavor of making us safer – respectful partners working together for the betterment of our neighborhoods.

I believe that positive vision will win the day. I believe it's what the people are demanding of us. The people want us all to come together. The people believe that we can do better. And that positive vision will prevail over the negative visions, where the loudest voices of disunity and discord dominate the news cycle. We will be as good as the people we serve. We're going to find a way forward together – that I'm convinced of.

With that, let me just say a couple of words in Spanish before I turn to Commissioner Bratton and Deputy Commissioner Shea.

[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]

With that, I want to introduce someone who has a lot to be proud of today, and it builds upon an extraordinary record of decades of achievement, and a lot more to come in terms of both making this city safe, and bringing police and community closer and closer together – our Commissioner Bill Bratton.

NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton: Good afternoon. The mayor has already introduced the leadership team that's on either side of me. A number of them will speak during the course of the press conference, relative to crime statistics that we're reporting to you – crime statistics for 2014. First off, let me thank the mayor for the support and the leadership that he has given this past year – support that has been extraordinary. As he has already referenced, over $400 million dollars in additional funds over and above the budget that we began the year with – funds that the manifestation of their benefit will be felt this year – 2015.

2015 will be one of the most significant years in the history of this organization. It will be the year of technology, in which we literally will give to every member of this department – technology that would've been unheard of even a few years ago. And technology that is going to significantly improve our ability to, not only fight traditional crime, but also help in so many other ways to work with the citizens, residents, and visitors to this city. It will also continue to keep this city safe against terrorism. So that while today's focus is on the more traditional crime, that we should also keep in mind that in 2014, the city was once again kept very safe against terrorism. We had the lone wolf attack on our four officers that resulted in a significant injury to one of those officers. But other than that, this is once again, another year – repeating every year since the events of 9/11, where the other priority of the department has remained a priority.

So, as we go forward into 2015, the results of the efforts of the 50,000 members of this department over the past year – 2014 – that we're going to report to you in a moment. I want to thank the men and women of this department – I certainty want to thank the leadership team here, that gets to work with them every day – for their efforts. Those efforts have resulted in this city being even safer than it was in the years before, and we are very confident, that moving forward into 2015, we will be able to keep crime rates in this city as low as they've ever been. And we'll work very hard to make it be even lower.

I first came to New York City in 1990 as chief of the transit police. At that time, the population of the city was 7.4 million people. The subway system at that time was handling about 3.5 million riders a day and losing ridership because of the deplorable conditions in the subway. In that year, there were 22 murders in the subway. On average, I was looking, every morning, at over 50 major crimes committed in the subway system. Polling residents of the city at that time – many of them fell that more than half of the reported crime in the city was occurring in the subways. The conditions looked so bad. Today, on average, 5.5 to 6 million people ride that system every day. And on average, we're experiencing about six crimes a day. You have a one in one million chance of being the victim of a serious crime on the subways of New York. It's truly one of the safest in this country. It's a reflection of the city as a whole.

Back in 1990, with 7.4 million resident of this city, you had about a one in 15 chance of being the victim of a serious Part one – the seven Part one crimes that we're going to speak to today – one in 15. Today, the crime numbers that we will report to you – it's about one in 84, in a city that now has 8.4 million people living in it – dramatic, dramatic crime decline – crime declines that have now continued for 21 years, uninterrupted. And we're confident that as we move into 2015, they will continue uninterrupted as we go forward.

So, mayor, the commitment and the infusion of resources that you've given to this department – we're making great use of them. Next year, we will also significantly enhance the capabilities of our helicopter fleet with the arrival of an almost all-new helicopter fleet. We are significantly expanding the capabilities of our harbor patrol. The vehicle fleet of the department will be enhanced with significantly enhanced vehicles. And as you've already talked about, the technology that we use will be increased significantly throughout the department. So the tools and the resources are there.

And the other area is training. We have made a great deal of noise around the issue of training. It's importance and the commitment of the mayor to support significant increases in the ability of us to work with our officers to enhance the skills that they're going to need to continue to police this city.

What I would like to do with you now is to speak about 2014. I'm going to ask Deputy Commissioner Dermot Shea to walk you through a slide projection that will speak to why we're feeling so proud of the accomplishments of the 50,000 men and women that we get to work with and get to lead. They have had a great year. The residents of this city have had a great year, as it relates to the issue of crime and disorder in this city. And we've accomplished it, with also the ability to address some of the concerns of a significant number of the residents of this city – concerns about over-policing, concerns about overuse of Stop, Question, and Frisk, concerns about some of our quality of life enforcement initiatives. Deputy Commissioner Shea will speak to some of those issues as we talk about statistics. We'll then be available to answer any questions that you might have relative to the presentation – on-topic – and then after answering any question, I and the leadership team here – on-topic– will be available to speak to you on other issues of interest that you might have. With that, let me ask Dermot Shea to come up and walk you through the presentation that will be on the slide screen in back of me, as well as ones on the side of the room. Dermot?

[Deputy Commissioner of Operations Dermot Shea speaks]

Commissioner Bratton: Can we put the lights back up – and we are available for questions that you might have.

Mayor: We want to do this stuff first.

Commissioner Bratton: Okay.

Mayor: So, we'll do the announcements today first, and then other topics.

Question: Commissioner, [inaudible] 20 years [inaudible]?

Commissioner Bratton: Well, it's like the limbo – keep seeing if you can keep getting under that bar, so as we go into 2015, the focus is on keeping the crime rates low. Crime rates in this city are probably the best in the nation in terms of the figures that we're giving you, and in terms of the per capita crime in the city. And again, I go back to 1990 – half the people who live in this city now were not here in 1990, and have no understanding of how bad it was. So, we're in pretty good shape as it is, but we're always going to strive to do better. I think the technology acquisitions that are going to come into play this year are going to be phenomenally helpful. I think the additional training that we're now going to be able to give our officers for skills enhancement will be helpful, and use of social media – that we've been so engaged, it's going to be also helpful that we have an ability to reach out, and have the public reach out to us, in ways that they've never [inaudible] in the past. So, is this as low as it can go? I don't think so. But we're going to certainly strive to get it lower.

Question: We're looking at a slice of [inaudible] that begins more or less when you came into office the first time in 1994, and you revolutionized the way the department approached crime – you turned it from a reactionary – or a reactive force to a proactive force. In the last two weeks, if you look at crime stats and other stats that comes out every week [inaudible] number of arrests, number of summonses in the last two weeks – we've seen a precipitous decline in all of those categories, and a return to, you know, officers only [inaudible] 9-1-1 calls, only going when they're called. Are you disturbed by this sort of de facto return to what you tried to change 20 years ago?

Commissioner Bratton: We were watching that very closely. I'd point out that even with that decline in officer activity, that's impacted certainly by the events of the last month, that I don't think we've ever quite had a month like this past month, with the demonstrations beginning on December 3rd, the daily demonstrations that required the actions of thousands of our officers – that, spending a lot of time dealing with that. We had the tragedy that you all covered so significantly of the murder of two of our officers. So we've had a lot of things that have been impacting on activity levels, but even with that reduced activity, the overall crime numbers have continued to decline in the city. We had a several hour meeting this morning – myself, this leadership team, and others – to put together a comprehensive review of what has been happening over the last month, and as we go into this week, where we're emerging from the mourning period, where we're dealing with many fewer demonstrations – that'll allow us to keep our officers in the precincts, keep our detectives and our narcotics people in plainclothes, and doing investigative work, doing proactive drug work. We'll see how we progress during the course of this week going forward. So, it's certainly something we are paying attention to. Am I overly concerned at this particular point? Talk to me a little later in the week once I have a clearer idea of what the impacts of the demonstrations, the funerals, and some of the other controversies we've been engaged in over the last period of time – what impact they're having.

Question: But does the fact that crime went down over those two weeks call into question this whole theory that police need to be out there proactive –

Commissioner Bratton: Not at all. In terms of – you're referencing broken windows, I know it's something your paper would like to have – see done away with. Sorry, broken windows is here to stay. Stop, Question and Frisk is here to stay. But it will done in appropriate amounts. So, even the broken windows policing – we are very selective in terms of looking at areas where we can reduce the need for that. Marijuana arrests is clearly one of those. We took a close look at marijuana arrests and felt that it was not an appropriate use of our resources. It was costing us a fortune, in terms of manpower, over time. And you can clearly see the results of correcting that effort. But broken windows – make no mistake about it – I was here in 1990, not '94, and if you lived here then – that was before we started implementing broken windows. We're not going back to that period of time – never again.

Mayor: – in a moment. I just want to add – these numbers – and again, I want to get us back to questions on this presentation – this is breathtaking, the information we have here. A lot of us were here in the 1980s, 1990s, and could never have imagined these kind of numbers. They are the result of a proactive strategy. They're the result of a number of strategies, one of which is the broken windows approach. That's why I believe in it, because it continues to drive down crime, and think of what that means for everyday people's lives – an ever-safer city, where people know that they're safe, their children are safe, their seniors are safe, their property's safe. It has immense ramifications for the economic well-being of this city. It's a strategy that's worked. I certainly don't think a few very aberrant days suggest anything compared to what you see over the course of a whole year of success. So, I want people to take a moment to recognize just how momentous these figures are, especially when you consider that they were, in comparison to 2013, which literally – I couldn't tell you how many times people told me that was a year that could never be beat again, and in fact it's been beat handily, in many ways, by the NYPD under Commissioner Bratton.

Question: [inaudible] murders on Staten Island [inaudible]

Commissioner Bratton: We certainly can. Crime spikes, despite our best efforts. It's like you – some days you feel good, some days you don't, you take medicine, you feel better the next day. Staten Island was an aberration this year, influenced by a couple of incidents that I'll ask Dermot to speak to, and to some incidents there, Bob Boyce on that particular issue. But that was an aberration, and is not reflection of trending, but rather, unique events that occurred there – double homicides as well as domestic incidences. Bob or Dermot, if you could speak very specifically to the homicide issue.

Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce: Yes, ma'am, there was an increase, quite substantial, in Staten Island. We looked at it, so as far as motive, we found it was up 15 versus eight, and what happened there was seven of which were from robberies. That seems to be – these armed robberies and burglaries – this seems to be the issue with Staten Island. Also, on New Year's Day, we had a double shooting at a bagel shop as well. So, we're redoubling our efforts, looking at our strategies there, to see if we can correct those issues. Queens North had a spike the rest of the city didn't have, in domestics. So, again, we'll – we double our efforts there and see if we can come a strategy to prevent that from happening this year. In Staten Island, it was robberies, armed robberies, that created the –

Question: Is that related to drugs in any way, or [inaudible] robberies [inaudible]

Chief Boyce: There's a direct correlation between burglaries and drugs – robberies as well. Sometimes, however, these are armed robberies. So, it's difficult to make that – to make that determination on each case. But if you're looking for a motive on why it jumped up in Staten Island – that is why, because of the robberies.

Question: With regards to the slowdown, and the drop-off of arrests and summonses – are you satisfied it's not the work action by the unions, in that some of these slowdowns began after December 20th [inaudible] the Garner verdict was December 3rd – the slowdown didn't begin after that –

Commissioner Bratton: We're taking a long view look, in terms of looking back over time – looking at it very specific to precinct, to borough, to tours of duty – looking at 9-1-1 calls coming in, response time to 9-1-1 calls – so a very comprehensive look-see over time. So, at this time, that – I've not used the term "slowdown," which would indicate it's an organized or even comprehensive initiative. I'll know a little better in the next several days, as I indicated, and if in fact we feel – myself and the leadership team – that that's what we're dealing with, we'll call it that, and we'll deal with it accordingly. But at this juncture, we're just trying to determine what in fact is going on – at the same time, we're putting out the same number of officers, so they're out there. The calls coming in reporting crimes are down fairly dramatically during this last couple-week period of time. So, we're not in a – a public safety crisis, by any stretch of the imagination, in New York City at this time.

Question: A follow up – do you think that – crime declines could be imperiled if it continues, in the sense that the recent trend is that through the week ending January 4th, murders are up, robberies are up [inaudible]?

Commissioner Bratton: You must be looking at different crime stats than I'm looking at.

Question: For the week ending the 4th?

Commissioner Bratton: If we're looking through the 4th – my chief of departments sent me this morning – is through 2015, 2014 – that we're down three homicides, 37 percent. We're down nine shootings – 45 percent. So I don't know what you're looking at. I'm looking at what I get every morning, which is my chief of department report.

Unknown: It's year-to-date. Those numbers are year-to-date. You might be looking at the week. We're looking at year-to-date.

Question: I looked at the week –

Commissioner Bratton: Okay, well, what I suggest you look at is what we're looking at, is year-to-date, which is what we're working with – which is showing a decline, and not an increase.

Question: [inaudible] for the week in crime.

Question: [inaudible] NYPD and community, is there any sort of way [inaudible] need to get better, or things have gotten better –

Commissioner Bratton: Well, we have – that is a great question, because while we've been focusing on crime, one of the reasons that you want to reduce crime is to find opportunities to work in a more intimate fashion with the community, and one of the things that this mayor's administration has been really focused on – as reflected by some of the structure of the NYPD – Susan Herman at the back of the room, deputy commissioner for collaborative strategies – that she's been working with Chief Fox, for example, on the mayor's initiative on dealing with the homeless. So, in the subway systems, for example, dealing with that homeless population, we're working with various other city agencies to get some of those people out of the subways, into treatment, into shelter. So it's not just the police doing it. We refer to the mayor's committees as pop-up committees, because – Edna, how many are you sitting on now? [Laughs] Edna is, along with Susan Herman – sits on – pop-up committees are these collaborative committees that the mayor's formed around critical issues – mental health, homeless, domestic violence issues. So, one of the great strengths that we have moving forward is that we're not in this alone, that every time we have an incident that involves family services, homeless – we have other city agencies that very quickly come in to work with us. I think the Ebola incident is a clear example of that, where all the various city agencies very quickly came together to work on that particular issue. Mr. Mayor, you might want to speak to that.

Mayor: Yeah, and I do want to thank you, commissioner. I want to pick up on the Ebola point, and then make a couple other examples. When that crisis hit this city, it would not have been a shock if there was tremendous fear throughout the city. People were certainly worried there might be panic. I give a lot of credit to NYPD, I give a lot of credit to other agencies, that went out into communities and talked to people about what was going on, and helped them to feel comfortable that things were being handled properly. You saw a city of 8.4 million people, with a case of Ebola here in our midst, and life went on exactly the way it was before – because this NYPD and other city agencies reached out and talked to community leaders, and talked to everyday New Yorkers. I heard so many stories of NYPD community affairs officers and other agency personnel out in neighborhoods, including right around the apartment building where Dr. Spencer lived – giving out leaflets, talking to residents, calming them, answering their questions. It's a whole different approach, and it's an approach that works. Now, I think to the core of your question – recognize that in 2011 in this city, there were 700,000 stops. And if you look at that slide on stop and frisk, there were not only 700,000 versus 47,000 in 2014, the impact – the outcome of the stops – was very different. You could see by the arrest outcomes – more than a doubling in the number of arrests for the stops that were made, as Deputy Commissioner Shea said. That means that the stops that are being done now are higher quality, more pinpointed – bluntly – on the bad guys, not on law-abiding citizens, not on everyday New Yorkers who happen to be walking down the street or going to the store. When you take that negative pressure off of people, that has a profound impact on the relationship with the police, and I've heard such gratitude all over this city, for the fact that for so many people – their children, their nephews, their nieces, their grandchildren – were not being stopped arbitrarily. That has created a great opening for a better relationship between police and community. Certainly the marijuana arrests – Deputy Commissioner Shea showed you a 50 percent decline over three years – 10 percent just this last year, but that more important figure to me is just the last couple of months – over 60 percent decreases in November/December – on an area that was causing tremendous consternation in our communities, because it was not just that people felt they were being affected by their relationship with the police at that moment – the real concern from so many people – again, parents, aunts, uncles, grandparents – was that young people were being saddled with a criminal record for having made a stupid mistake – something that would follow them throughout their lives. This policy change, again, has engendered tremendous appreciation and good will. As you can see, crime is still being driven down. But that kind of approach that needed an adjustment – when the adjustment was made, people at the community level appreciated it, and felt rightfully that the NYPD was working with them. That was a policy generated in this building. I really want to emphasize that fact. I knew what I believed in, and I stated it clearly. But the decision making about how to go about it, and the belief that it was the right thing to do, emanated right here – and the people of this city appreciate that.

Question: [inaudible] the number of people who died in police altercations [inaudible]?

Commissioner Bratton: The statistics relative to police use of force, in about two out of every hundred arrests we make – about 2 percent – force is used. Assaults against officers are down also. This is a department – whether it's on the use of firearms, whether it's on the use of force – is very restrained, very constrained, and very well trained. And something else that we should feel very proud of, that we're continuing to see significant improvement. We're well below national averages, in regards to that around the country, in other major departments. So, another area that we feel very very good about, that continues to go in the right direction, which is down.

Question: Follow up on the mayor's remarks – earlier remarks about Stop, Question, and Frisk – earlier in the year, last year, [inaudible] shootings, and you were planning to do, or going to do, a study to see if the decrease in Stop, Question, and Frisk had any impact on the [inaudible] shooting [inaudible] did you do such a study, and if so, what did [inaudible]?

Commissioner Bratton: It showed there was no correlation. So –

Question: [inaudible]

Commissioner Bratton: We can get that out to you. That's – I've given that presentation at several of the speeches that I've given in the city recently, so I'm more than happy to share that with you. So all these assertions that Stop, Question, and Frisk would down, that crime would go up, or shootings would go up – we're not seeing any direct correlation there at all.

Question: Just in regards – follow up, regarding the – just for a broad perspective – what do you say to New Yorkers who might be concerned [inaudible] officers around [inaudible]. In other words, you have sent out a message that they not turn their backs – you asked them to please not do that, they did it again yesterday – the enforcement action is low. To what degree are you concerned that you have a force that is taking matters into their own hands regarding [inaudible]?

Commissioner Bratton: I've already indicated that morale in the department, for many officers, is not where we would like it to be. I've been in the business 40-some-odd years – that's not new, that morale oftentimes is an individual issue. Do they like who they work with, do they like where they work, do they like their hours? So, in terms of morale, it's oftentimes very dependent on their particular circumstances. I think there's a number of issues at play, certainly, at this time, that impact on morale. I've already indicated that, at this juncture, until we do a little more study, I'm not expressing great concern at where we are at the moment. The crime numbers are still going down, officers are still out in the field, and if in fact we feel – my team and I, after our analysis this week – that we're engaged in some type of job action, that we will deal with it very forcefully, very effectively, using management supervisory tools to address it, and focus on those who may not be performing up to our expectations and standards. So, rather than painting with a broad brush, what we are doing is looking very intimately at if there are issues relative to drops in performance, what's causing that, who's involved in it, and how do we go about addressing it.

Question: For the mayor – you talked about not dwelling on the voices of discord and focusing more on a positive vision. To the members of the police department who may not share your views – what is your message? What is your message to the police officers who aren't happy with you?

Mayor: My message is, we support them, we are investing in them, we will continue to invest in them – that they should be very proud of the achievements of 2014. The way I look at it is this – when I came into office, I had a series of decisions to make. I think it's widely believed – including within the NYPD – that I chose the finest police commissioner in this country, that he's put together an extraordinary leadership team, that we made a series of changes that, in fact, were better for our officers and our communities alike. You look at that stop and frisk figure – I remind you, the – some of the police unions themselves believed that the stop and frisk policy of the previous administration was creating tremendous tension between officers and the communities they served, and was creating less safety for both. So, we addressed an issue that had to be addressed. We made a reform that was necessary, that I think is adding to the safety of our officers. We've invested, in things that I think improve the everyday lives of our citizens and our officers alike. For example, some of our housing developments that had the biggest crime problems – we focused on the 15 developments that accounted for literally 20 percent of violent crime. We put lights up – and one of the things I heard so clearly in this building, was that our officers wouldn't be safe if the areas they're patrolling weren't lit well enough, so we put lights up. We made sure there was additional overtime so that there would be more officers to address problem areas. That's one of the reasons you saw some real improvements in those areas. We invested, obviously, in technology and training – two of the things that indicate respect for this profession. You can tell when anything is respected, is when it gains investment. We're investing in our police officers – in constant training to improve their tactical abilities, which I think will also help to keep them safe; to improve the technology they have; and everyday things like better facilities for firearms training, for vehicle safety training. This is the kind of approach that means you're serious about the work of this agency, and the safety of our officers. And we're going to deepen that work. So I would say that the men and women of the NYPD should be very proud of the year 2014. They should be proud of the progress we're making. They will see, over time, that as we deepen their partnership with communities, it will make everyone safer – and I'm optimistic about where we're going.

Commissioner Bratton: If I could make a quick comment as a follow up to the earlier question about morale. There's a lot going on in the department at this particular point in time that's of concern to officers – contracts that the previous administration chose not to settle, this administration's seeking very hard to settle. There's also the issue of the various retirement plans – almost now a majority of my officers are now in a retirement plan that offers significantly less benefits than their predecessors received – an action that Governor Paterson took as he was leaving office – that is having profound implifications on officers who were injured in the line of duty. With a very young – and now constantly enlarging – workforce, that are now out on the streets of the city, that's of great concern to them and their families – the benefits if they're injured on the job. We also have issues of concern relative to indemnification, in terms of the city willing to protect them if they're sued. There's a whole slew of issues, many of which the mayor and the police department – the administration of the department – are looking at, actively looking at, to see, are there things that can be done to improve or address those concerns. The other issue that I think you need to take note of, that more than half of the members of this department live in New York City. Their families are here, they ride the subways, they walk the streets, their kids go to the schools, they use the parks – if you think that those officers are going to risk the safety of their families, and allow the other half, who don't live here, to risk the safety of their families – I don't think that's going to happen. I think officers are very mindful that if this city were allowed to be de-policed, some of the first that would be affected would be their families. So, again, we will take a look at who is maybe not doing the work that we expect of them, but I don't intend to look at it with a broad brush. I will look very specifically, precinct by precinct, tour of duty by tour of duty, sector car by sector car, officer by officer. And we will deal with it very appropriately if we have to. We may see, during the course of this week, as we come out of the turmoil of the past month, that things begin to return to normal on their own volition.

Question: Mr. Mayor, any idea of the drop in the number of summonses being written, how much money it's costing the city?

Commissioner Bratton: Probably saving money.

Mayor: I'll let the commissioner speak to it, but I just want to emphasize, this has been a very few days, in the middle of the holidays, in the middle of very extraordinary circumstances – including the very tragic loss of two officers. I agree with the commissioner 100 percent. We need to see a little more time pass before we can draw conclusions. But why don't you –

Commissioner Bratton: We may actually be saving money. If they're not writing summonses, city is not making money off the summons, but we're also not paying overtime to the officers to go to court to basically, effectively, testify, relative to the summons. So, this is part of what we'll take a look at, in the sense of the overall impact. But we're talking the events of several days. You know, we're working very hard to get our arms around, very specifically, what is going on, if anything.

Question: Quick question for the mayor – can you talk about your meeting last week with police union leaders? How do you think it went? [Inaudible]

Mayor: I don't think we went into the room expecting instant resolution of long-standing concerns. As the commissioner stated, even though the meeting was explicitly not about contracts and contract negotiations, the backdrop here is the absence of a contract, over many years in the previous administration. We know that was true for much of our city workforce – three, four years or more that unions went without contracts – which is something unacceptable. So, I think there's been a lot of issues that had come up, even before we came into our respective roles here. I thought it was a productive meeting because there was a straightforward dialogue about the issue of officer safety. And we all made clear – the commissioner, and Chief O'Neill and I – that we're committed to doing everything that we can to ensure safety. A lot of the steps we are taking, we believe will deepen officer safety, and that's something we want to work on together. So, I think that was a productive conversation. I'm certainly willing to keep meeting, so we can work on serious issues. There are political differences. That's not a surprise. Those political differences are not going to be resolved in one meeting, or two meetings, or three meetings. But that does not stop me from being devoted to doing all we can to keep our officers safe.

Question: Did it come up in the meeting [inaudible] about this continual [inaudible] prior to that meeting. And also [inaudible] the police commissioner's memo in note to officers to be respectful [inaudible] I wanted to see what your reaction was – and if we're on this, it seems like we're going to other topics now – I wanted to see if the commissioner, if we could get your reactions [inaudible]?

Mayor: First of all, you're a gentleman, Dave, for holding your question until we covered the announcement of the day. I thank you for that. I said at the outset of the meeting with the police union leaders, that I was not going to go in to chapter and verse on the discussion of the meeting. That was not something I thought was appropriate to do – meaning, that we were going to talk among ourselves, respectfully, straightforward, and I would only give the broadest characterization of the discussion. So, just so you know, I'm not going to get into detail on what happened in that meeting. On the bigger topic, look – those individuals who took certain actions this last week – or last two weeks, really – they were disrespectful to the families involved. That's the bottom line. They were disrespectful to the families who had lost their loved one. And I can't understand why anyone would do such a thing in a context like that. I think it just defies a lot of what we all feel is the right and decent thing to do when you're dealing with a family in pain. I also think they were disrespectful to the people of this city – who, in fact, honor the work of the NYPD. I can't tell you how extraordinary the outpouring of feeling that I've experienced from New Yorkers of every kind. I feel very personally the loss of those two officers and feel what their families are going through. So, at a time when I think the people of this city felt tremendous respect for the NYPD, some individuals – some individual officers – showed disrespect to the families and to the people of this city.

Commissioner Bratton: Quite obviously, I had concerns about what I had witnessed at the previous funeral. And so, that was the reason for issuing the memo that was read at all roll calls prior to the funeral. And I hope that it helped to encourage many officers not to engage in the actions of the few hundred out of the excess of 25,000 police officers who were there. I share the mayor's concern about the idea of what is effectively a labor action being taken in the middle of a funeral, where we are honoring the death of two police officers. I just don't understand it. I'm sorry. I just do not understand that. What was the need, in the middle of that ceremony, to engage in a political action? I don't get it. And I'm very disappointed – very disappointed – in those who did not respond to my requests. At the same time, I compliment the 20,000-plus who did what you'd expect at a funeral. They stood, saluted, and honored their comrades who had passed. So I think we need to focus much more on the vast majority who did what was expected, rather than the few who embarrassed themselves, and effectively took so much attention – so much attention. Looking at the papers this morning – the cover stories on so many of the papers focused on their actions, focused on them – the selfishness of that action – the selfishness of it. A funeral is not a place for that. Come demonstrate outside City Hall. Come demonstrate outside police headquarters, but don't put on your uniform and go to a funeral, and engage in a political action. I'm sorry. I feel very strongly about this. I do.

Question: [inaudible] second question.

Commissioner Bratton: Yeah, I'm going to ask Bob Boyce to come up and speak to your question on that case.

Chief Boyce: As you know, we conducted an exhaustive investigation of the special victims division, also with Manhattan detectives as well – we executed a search warrant in Mr. Rubenstein's home, as well as spoke to scores of people involved in the case, and we presented all that information to the Manhattan District Attorney's office. What we do with allegations of sexual assault – that's how we operate – we go out and get evidence, both video, witness, and physical evidence, and present it to them, and we go forward. I would direct your question to the Manhattan District Attorney's office. We – as I said, we did a lot of work on the case, and worked in collaboration with them, and they made – issued the statement today.

Question: Mr. Boyce, since we have you up there, can you just update us on the 17th Precinct?

Chief Boyce: Yesterday afternoon, at around 3 o clock, on Beekman Place, a Thomas Gilbert Senior was found with a gunshot wound to his head just after 3 o clock in the afternoon, about 3:30. What happened before that – at about 3 o clock in the afternoon – Thomas Gilbert Junior visited the family. Present was Mr. Gilbert Senior and his wife. He then – Mr. Gilbert Junior – then asked to speak to Mr. Gilbert Senior by himself and asked the mother to leave. The mother did leave – she went to get some food for Junior. About 15 minutes after that, she had a bad feeling and decided to return. She got back to the apartment about 15 minutes later, and she found Senior on the floor with a bullet hole in his head. She also – found a gun resting on his chest with his left hand covering it. Immediately, EMS was on the scene, as well as the 17th Precinct, as well as my detectives. 17th Precinct detectives investigating the case now for 24 hours, as well as Manhattan South homicide, saw what they perceived to be a staged crime scene. The gun, laying where it was, didn't seem as a self-inflicted wound that we've had in the past. We immediately spoke to Mrs. Gilbert, and she told us where her son lived. We went over to that apartment and we set up a surveillance on that apartment, and requested a search warrant for his apartment on the 10th Precinct. At about 2100 that night, about 9 o clock in the evening, we saw a light go off in the apartment, and the TV go off, so we knew he was there. We executed the search warrant at around 10:30 at night, and we obtained some evidence – two magazine clips, which are .40 caliber, which is the gun used at the Beekman Place homicide – what we can now consider a homicide. We found numerous loose rounds as well, and a manufacturers box of a Glock .40 caliber. Also, we have a shell casing envelope with the serial number of the gun that was recovered at the crime scene – substantial amount of physical evidence to use. We brought Mr. Gilbert Junior into the precinct, and we arrested him at around 11 o clock this afternoon – this morning, excuse me, for the homicide and criminal possession of a weapon.

Question: Mr. Mayor, I was wondering how you felt [inaudible] Pat Lynch said about you having blood on your hands, blood on the steps of City Hall, and were you able to talk to him about it [inaudible] and commissioner, I'm wondering [inaudible]?

Mayor: First of all, I'm not concerned about my feelings. My feelings don't matter here. What matters is the people of this city, who I think expect more from all leaders than those kind of unfair and inaccurate statements. Obviously, it was a totally inappropriate statement – totally inaccurate, totally unfair. It's evident. So, I'll leave it at that. Commissioner?

Commissioner Bratton: I don't share the perspective that the mayor had blood on his hands, or that any of his actions contributed to the death of those two officers. I don't share that perspective at all.

Question: [inaudible]

Mayor: Which one?

Question: Commissioner, you mentioned overtime a couple times – I'm wondering if you have any numbers for the last year, how much NYPD spent on overtime [inaudible]?

Commissioner Bratton: I'm going to ask Chief of Department Jim O'Neill, along with Chief of Patrol Carlos Gomez – who've been using that overtime, and using it very well, to keep the city very safe during this period time – that I would point out that while there were traffic disruptions during the month of December, with these demonstrations, that we had very few injuries – that we had very, very few incidents of vandalism, and did not have any of the incidents that some cities around the country are experiencing. And I want to compliment the two of them on their leadership and their guidance – and the various borough commanders who participated over this past three to four weeks, at a very difficult time. So, Jimmy, if you could speak to the question that he had. Thank you.

Chief of Department James O'Neill: Good afternoon, everyone. So, I'm going to talk about two things. First, I'm going to speak about the summer violence reduction program we had. I don't know if you – any of you were here for the press conferences we had in July. We spent about 16 to 17 million dollars on that program to help curb the rise we had in non-fatal shootings and homicides, and to that end, we had a very good – Dermot, back me up here – we had a very good August, September, and October, as far as violence. As far as the – policing the demonstrations – we've spent, so far, since November 24th, when the demos started, $35 million in overtime. And we've used 52,637 tours of duty to police those demonstrations.

Question: Mayor de Blasio, I'm wondering if you're concerned that [inaudible] DNC [inaudible]?

Mayor: I think the way people all over the world are looking at New York right now is on these numbers. I really believe that. As I've heard people talk about these extraordinary reductions in crime, and the fact that this leadership of the NYPD is doing such an extraordinary job, and the men and women of the NYPD are doing such an extraordinary job – I think that is the story here, that you have a city that is getting safer all the time. And that is ultimately how business leaders make their decisions, how people make their decisions – of where to move, to live – people make decisions about where to invest. Certainly, I would think, for the Democratic National Committee or any other organization thinking about having an event – ever-decreasing crime is an incredibly positive signal. I also think it's important to remember – there have been so many expressions of respect over these last weeks, for the way that this department handled what were complicated protest dynamics. You had, in one case, well over 20,000 citizens involved in one of the protest marches. That takes tremendous professionalism, discipline, skill to manage. There's been many, many events. The calls I've gotten from around the country – from mayors, from police officials, federal government officials – is calls of tremendous respect, in terms of how this police force can handle any situation, no matter how complicated, or how unexpected. Again, I would think people making decisions about where to invest, or about where to have an event, would look at those events with a lot of respect, and a lot of the sense that this is a police force that can handle anything. So, it's been a painful few weeks, because we lost two very good men, and yes, there's been some politics in the background. But in the foreground is an incredible year of success for this department. In the foreground is an extraordinary example of this department protecting people's democratic rights, and really being an example to the entire nation. And I think that will be on the minds of a lot of people around this country.

Unknown: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. Thank you, folks.

Media Contact
(212) 788-2958