April 4, 2016
Video available at: https://youtu.be/RWk0iBgOLxk
Commissioner William Bratton, NYPD: Good afternoon on this rainy afternoon. This morning the mayor will make remarks in just a few moments. I just want to introduce those who are at the podium with me – Chief of Department, Jim O’Neill, at my left; Chief of Transit Police, Joe Fox; Chief of Detectives, Bob Boyce. Speaking – Deputy Commissioner Jessie Tisch who will be updating you on ShotSpotter and some of our smart phone technology. To my right we have Tommy Patel who is now heading up Citywide Emergency Services. We have Dermot Shea, who will be speaking, and updating you on the first quarter crime statistics – January, February, March, and trending. And then Carlos Gomez, Chief of Patrol – Carlos will be speaking to you relative to the department efforts as the warmer weather is now coming into play – dealing with the ATV dirt bike problem that several areas of the city experience each year, and the very significant department efforts that we’ve been making that will expand and hopefully will involve you with getting public assistance for us to identify where these characters are parking these vehicles.
With that, the mayor is going to open up the press conference. I’ll speak shortly a short period of time after him before going into the three presentations on the technology, on the crime stats, and on the ATV dirt bike issue.
Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you very much Commissioner. Commissioner I want to congratulate you and all the leadership of the NYPD, and the men and women of the NYPD because the statistics we’ll go over today – the results from the first quarter this year are outstanding. And the men and women at the NYPD have a lot to be proud of today.
First of all, our communities saw the fewest murders and shootings of any quarter in recorded history. I want to say that again. We saw the fewest murders and shooting of any quarter in recorded history. An extraordinary 21 percent drop in murders, and a 14 percent decrease in shootings compared to the same time last year.
There’s no question that this progress is further evidence of the extraordinary capacity of the NYPD, and the strategies that are being used effectively. Now, this also connects to increased focused on getting guns off our streets, and increasingly effective strategies. And this quarter, the NYPD got 818 guns out of our neighborhoods. That’s a 15.4 percent increase in gun seizures compared to the same point a year ago. And gun arrests are up 13.3 percent, also compared to the same point a year ago. So, extraordinary progress on reducing homicides, reducing shootings, increasing the number of gun seizures, increasing the number of gun arrests.
The human impact of this – think about it for a moment – how many lives have been saved, how many people are walking the streets safely because of this extraordinary achievement, and how many more people will be safe because these guns have been taken off the streets and because the people who had them have been arrested.
When you contrast this report to what we used to know in this city, it is an extraordinary testament to the consistency of the progress that the NYPD has made. You know, what began with Commissioner Bratton, with Jack Maple, with CompStat, has just continued to deepen. And I remember vividly what things were like in this city when we had over 2,000 murders a year, when even walking down a busy street you had to look over your shoulder. I remember how life was, how many people left because they thought this city couldn’t possibly succeed. Well, the NYPD turned that around but they are not resting on their laurels, they’re continuing to make progress, and it’s really exceptional. We are the safest big city in America. This quarter’s statistics prove it once again.
And this is while at the same time, we have an increasing population. And this is an important part of the equation. The NYPD is making it safer while more and more people come here. We’ve now surpassed 8.5 million residents for the first time in our history. We’re well on our way to 60 million tourists a year. We have more jobs than we’ve ever had in our history – almost 4.3 million. That means there’s more commuters coming in every day. All of that would suggest more and more activity that the NYPD has to deal with. Well, with all of the additional activity, with all of the additional human presence, the NYPD continues to drive crime down. Over the last two years, total major crime categories combined – a decrease of 5.8 percent in terms of overall crime reduction.
I think New Yorkers have gotten used to these extraordinary achievements, and that’s a good thing. But rest assured that all of us at City Hall, and all of us at One Police Plaza are looking for the next frontier at all times. You’re going to here today about some of the extraordinary additional improvements that have been made in technology – I want to thank Deputy Commissioner Jessica Tisch for her tremendous efforts. I’m already seeing what it means for our men and women in uniform, how much it’s improving the work they do, how much it’s helping them to be the best professionals they can be, and how it’s keeping them safer – and how much they appreciate that investment. We’re going to keep making those investments. And the investments we’re making in counter-terrorism efforts are timely and necessary – 500-plus members of the Critical Response Command – the point in history when so many parts of the world realize they’re dealing with evermore complex and intense terror threats, and they’re just not ready unfortunately to deal with the sheer scope of them. New York City is ready. We’re the most prepared city in America, and we recognize that we face these threats time and again – that the NYPD working with our federal partners has thwarted these threats time and again, and we’re expanding our capacity all the time.
And everything I’ve just said is true before the addition of the 2,000 additional cops we will have by the end of this year on patrol. So, the first quarter real augurs well for this city. It shows the NYPD is on the right path, and a lot more to come. Again, the men and women of this department have a lot to be proud of.
Just a few words in Spanish.
[The mayor speaks in Spanish]
With that, it’s my honor to turn it back to Commissioner Bratton. Congratulations.
Commissioner Bratton: The mayor referenced the shootings and murders down to, once again, historic lows, particularly this first quarter versus any previous year. Additionally this first quarter – January, February, March – in the CompStat era, beginning in 1993 as our base year – also down to lows for that 25 year period of time – robberies, burglaries, and car thefts. Best three months we’ve had in the modern CompStat era.
Dermot Shea will speak to the issue of our felonious assaults, issues around rapes and grand larcenies, but in so many of the categories that the first three months are record lows, and even in those categories where we’ve seen an increase, when you look at overall trending, the numbers are by and large also trending in favorable directions, but he’ll speak with more specificity to that.
So again, onto a presentation – Dermot Shea, crime summary. We’ll then bring up Carlos Gomez, Chief of Patrol to discuss and seek your assistance dealing with the dirt bike situation, and then Jessie can teach you on some of the latest technologies and issues.
Deputy Commissioner Dermot Shea, NYPD: Good afternoon, everyone. I’ll just speak briefly to some of the statistics for the first quarter with a little more specificity. The end of the first quarter really continued the downward trend that we’ve seen in some of the more index crime categories in New York City. For murder in the month of March, we’ve recorded 27 murders, which is exactly the same number as last March. So when you look at January, February, March as the mayor mentioned we are down 21 percent. We have recorded 18 fewer murders this year. The one category which I’ll get into as we go forward, where we have seen an increase is the murder by crime type – and that one specifically by cutting instruments – we are up fairly significantly, but we’ll get to that.
We have recorded three fewer murders this year than the prior low in the CompStat era, so really some significant statistics here. Shooting incidents – for the month of March we recorded 67 shooting incidents in New York City. Last March, for scale was 69. Similar to murder, we have never recorded in the CompStat era fewer shooting incidents than we have this first quarter, so really some significant statics. When you look at the shootings – and we used to talk about pockets or precincts where we still have pockets of resistances – we’re really talking now almost about blocks. So while we are having the best year that we’ve seen in shooting incidents in New York City, we still have areas of concern. For example, Jessie’s ShotSpotter couldn’t have come soon enough because that’s one of the areas where we see right now a little bit of an increase. Manhattan North is the only borough with a shooting increase. All the other boroughs have seen huge decreases.
Gun arrests – gun arrests this year, 13 percent increase – we continue to focus every week at our CompStat process on the individuals that are driving the violence. As the level of shootings has come down to unprecedented levels, one thing has not changed – we still see approximately 20 to 25 percent of our shooting incidents, where someone involved in that shooting has been involved in a prior New York City shooting – 20 to 25 percent. And when you look at that universe of individuals, that are involved in repeated incidents, we see some of the same things we’ve talked about before. Individuals on supervised release, individuals with prior gun arrests, etcetera – almost 50 percent of that repeat shooting incident population is either on probation or parole in New York City – so that’s fairly significant.
When you look at other categories that we’ve seen lows this categories, besides the homicides and the shooting incidents, robberies, burglaries, and stolen cars – grand larceny auto – have never seen this low a level. So as we move past now – when you talk about overall index crime in New York City for the first quarter, we recorded the second lowest index crime in the CompStat era – second only to last year, and you can see some of the charts behind me and in front of me. Last year we were about two percent better. What’s driving the increase in index crime? This is a part of the overall rending that we’re seeing, a shift to credit card related crime, a shift to checks, financial-related crimes. Interesting in this type of crime, because we’re seeing victims that are learning they’re victims maybe three, four months after something was stolen.
So, grand larceny is really what’s driving the two percent uptick in crime for this first quarter. When you take a look at felony assaults – that’s the other crime that we’ve seen a significant increase for this year-to-date – we’re up 11 percent year-to-date – it’s a raw number of close to 500 additional felony assault complaints. This is the category that within this category is the stabbing-slashings that we’ve done separate press conferences on.
About 18 percent of our overall felony assaults are made up of these stabbings-slashings. And if you see the chart behind me, you see this is one crime type that differs from all the others when we talk about repeated lows. This is a crime – felony assaults – that really has been trending up over the last ten years. Why? Because, quite frankly, the changes in the laws each year adds additional components, so, when you look at the penal law, there are more and more ways each year to commit a felony assault. This is done on purpose by our legislatures to protect certain classes, whether it’s assaults in schools, bus drivers, assaults that occur in prisons, etcetera. The orange part of that felony assaults at the bottom – we only show for the last two years – that’s the stabbings-slashings. Why? Because we simply did not have accurate statistics prior to that, and we look forward to, as we go forward and really solidifying our data collection process, to develop more and more robust strategies to combat this.
I’ll just finish briefly. I’ve touched on the major seven index crimes, and the shooting incidents. Transit – transit related, we saw a big spike in transit crime against last year at least in January. That number came down in February. When you look at large transit reported index crime, it was nearly flat, it was plus-four incidents. So, we’ve seen a trending in the right direction in transit crime. And we expect that to further turn the corner as we go further. Housing – we have recorded one additional shooting on housing property, citywide that is. And when I talked about pockets, that’s what we’re experiencing right now in Manhattan – two areas in and around the Polo Grounds in Northern Manhattan in the 3-2 Precinct, and then in the 23rd Precinct, specifically around the Jefferson Houses. Pockets of shooting incidents that as Jessie talks about – ShotSpotter – we’re really looking forward to that helping us as we go forward, getting more and more data regarding the shooting incidents. But one shooting incident more in housing this year. In terms of homicides occurring on housing, it’s exactly the same level as last year. And in terms of overall index crime in housing, there we have seen a jump particularly in domestic-related crime occurring on housing property.
Chief of Patrol Carlos Gomez, NYPD: Good afternoon. Like clockwork, each spring as the warm weather arrives – we see an increase of incidences involving roving bands, roving groups of motorcycles, ATVs, minibikes, and dirt bikes in our streets. These bands and groups of motorcycles often engage in reckless driving through our streets. They disregard traffic control devices. They go through red lights. They go through stop signs. They speed on our residential streets. Oftentimes when they get on highways, they will stop the traffic on that highway in order to perform stunts. They cause a great – a great nuisance – and they hurt the repose of our communities here in the city. They endanger our motorists. They endanger bicyclists. They endanger pedestrians. And they also endanger themselves. I’d like to show you six slides of some of this behavior – if we could put them up.
This – as you can see by this slide – this was taken in the South Bronx. It’s a group of dirt bikes which are – by the way ATVs and dirt bikes are illegal to operate within the city limits. But you can see the operators lack the safety equipment. There are no helmets. And with great certainty these groups, as they get bigger, they begin to ride through the streets – taking red lights, going down one-way street, going on the sidewalks, endangering other residents.
Next slide please. This slide was taken on the Bruckner Expressway. You can see it’s a large group of motorcycles and ATVs. They basically stop traffic. You see an individual there with their GoPro camera on his helmet. They shut down traffic in the middle of the day. This is usually on weekends and they begin to perform stunts. And if you search YouTube, you can see a lot of these films.
Next one please. This is a group of ATVs and dirt bikes on the West Side Highway disrupting traffic.
Next. This is once again the South Bronx. This was not a highway nor a major street. This was down in Hunts Point. But again, they may begin riding and performing stunts in these streets, but sure enough they’ll take it to the major roadways in our city.
Next please. And this shows the danger. This was also in the Bronx. This is a group of ATVs. You can see there are no helmets – just reckless driving through the streets. One of them is actually on the sidewalk and if you look closely, you see two or three pedestrians trying to get out of the way and avoid injury.
Next. And this photo captured an incident in January of 2014. This is Upper Manhattan on Broadway where they shut down traffic in the middle of a Saturday afternoon and they engaged in these antics.
In response to this nuisance and illegal behavior, we conduct coordinated initiatives and enforcement strategies. These initiatives are at the citywide level, coordinated by my office. There also at the patrol borough level and at the local precinct level. They involve many resources. We utilize officers from patrol, from the precincts. We utilize officers from the Highway Patrol to assist us in the highways. They will seal off exits as we approach from the rear and try to make some apprehensions. They will also assist us as we set up our choke points as well as checkpoints which are very similar. We utilize our new SRG unit on these weekend initiatives. Auto crime, as well as aviation – aviation is key. They are our eye in the sky. From above, they can see where these groups are assembling, where they are riding. And they help guide our units on the ground to make an apprehension – efforts.
As for tactics, we utilize checkpoints, choke points – especially on bridges and on local streets. We apprehend when it’s safe to do so. I employ a no-chase policy. We do not want to chase these individuals through the streets. I believe that causes even a greater danger to motorists, pedestrians, and themselves. As you see, most of the time they do not have helmets. They tend to be teenagers and other adolescents. We like to apprehend as they’re gassing up in the gas stations, as they are rallying up in parks or in streets – like the ones in the South Bronx that are deserted. But we gather intelligence from the public and I’m going to ask for more – more of that information. We’ll descend on these streets and apprehend as best – as best we can.
Field intelligence is very important. We monitor 9-1-1 as well as 3-1-1 for past problematic locations. [Inaudible] was our field intelligence officers – they debrief every person arrested in these incidents, and they try to elicit information as to where these bikes and ATVs are stored. They got to be stored somewhere where they be it a commercial storage facility or a residential – someone’s backyard, someone’s garage. We also monitor social media for planned events and rallies, and then we set up initiatives to address these rallies. Extra-large locations – we respond along with the Fire Department, with the Department of Buildings, and we do an inspection. You’re not supposed to store gasoline at these locations. So if we find them, we seize them before – before they hit the streets. And that’s the key. I’d like to remove as many of these from our streets early on this year before the warm weather gets here and it just gets worse.
But we need more assistance. Certainly, we ask the public that if they – if they observe these groups on our roadways, to call 9-1-1, and then we’ll respond as quickly as we can and take appropriate action. But also, if they have any information as to where these bicycles, motorcycles are stored – let us know. We will do these business inspections and again, seize them. But the public can also assist us in identifying planned events and rallies. And we’re going to look to seize them before they hit the streets. Our goals are certainly to prevent and deter these incidents, but to minimize those that do occur – to make apprehensions and seizures of these motorcycles and ATVs. And we are publicizing those seizures that we make. I’ve asked all my precinct commanders to utilize social media – Twitter – and post photographs of the bikes that they seize. And if you look today in the 2-5 Precinct Twitter, the 61st Precinct Twitter, you can see seizures that were made just this weekend. And we utilize the hashtag #UseItAndLoseIt and also the hashtag #VisionZero.
Being that it’s Opening Day, I’d like to say that we’re ahead of the curve in these initiatives. In the last two weeks, we’ve made 65 seizures of dirt bikes, motorcycles, and ATVs. We’ve also made a dozen arrests for driving recklessly, driving on the sidewalk, driving down the wrong way streets, and also for various VTL offenses. And year-to-date we have seized 312 of these motorcycles, these ATVs, and dirt bikes. That’s more than double what we had at this time – this time last year.
And I have three more slides to show you. This is one of the precincts in the Bronx. This was from last summer. You could see a nice seizure of ATVs and dirt bikes.
Next. This was last weekend – Easter weekend – up in Manhattan North. The motorcycles and the ATVs that we’ve seized.
Next. And again, this is up in Manhattan North – I believe the 2-4 Precinct. The vehicles lined up before we send them over to the pound.
So the message is clear to those that participate in this reckless behavior. You could injure motorists. You could injure pedestrians. You certainly could injure yourself. You may be arrested. And with certainly, you’re going to lose your bike, your ride. And most likely, you will not get it back.
Commissioner Bratton: Thank you, Carlos. We’re looking to your assistance to one, make the public aware that we are focused on this issue. It’s not something that we’re not paying attention to. We need them call in when they see it. We have significant resources out every weekend looking to get these characters. Basically the individuals operating these bikes – these knuckleheads if you will – it’s all about them. It’s all about them showing off in the pack mentality. We will a little later this spring have a big crush-in that we’ll invite you to, where we intend to take all of these things and just crush them because they are illegal on the streets of New York. So in 80 percent of these instances, they don’t get them back when we seize them. And we’ll be working with the courts to get that up to 100 percent. So if you are having one of your wheels taken away from you, the intent is to take it away from you permanently and destroy them. We need your help to bring the public attention to the behavior of these characters. And we will very aggressively go after them and go after them with everything we have. It’s only a point in time until they create a serious accident involving innocents as well themselves. And our efforts are going to focus on trying to prevent that from happening. So thank you for your attention to that.
Jessie Tisch now is going to update you on a couple of enhancements to the technology that you’re all familiar with that thanks to the support of the mayor, the District Attorney Cy Vance, the forfeiture funds, the tens of millions of dollars that are being made available to us – that we continue to expand our efforts as well as with the city budget dollars that the City Council has given us for the ShotSpotter system. Jessie.
Deputy Commissioner of Information and Technology Jessica Tisch, NYPD: Good afternoon. Today the New York City Police Department is announcing a massive extension of our ShotSpotter program to include almost all of Northern Manhattan from river to river, with a particular emphasis on Central Harlem. This is the first ShotSpotter implementation in the borough of Manhattan. In addition, we have increased coverage in Brooklyn North and the Bronx, to include all of East New York, that’s the 7-5 Precinct as well as Castle Hill, Soundview, and Parkchester – for a total of nine additional square miles of coverage. We have been building this capability out for the past year. This expansion of the program comes on top of the already 15-square miles of ShotSpotter coverage that has been live and operational since March of last year in Brooklyn and the Bronx. The maps on the screen behind me show in blue our existing coverage areas which we have called Phase 1, and in orange the Phase 2 expansion.
The first map covers patrol boroughs Manhattan North and the Bronx. And the second map shows patrol borough Brooklyn North and Brooklyn South. The new catchment area went live on Friday, April 1st, just past midnight. In the four days since going live, we have already had twelve alerts in the new zones, which include six in Manhattan North and three each in the newly expanded Bronx and Brooklyn areas.
For demonstration purposes I’d like to focus on one alert of note from the new zone in Manhattan North. At 05:15 hours on Saturday morning, April 2nd, just over 24-hours after we went live, officers from the 3-2 Precinct in Harlem received a ShotSpotter alert to 465 Lennox Avenue for multiple shots fired. The alert is on the screen behind me. Here is the audio that came in with this alert.
Responding officers recovered fifteen shell casings from two different types of guns, a 9mm and a .45 caliber in the immediate facility of 133rd and Lennox, where ShotSpotter directed them to go. Shortly thereafter, Harlem Hospital alerted the police to a walk-in gunshot victim. Officers were able to connect the victim to the location of the ShotSpotter alert. The investigation is ongoing.
At the end of March, which represents the first full year of our initial ShotSpotter deployment, we have recovered 43 firearms associated with ShotSpotter alerts, including 12 already this calendar year. The percentage of alerts without 9-1-1 calls has remained constant at 75-80 percent of gun fire incidents in New York City going unreported to 9-1-1.
But that’s not all – today we are also announcing that we will be delivering ShotSpotter alerts and associated audio of gun shots directly to the smart phones and tablets of officers in the vicinity. This means that officers will be receiving near real time direct notification of ShotSpotter alarms even without relying on dispatch. We believe that this advancement, which surfaced as a result of feedback from officers in the field, will further trim response times and presumably increase apprehension and evidence recoveries. I should note the NYPD is the first police department to implement direct to smartphone notifications of ShotSpotter alarms.
Imagine you’re an officer in Harlem and you get a real time notification to your smartphone, it’s the notification in gray – we’ll give a demonstration in a second – within seconds of shots being fired in your precinct. In that notification you get the exact address of the gunfire. You can also hit a button to hear the audio of the shots being fired and swipe to get a sense of the history of the location you are responding to. Let me show you how this works.
On the screen behind me is a live projection of an actual NYPD smart phone. You see in gray a ShotSpotter alert to the phone. We see the address the ShotSpotter sensors have triangulated to. In this case it was 1015 Boynton Avenue in the 43rd Precinct. We also see the type of alert – in this case it’s an alert for multiple shots fired. When we click on the alert, we can play the audio of the gunshots direct from the smartphone as well as review a history of the location officers are responding to – including prior histories of 9-1-1 calls for shots fired. We can see in this case, there have been four such incidences in the past year to the same address. This feature that I’ve just demonstrated to you will roll out on smartphones and tablets of all NYPD officers in the middle of this month.
[Inaudible] quickly recap what we’ve announced. We’ve installed an additional 300 gunshot sensors on rooftops and light poles across nine square miles in three boroughs. In addition, we are leveraging our new mobility platform to carry out Commissioner Bratton’s vision of making the NYPD the most technologically advanced police department in the world, and all of this comes directly from the ideas and the ingenuity of our cops in the streets. As Commissioner Bratton has said, this represents tomorrow’s policing today.
Commissioner Bratton: Later this week, I believe on Thursday, Jessie will be finalizing the distribution of the last of the 36,000 smartphones set up that are going into the hands of all our officers. And then the Police Foundation, a benefit on Thursday evening, will be giving out the last smartphone – so amazing accomplishment, 36,000 of these devices in the hands of our officers. And as you can see, the information that goes to these officers – there’s no place in America, and I would argue probably in the world, where officers have as much information in the palm of their hands as they do here.
The significant safety feature of this is they can hear the shots. They have previous history, so even as they’re responding to the location from a safety standpoint they have a sense of what they might be coming up against. ShotSpotter is also developing as the acoustics capability continues to improve, the ability to tell us what type of firearm is being used – is it a shot gun? Is it an AK-47? Is it a .45? So officers will also understand is it several guns, what’s the type of weapon they may be coming up against – all critical information for officer safety. I want to compliment Jessie and her people for the development of the technology, but certainly the cops for their increasing use of it, and the ideas that are forming the new ways in which we use it. And certainly on Thursday we’ll thank the Mayor, Cy Vance in the District Attorney’s office, and the Council for the funding that have brought about these technology advancements.
Again, there’s not a police department in America, and I believe in the world that is doing as much in this area as is occurring here. And for the citizens of New York this really benefits the safety of our officers.
With that, I think we’ll do police related matters. And I think, Mr. Mayor, you’re planning to stay for off-topic in mayoral matters immediately after we get done with the police questions, so if we could move quickly into police related questions. If we could start off on-topic first, and then we can move into Bob Boyce when we get him up he can answer any of your crime specific questions.
Commissioner Bratton: I’ll ask Jessie to speak to that question. The question he’s asking is that the ShotSpotter alerts – do they go directly to the officers, in a sense, almost bypassing the dispatcher, or being done at the same time as the dispatcher? And then Jessie can speak to the second portion of your question. Please?
Deputy Commissioner Tisch: So, the ShotSpotter alerts, like any 9-1-1 job, go directly to the phone, but they also go through dispatch. So, if the cop doesn’t see it on the phone, he or she will also get it over the air. So, I didn’t mean to imply that we’ve cut dispatch out completely. And in terms of the other types of 9-1-1 jobs, those like the ShotSpotter alerts also go directly to the phones. So, an officer can set their smartphone to alert them to any type of job in any geographical location that they want to know about, and they can make the phone vibrate, or beep, or whatever they want to be notified of the job in addition to getting that information over the air.
Commissioner Bratton: Question?
Commissioner Bratton: I describe this as a big problem in the sense of the danger and risk that they present – that these clowns present in terms of their pack mentality where they have no concern for public safety at all. They’re up on sidewalks, they’re in and out of traffic – I’ve seen them a number of times myself when I’ve been out. And make no mistake about it, we’re treating this very seriously, and we’re looking for your help, on the public’s part, before this gets to a level where serious injuries in fact do occur. You widely reported on an incident – I think it was two years ago, shortly after the mayor and I came in – with the situation of the young couple with their baby, and the incident involving all these clowns. So, they haven’t got the message yet, and one of the ways to get the message is these bikes that are so near and dear to them – when you take a look at them, a lot of them are dressed up, they put a lot of time and energy into it. They’re not going to be too happy when we take those damn things and crush them so that they can’t be used. We used it very effectively against drag racing in Los Angeles when I was out there, and it killed them to see that car out there. We took the cars, lifted it up 100 feet in the air from a crane, and dropped it on the ground, and we very quickly stopped a lot of the drag racing issues in Los Angeles. We’re going to do the same thing here.
Mayor: Let me add real quickly on that – just quick on this – the public can really help on this. This is an absolutely inappropriate activity. We don’t accept it. I commend the commissioner for a very aggressive approach, and I think when these perpetrators experience more and more enforcement, they’ll be dissuaded, but the public can help us by reporting what they see, and also reporting these storage areas. If anyone knows of someone storing their ATV or dirt bike, knowing that any ATV or dirt bike is illegal within the confines of the five boroughs, let us know. The best way to stop these guys is to get them where they store these bikes before they ever get on the road.
Commissioner Bratton: Well, let’s make no mistake about it – stabbings and slashing aren’t going away. [Inaudible] we live in New York City, we live in the world – you’re always going to have them. What we’re attempting to do however is – is one of the few crimes that is going up, is going up at a level that is of concern to us. So, that’s the additional effort that we’re putting into it. And I’m comfortable that over time, like just about everything else we focus on here, it will go down. Shootings, as you recall, when we began this effort back in 1994 with Jack Maple, we were running hundreds of shootings a week. Now, we’re reporting a hundred some odd shootings a month. And so, the focus on shootings, now aided by technology, has been of significant assistance. So, I’m comfortable that this effort that we’re going to announce in about two weeks ago at a similar conference such as this – will over time help out. But, as Dermot has also pointed out – that the overall felonious assault issue – some of that increased – a significant part of it as a result of the changes in the law – charges about choking, assaulting bus drivers, etcetera. So, as anything, we try to focus attention on it and we usually win. What’s the old [inaudible]? You can expect what you inspect? So, by going after the dirt bikes, we expect that problem will decline over time. By going after the stabbings, we expect that that problem will also decline over time.
Commissioner Bratton: Well, for example, we’ve already talked about how stop, question, and frisk activity has decline this year – we’ll probably do about 25,000. So, what we’re doing is precision policing. Instead of stopping 700,000 people, we’re stopping 25,000, and about 18 to 20 percent of those we stop are found to be engaged in a crime or carrying a weapon. So, rather than stopping 650,000 who had nothing – precision policing. Similarly, precision policing in terms of Commissioner Miller’s FIO’s working in the precincts with Bob Boyce’s detectives, their gun seizures are up dramatically this year, even higher than that 17 percent we talked about. There are those that talk about somehow the idea that New York City police officers aren’t as aggressive as they used to be. Well, I don’t see people walking up surrendering firearms to us. They’re being done by hard police work, good investigative work. So, a lot of the seizure increases in precision policing, as Dermot indicates, knowing who’s got the guns, who’s carrying the guns, and focusing our attention on them rather than hundreds of thousands of innocents.
Mayor: Let me jump in this. You know, a few years ago, I think there were some parts of the strategy that were backwards. The City was alienating the very people that we needed to protect, and that we needed to be partners and to provide information – and we didn’t have enough technology. What we see now is the opposite dynamic. The new technology is making a huge impact – ShotSpotter is playing a great role not only in addressing crime at the moment the report comes in, but it’s also playing a huge role in the investigations, which means we’re able to find guns and make arrests because of the information from ShotSpotter. At the same time, by reducing the tensions between police and community, we’re getting more cooperation from community members. And one of the things I talked about in 2013, and I believed it in my heart, and Commissioner Bratton and his team have proven it to be true – that the more we engaging communities, the more information would flow, the better the work of our cops would be. So, now, as the neighborhood policing strategies are reaching more and more precincts, we also have more and more examples of residents coming forward and giving tips to police that are resulting in arrests, that are resulting in gun seizures. So, my simple summary would be – we used to not have enough technology, and the right technology – we used to have the wrong relationship between police and community. As the technology has been improved, and the relationship between police and community has been healed, all these pieces now coming together are improving the ability of our cops to actually find that small number of truly violent criminals, but also to get at these guns. These numbers are outstanding, and it shows aggressive, smart policing.
Commissioner Bratton: Now, to echo also the CompStat procedure that Chief O’Neill and Dermot Shea head [inaudible] – has really focused much more on the quality rather than quantity aspect of this. And, as Dermot’s indicating, with the technology and all that we’re working with – the ability to focus in the city – rather, in even our neighborhoods down to the block level as to where this crime, or these types of crimes are occurring. So, we’re just getting better at it all the time, assisted significantly by the technology, but also the leadership that Dermot, Bob, and Jimmy bring into the CompStat sessions.
Commissioner Bratton: Okay, you’re speaking about the arrest of the postal worker that I already indicated that I’m not happy at all at what I observed on the various videos we have looked at. The lieutenant involved in that incident – who is one of the four and was in charge of the unit – has been modified, taking off the street, gun and badge taken away. Internal Affairs has just finished their interviews with the other officers and some of the witnesses. So, based on that those officers have been taken out of the Condition Unit, remain on-patrol for the time being until we make a final decision as to what exactly occurred at that incident.
The issue of the uniforms – we have a patrol guide procedure that is enforced by the Chief of Patrols, Chief Gomez that requires those officers to be in uniform. So part of the Internal Affairs investigation will be to understand why they were not, what their specific assignment was that would have necessitated them being in plainclothes. The vast majority of what Condition Units work on don’t require plainclothes assignments.
And I’m also very concerned that four officers who were supposed to be out on assignment instead lost most of their day processing what began as an arrest and ended up as a summons. So, I don’t see that as a particularly useful use of my police officers time. And particularly in circumstances where they’re also interrupting a U.S. mailman in a delivery truck – and the concerns about leaving that truck double-parked causing an emergency problem situation in one of our neighborhoods. So, needless to say I’m not happy about it – in terms that we have enough to do in this city without officers basically making what may be an inappropriate arrest.
Commissioner Bratton: I’m sorry.
Commissioner Bratton: I can’t speak to that. I have not seen that portion of the investigation yet.
Commissioner Bratton: Knuckleheads, nitwits, clowns whatever you want to call them. Any of those descriptions is very appropriate.
Commissioner Bratton: It should be all of your words because that’s what they are.
Commissioner Bratton: Let them go out to Long Island and ride them. We have very little park space in the city as it is – to give it over to these clowns on these bikes. You want to get one? Park it someplace else where they have space to do it. The City of New York really does not have the space to set up a space for this type of activity. That’s the reality of it.
Question: Commissioner Shea I have a question. Domestic violence is driving crime in housing. Why do you think that is? What are the factors that are causing that to happen? And what portions of the homicides are domestic-related?
Commissioner Shea: In terms of domestic violence in housing, it’s not a new phenomenon. It’s something that when that law changed approximately four to five years ago – housing crime over time and you look at when that law took effect – and I’m referring to the Obstruction, Breathing, Strangulation clause. When that made certain actions now committed a felony you saw the felony assaults in housing really spike. And it has gone hand-and-hand. Is it any more so this year? No I’m not seeing that. And then the fact is [inaudible] that remains to be seen.
Commissioner Shea: I mean I’m sure there are a number of factors involved, but trying to isolate one or two at this time – I’m not prepared to.
Question: What about homicides?
Commissioner Shea: In terms of homicides, in housing specific they’re flat for the year. I’d have to get back to you on whether or not any of those housing homicides are domestic violence. I can think of a few off the top of my head that were not, but before I definitively say there’s none I’ll get back to you.
Question: On the ATVs and the dirt bikes, when those seizures are made or those arrests are made how often are there guns found, or weapons, or other evidence of [inaudible]?
Chief Gomez: On occasion we do find contraband and weapons. I can’t recall a firearm, but just on Easter Sunday – I believe – in the 2-5 Precinct an individual had a large amount of heroin and cocaine on his person. And he was stopped as a result of one of these initiatives. And I think I may have failed to mention that over 80 percent of these bikes and ATVs that we seize are unclaimed. They are not returned. To get them back you have to prove ownership and they have to be properly registered. So, over 80 percent are unclaimed. And as the Commissioner said, after a certain amount of time they are just destroyed and sold as scrap.
Commissioner Bratton: Commissioner Shea just referenced it. Last year, he is aware of three shooting incidents in which the perpetrator was on what would be described as a dirt bike type of vehicle.
Commissioner Bratton: One, Jessie referenced the number of guns that have been recovered as a direct result of ShotSpotter notifications – some of those officers responding so quickly that they get there while the suspects are still there with the guns. Other instances they find the gun, other instances – is the collection of evidence, the shell casings in particular which then often times – all of the shell casings will be analyzed for DNA as well as for the ballistic imprints. The idea being to match them up with other guns that we know have been used in crimes. So, Chief Boyce has been very praising of how these assist his detective investigations as well as the cops with the prompt notification instantly that if they’re in close proximity they can respond. But also with our vehicle location system that is now starting to be more fully implemented. It will allow the dispatcher and the patrol supervisor to really look very quickly to see what cars [inaudible] are in the vicinity of these shootings so to direct them immediately to the scene. So, all these technologies are all coming into play. ShotSpotter, Vehicle Location Systems in all of our cars – now our marked cars – coupled with the after the fact investigations have recovered casings and guns at the scene.
Commissioner Bratton: I’m sorry, I cannot hear your question.
Commissioner Bratton: You’re talking about the story that was on the web this morning, which I’m assuming will be out there some time in the next day or so.
Commissioner Bratton: Buy-and-bust is a long-term tactic used in this department as well as probably most law enforcement agencies in America. The New York Times story that, from my perspective, had an awful lot with the individuals who were arrested and I think one line from our Chief of Narcotics Investigation. I think the story might have been a little fairer if it had more of our explanation of what we’re doing. I think out of 1,500 words – I think about 23 of those words were a question to the chief who had spent almost an hour reporting. So, we’ll wait to see what the Times actually put in the actual article. But the article I thought was pretty biased in terms of the direction they were going with it.
Commissioner Bratton: The tactic is a very essential and effective tactic and one that will continue in this City.
Robert Boyce, Chief of Detectives, NYPD: Sure – terrible incident this morning in the 7-2 Precinct. On 24th Street we had an individual park his flatbed car there between 4th and 5th Avenue. He went inside, let the car run – the truck run I should say. He came out and the truck was just pulling off the block – someone had stolen it. We had a male with a hoodie up jump in the car and take off. He turned northbound on 4th Avenue in which time the owner of the car – the 64-year-old male – 63-year-old male – chased him down 4th Avenue and caught him when he was stuck at a light. This is – as you know, 4th Avenue is a heavily populated area. Something happened there. Apparently, he tried to get back into the truck, at which point he ended up under the truck, and that perpetrator who stole the truck, ran over him [inaudible] back wheels. Again, this is preliminary so that’s what we have thus far. Two blocks away, that perpetrator dumps the car on 22nd Street between 4th and 5th again. So, that’s where we are right now. We have a crime scene up there, and that’s where we’re going with this.
Mayor: Okay, let me just say something upfront before we take questions on any and all topics. There was an article in the New York Post that was just dead wrong, and I want to talk about for a moment – referred to our anti-graffiti efforts.
We’ll move these ruffians out here.
There we go.
Referring to our anti-graffiti efforts by the Department of Transportation – the article was absolutely off base. The City Department of Transportation has not changed its anti-graffiti efforts related to bridges and highways at all. We continue to believe that robust anti-graffiti initiatives are necessary. Further, as many of you may recall from my State of the City Address just weeks ago – we doubled the overall city investment in anti-graffiti initiatives through the Economic Development Corporation. I just want to set the record straight that we have units within the Department of Transportation to get rid of graffiti on highways and bridges. Nothing whatsoever has changed – the only thing that has changed is a doubling of the City’s investment in other anti-graffiti initiatives. We’re very, very focused on graffiti as a quality of life problem, and we believe the doubling of resources will make a very big impact. With that, open to –
Mayor: The concept of the operation is to get to the drug dealer, so you can talk to NYPD about the strategic and tactical details, but the idea of this kind of operation is to get to the dealers, to get to someone higher up the food chain.
Question: [Inaudible] Bernie Sanders [inaudible].
Mayor: I think that’s ideal when you have a debate in a particular state to have representatives of that state’s media asking some of the questions because every state has different issues. So, I think there really should be a debate. I’ll state my disclosure – I’m a Hillary Clinton supporter – Hillary Clinton has made abundantly clear that she’s ready, willing, and able to debate Bernie Sanders, and by the way she does very well when she debates Bernie Sanders. I’ve said very clearly if there’s any logistical challenge that the Sanders campaign is having because they had an event that they were trying to work on the schedule of, and they had permitting concerns. Look – this is a very important moment for the people of New York City and New York State – having a presidential primary election that matters for the first time since 1992, certainly on the Democratic side. It’s a very, very important moment. We want there to be a thorough discussion of the issues. We’re certainly going to extend every courtesy to each and every campaign to make sure their events get permitted, and we’ll work to speed that process. My hope is that the debate will get scheduled, and any other events that need facilitation we’ll certainly help with.
Mayor: I’m not going to choose among all the fine media outlets of this city, but those would be two excellent choices.
Mayor: Let me begin at the beginning. The outcome was wrong. It should not have happened. We had a facility that should still be a nursing home. It is now – I don’t know the exact status – but it’s either on its way to being luxury housing, or is luxury housing. That’s not what I believe in. If I had known anything about it, I would’ve said no way. So a mistake was made. Now we have to go back and figure what happened. That’s why there is a DOI investigation. The subpoenas have been issued, that investigation will continue rapidly. What I’ve said is we need to get down to the bottom of what happened here. Who’s responsible but also were there policy problems, were there rules and regulations, what caused this? And then we need to systematically fix this problem going forward. We’ve put a hard stop on any and all alterations to deeds because we don’t want to see anything like this happen again. But the full investigation has to take its course, I hope quite quickly. We will then decide on whatever policy changes may be necessary, whatever consequences there should be for people involved, and we are pursuing legal options in terms of the company that ultimately I believe did not tell us the truth.
Mayor: Yes, if they had informed me. I would have said don’t do it. So, the answer is yes.
Question: Hillary Clinton [inaudible] town hall [inaudible].
Mayor: I think that’s a fine choice of host.
Question: Yes. How important is it for the First Lady to attend that event?
Mayor: Chirlane McCray is a strong Hillary Clinton supporter – fellow Wellesley graduate, fellow feminist. And she really wants to do all she can to help get Hillary elected, and I can say because I’ve spoken to her about the event – she is honored to play a leadership role, and she’s going to work very hard on behalf of Hillary Clinton.
Question: You said the city lied to you in the Rivington House issue. The city has a mechanism for preventing [inaudible] take the word of the people that it deals with. [Inaudible] measure that could have been taken to [inaudible]? What wasn’t that investigated or done in this case? And the last line of defense is your own office’s Office of Contract Services – the head of that office you said is that perfect person to clean up that [inaudible]. She signed off on this deal.
Mayor: I am convinced that Lisette Camillo is the perfect person to make DCAS work more effectively. That is a strongly held view from working with her over the last few years. The question here is – I want to know the same answer you’re looking for. I want to know what got missed because it just shouldn’t have happened. And if it was a problem in the checks and balances, it was a problem in the rules and regulations – I want to know what went wrong here. Because it just shouldn’t have happened. But I’m not going judge any individuals until we’ve had a full investigation.
Question: Mr. Mayor, I’d like to go back to the [inaudible] Vision Zero. [Inaudible]
Mayor: Yes, my message is these are dangerous – these bikes, these motorbikes and ATVs are dangerous. They don’t belong in New York City. We’re coming for them. We’re going to be very aggressive. We’re going to take them away. They’re not legal. So, all it takes is for a police officer to find someone with one of these illegal vehicles, and right there they’ve broken the law. We have them dead-to-rights. So, I agree entirely with Commissioner Bratton. We’re not only going to take them away, we’re going to crush them on TV to make a point that we don’t accept these in New York City. They don’t belong here – and the public can help us. Report them when you see them but particularly help us if you know where they’re stored. Because the best way to protect the public safety is for us to get them before they ever go out on the road.
Mayor: I think in this instance, the message is important – and I think we have to show how resolute we are.
Mayor: I’m not familiar with it. Obviously, I don’t approve of any effort to censor, you know, messages from Israel. But I don’t know the specifics. I’d have to look into it. I’ll give you an answer when we know more about it.
Question: It’s striking a lot of people as strange that there’s, you know, the big celebratory $15 minimum wage, paid family leave rally today. You’re not there [inaudible]. Can you just explain a little about why not be there or if there’s some [inaudible]
Mayor: I think you guys are a little hung up with all due respect. You know, I think this all makes a lot more sense than the way it is being reported. And I think bluntly, there’s a lot of editorializing in the reporting that just doesn’t make sense. This is someone who I had the honor of being their campaign manager for long ago, I have a strong relationship with. I wanted to see a very clear vision for where she wanted to take this country, when she put that vision out there – I said I’m with her 110 percent. And I’m going to keep doing everything I know how to do to help her. Now as to the specific rally – the rally came together. We got short notice, which is understandable – that’s normal during a campaign. We could adjust the schedule – and that’s fine. There’ll be plenty of other of events that I certainly look forward to doing with her in the coming days.
Mayor: I still think you’re hung-up.
Question: [Inaudible] getting to this place in the Democratic Party, where the governor is signing Paid Leave Bill today [inaudible].
Mayor: I think there’s a process of change going on in this country, and going on in our party. And I’m proud to have played some role. I don’t want to overstate the role. I think the greatest credit – this one goes to the Fight for $15 movement, which has been exceptional, and was counted out years ago, and proved tremendous tenacity and strength. I talked a lot – you’ll remember the day, I think it was about a year ago, when the Fight for $15 had rallies in dozens and dozens of cities around the country simultaneously. And so, that’s where the first credit belongs. But progressives around this country over the last few years have been making more and more of a difference on these issues. In October of 2012, I laid out a vision related to taxing the wealthy so we could have full-day pre-K. A lot of other progressives around the country have pushed the issue of higher taxes of the wealthy. A lot of other progressive have pushed for higher minimum wage. Obviously, we did that with the $15 minimum wage for our city workers, and for our non-profit workers. Like other cities, we added people – added a million people with paid sick leave. So we’ve made a major focus early on paid sick leave, ultimately giving that benefit to a million more people.
This part of something much bigger. And that is what I started working on with my fellow progressives very systematically a year ago when we organized the progressive agenda, when I went out to Iowa and spoke about these issues there. What’s abundantly clear is the country’s becoming more progressive. The Democratic Party is becoming more progressive. The question of income inequality, which I’ve had the honor of speaking about since 2012 and 2013 is now front-burner, front-page news in this country – where it should be. And the public are demanding answers and responses. So I think it is a great step forward that New York State has acted. I commend Governor Cuomo. I commend the legislature. I commend our friends in California, our friends in Oregon. Something very big is happening here, and I’m going to do everything I know how to do to deepen this trend because this only the beginning. There’s a lot more work to be done. And so, I’m going to continue to work with progressives all over the country because we have to do more to address income inequality.
Question: Mr. Mayor, this year a lot of the homicides that have occurred have been domestic in nature. [Inaudible] and you’ve talked a lot about catching people [inaudible] between mental illness and violent tendencies but yet it persists that some of the homicides that are occurring have people who have been treated, at times at city facilities, city agencies, hospitals, with a psychiatric issue. Do you feel enough is being done, and how do you expect to balance between the middle and release, and how do you assure success once someone is released?
Mayor: Okay – lots of questions within that question. Let me do my best. On the questions related to committal – only medical professionals can make those decisions, and we have to honor that. But the process until this administration came along was exceedingly loose. And what we found in incident after incident was people had mental health problems that were documented and it was documented they were not getting the treatment that they needed, and they had a history of violence that was documented. They had been arrested, they had been charged, they had convicted of acts of violence. And yet there was not effort being made to address those two problems, and how they interconnect.
We created a new approach, and it has just begun. So, I want to emphasize – your question is there more work to be done? There’s absolutely more work to be done because this will take a huge culture change to get agencies to work together that never have because this is NYPD, it’s the Health Department, it’s HHC. It’s a whole variety of agencies that are going to have to work together to act on each case as it emerges, but also ultimately identify people who have these characteristics - and thank god have not yet committed another act of violence - and getting to them in time to get them into treatment or for a medical professional to determine if they should in fact be committed to some type of mental health facility.
This process has begun. It’s going to take a lot of work because it’s never been done before. Certainly, no city’s tried to do this systematically that we know of. What I’ve said very squarely to the leaders of our agencies is - if we don’t crack this code, if we don’t figure out how to do this, we will miss opportunities to stop violence. I’ve given them a very clear mandate. We’ve put lot resources in already. We’re going to be putting more in. It obviously connects with the bigger initiative my wife has begun – ThriveNYC– in terms of making mental health service more available to New Yorkers and early in the lives of New Yorkers.
And I think by the way, when ThriveNYC fully takes effect, I think you’re going to see more people get treatment and stay in treatment because it comes with elements that actually encourage continuity of treatment because right now if you stop getting treatment there’s no consequence. We want to create consequence - we want to maximize that continuity. My mandate to my team is we’ve got to get at that nexus strategically and break through.
Mayor: I’m aggressive, in fact, someday I’ll make Goodman admit that my decision memo process is a very effective tool for avoiding things like this, and in fact forces everyone to communicate and be accountable. What I say to people is – and remember, I’ve spent a lot of time in government, so I have a decent sense of what each agencies does – if it’s something that is strategically complicated, if it’s something where there are real substantive issues and philosophical issues, I would rather them come to City Hall than be held at an agency.
This one was a no-brainer to me. All you have to know is know me – I would never let a nursing home turn into luxury housing, if I had a choice.
Go ahead, Goodman. You’re supposed to say ‘since I was referred to, I want my 30 second rebuttal.’
Question: [inaudible] is there any way you’re ensuring [inaudible]
Mayor: Again, that’s why we have a full investigation – it’s not so much about the question as the loop, first we have to figure out what happened and why, and again what decisions were made, what checks and balances were in place or not in place. What policies were governing over the decisions? So I don’t want to assume anything until the investigation is completed. What is - I’m very proud of being a hands-on leader, and what this is further evidence of is when in doubt on something that’s truly consequential – I consider this truly consequential – people in agencies should seek the guidance of City Hall, and if it’s something important it should come to me as well. Now, it’s a huge government, so there’s plenty of things that don’t rise to that level obviously. But this one – you know, here’s my simple answer – someone should’ve said no farther down the food chain, and if they didn’t know how they should’ve come to me and I would’ve said no very, very quickly.
Mayor: He said those were drag racing cars.
Mayor: Again, this is – there are times in life when you make to make a statement. So I look forward to standing with the Commissioner when we crush a number of these dirt bikes and ATVs. He called it a crush in – like a sit in, he called it a crush in. I look forward to joining with him.
You know, the folks who do this, think they have a right to bother everyone else and to disrupt their peace and to endanger their safety. They just don’t – they don’t have that right, it’s against the law. So we’ll send a very vibrant message to them that we’re coming for them, and we will prevail. And I think it’s consistent with one of things that the Commissioner said. Once we focus on an issue and put real resources in it, things change. And we’re going to be very, very focused on this issue, we’re going to change the dynamic in this city and get these guys off the street.