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Transcript: Mayor de Blasio, Police Commissioner Bratton Hold Press Conference to Discuss July Crime Statistics

August 4, 2016

Police Commissioner Bratton: Good afternoon. Before getting into the actual press briefing, which we give you each month on the crime statistics for the previous month as well as for the year-to-date, the significance of holding this event in this room today is to commemorate the 15th anniversary of the death of Jack Maple, who died August 4th, 2001. One of the great joys I had coming back as commissioner, once again, was it gave me the opportunity to fulfill a dream, and that dream was to in fact rename this room in honor of Jack Maple, one of the creators – along with Lou Anemone, and many others – of the CompStat process. 

This morning, CompStat was held here, as it is every Thursday, in this room. This morning, the discussion was around crime issues on Staten Island. Jack Maple, as you’re all well aware, was a great friend, great confidant, and one of the architects of one of the most significant turning around of crime in America, which, in some respects, not only in this City, but in the United States, was influenced by his time with us. I’m very pleased that as we go into this morning’s – excuse me, this afternoon’s discussion, that, now, for almost 25 straight years, this City has experienced overall crime declines, which we will have the pleasure of reporting on once again today. 

So, I thought it just fitting to be in this room, to celebrate an extraordinary life, celebrate continuing extraordinary accomplishments that continues every day to impact positively on the lives of 8.5 million New Yorkers – a much safer New York than the subways that Jack, and I, and Jimmy O’Neill patrolled back in 1990, ’91 – and the streets of the City that we helped to make much safer, beginning in 1994. 

Jack’s book was appropriately titled Crimefighter – that’s the greatest accolade that you could give to Jack Maple was that he was a crime fighter – a crime fighter extraordinaire and we’re all the beneficiaries of that unique skill; all the criminologists in the world, everybody who studies crime – none of them compared to that guy because he understood it better than any of them. So, today, we commemorate and celebrate an extraordinary life that benefitted this extraordinary city.

In terms of the gathering today, I’m pleased that the Mayor is here to join with us to discuss the crime situation of the City of New York. The run of the show will be – I’ll open up, as I’m in the process of doing, I’ll then turn it over to our Mayor. The Mayor will then turn it over to Chief O’Neill, to frame some of the presentation that will be made by Dermot Shea, and then by Bob Boyce, Chief of Detectives – will discuss really for you in the press a smorgasbord of takedown events. We’re on a roll. We’ve talked to you about an increasing acceleration of our efforts to go after gangs, organized crime, narcotics. I think today you will see reflected in Bob Boyce’s report that we are continuing to fulfill that commitment and fulfill it with some very significant successes. 

I have one prepared paragraph I’d like to read, and I will ask the Mayor to basically open up the session for us.

We’re witnessing in the City the confidence of the peace [inaudible] and precision policing in New York City as we define it. Shootings continue to fall precipitously, as Dermot Shea will soon report, as do overall arrests, but not felony arrests. Takedowns – we’re undermining even the most [inaudible] criminal enterprises – also contributing to a double-digit rise in gun arrests. These results, coupled with the continued expansion of the Neighborhood Coordination Officer program – the NCO program created by Chief O’Neill and Chief Gomez – ensure that the NYPD is at the forefront of a new policing model that fosters a city that is safe and fair everywhere for everyone. 

I want to commend the men and women of the Department for their ongoing dedication and excellence. Their actions, their activities, their successes are what we are going to very proudly report on at this press conference with you today.

With that, Mr. Mayor, welcome. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio: Thank you. Commissioner, I want to join you in congratulating the men and women of the NYPD because this sustained success is outstanding, and it comes from the handwork of so many of our officers at the grassroots. It’s really working and we expect more to come.

Let me start by thanking you, Commissioner. It has been a fantastic 31 months working together. We’re in a room that reminds us of how much can be done if you’re open to new ideas and new strategies. The creativity and the innovation that you have brought to this work throughout your career have been in evidence these last 31 months, and done so much for us. And I want to thank and congratulate members of the dream team over here – Chief Jimmy O’Neill, First Deputy Commissioner Ben Tucker, and Chief Carlos Gomez – who I am looking – I’ve been working with them now for years and I look forward to the work we’re going to do together. This is a new leadership of the NYPD that everyone in this city can be proud of. And, I like to say it, I like to repeat myself – proud son of Flatbush, proud son of Bed-Stuy, proud son of Jackson Heights – this is something that – I think all New Yorkers can feel a real sense of, you know, warm appreciation for the fact that these three men came up in our neighborhoods, served this Department for so long, and now will have the top jobs and lead us forward. 

Jack Maple – I never had the joy – and I’m sure it would have been a joy to spend time with Jack Maple – but I have felt his presence many times, whether in a CompStat meeting or in the strategic discussions we have in One Police Plaza or City Hall. This is a guy who helped people think differently and the imprint is being felt to this day. And there are some people who do great things in their time, and then there’s people who go even farther and leave a way of thinking, a mindset that just continues on and on, and that’s Jack Maple. So, I’m glad we’re honoring him today. We can’t say thank you enough to him and his family for what he did for this city. 

I want to commend all of the leaders present in the NYPD because we do have this good news to talk about. Everyone – everyone has a share of this success. I also want to thank the Chair of the Public Safety Committee in the City Council, Vanessa Gibson, who’s been a key ally and someone we’ve turned to over and over again, and we always have to give credit where credit is due – the City Council – for the focus they put on increasing the size of our police force. Again, by the end of this year, 2,000 more officers will be on patrol, meaning a good thing will get even better.

Now, this has all been about strategy, it’s been about the ideas that Jack Maple started, the ideas that Bill Bratton carried on throughout his career, that our new leadership team is steeped in. And this point about pin-pointed policing – really going at the problem consistently – you’re going to hear a lot today about the takedowns, the number of takedowns, the quality of these takedowns is astounding, and it just keeps growing and growing. I want you to understand that when you go after those few thousands individuals who do so much of the violence – once they’re gone, they don’t come back. There may be some other people coming up through the pipeline, but we will deal with them. Once the gang structures are disrupted, the real bad apples are taken off the street long-term; it makes a huge difference in this city. And every time we take out of circulation one of the real problem people it frees up more time and energy to go after the next challenge. And you see this over and over again in this report – the fact that there’s improvement across the board. In so many areas, we’re seeing reductions and improvements, but that also means we’re freeing up time and energy to go after the next problem.

When you talk about the reduction of arrests it means that those officers have time to go deal with more serious crime because they are not stuck doing the drudgery that used to come with some of the unnecessary low level arrests. So this is a police force that is using its talent more effectively, all the time; focusing the talent on where the need is greatest. And that’s why you see these numbers continue to improve. You’re going to hear from Deputy Commissioner Dermott Shea in a moment and obviously I think these numbers reflect our strategy. I also think they reflect the growth of neighborhood policing because neighborhood policing as we’ve said comes with the ability of our officers to get a lot more information than they used to before. This is crucial. Think about it in terms of intelligence gathering; when our officers know about a problem before it fully manifest; when a neighbor tells them where a gun may be; where the illegal social club may be; when they talk about a potential gang retaliation before it happens; when our officers are empowered with that information they stop crime before it ever happens. So, the fact that neighborhood policing is now expanding to 51 percent of the precincts and then going on from there, that’s also going to have a big impact on the quality of our policing.

Just quick high points in the report you will receive today, overall index crimes – that means major violent crimes and robberies – down almost one percent year-to-date. And in specific terms 511 fewer index cries in the first seven months of this year than the first seven months of 2015 – 511 fewer major crimes; and when you think of it just in terms of July, compared to last July, index crime on that monthly basis down seven percent – so, very, very impressive and consistent numbers. Let’s talk about shootings. This is one, I think, everyone cares about deeply. Over the past seven months shootings went down 20 percent, 139 fewer shootings at this point this year compared to the same point last year; huge impact on the lives of New Yorkers. Homicides down four percent compared to last year; now, all of that with 11,000 fewer arrests. Commissioner Bratton has really educated the people of this City on the point that arrests are one of the tools a police officer has at their discretion. And we wanted to make sure the police were able to use all their tools. I know the City Council felt that strongly as well. Again, we have seen a big change in the use of time and energy on that level and in the reduction in the inappropriate us of stop-and-frisks.

All of this has freed up police time and energy to go at the problem more effectively. When you see these kinds of consistent numbers they tell you something profound has happened. And our officers are finding the problems very, very consistently and yet not needing to use the tool of arrests in some situations they would have in the past. This is a very striking combination. So, it means people in the City will be safer. As we continue these trends our officers will be safer, but we always talk in this room about not resting on our laurels. We know we got a lot more to do. We know that one homicide is one homicide too many; one shooting is one shooting too many. We know that there are neighborhoods where we have to do more and people have to feel safer, but they can at least see all across the City that this progress has been sustained and there is much more where that came from.

It has been about the tools we’ve given this department, the resources, the personnel, the training, all of that adding up – the new strategies and the new things we’re doing to keep our officers safe. And you saw that extraordinary display a few days back of the new helmets to protect our officers in active shooter situations – the new ballistic vests all of the tools that we need to give our officers to keep them safe; those are all coming and they are coming quickly to aid our officers.

Quickly in Spanish.

[Mayor de Blasio speaks in Spanish]

And with that it is my pleasure to turn to Chief Jimmy O’Neill.

Chief of Department James O’Neill, NYPD: Thank you, Mr. Mayor. So, I’m actually going to pass the ball over to Dermott. He’s going to do his crime report first and then I’m going to make some comments and pass it over to Bobby Boyce. So, Dermott?

Deputy Commissioner of Operations Dermott Shea, NYPD: Good afternoon, everyone. As we take a look at July’s crime statistics – another solid month behind us in New York City and really the trend that we have seen for some months now continues in the downward pressure on overall index crime. Overall, as the Mayor alluded to, we were nearly 700 fewer crimes recorded in July this year versus last. The seven percent reduction in these numbers will all be released in a press release to you; interesting and quite an accomplishment that every borough of New York City took part in that crime reduction – every borough was down for the month of July in index crime. We are now down nearly one percent in overall index crime for New York City. And again, whether it is July or the first seven months of the year cumulative we’ve never seen numbers this low. We continue to push it lower in the modern CompStat era.

In July alone, some of the records that we set were overall index crime, the amount of shootings recorded, the amount of robberies recorded, the amount of burglaries recorded, and stolen cars; so, quite an accomplishment. When you talk about the shooting numbers it is worth spending a moment on, 11 straight month where we recorded under 100 shootings for the month. We had never before this July recorded under 100 shootings for the month of July since we started recording shooting incidents in New York City. It’s actually two straight months – June we were under 100. That is the first time we did that and this July when we recorded 96 – never before done. That is 11 straight months now that we have recorded under 100 shooting incidents per month in New York City. Let’s stop for a second just to consider eight-and-a-half million people. When we started counting – and we just referenced Jack Maple. When Jack Maple and Commissioner Bratton started that process of recording shooting incidents over 20 years ago we had a population in New York City – at the time – of between 7.2 to 7.4 million. We have increased by a million and the shooting numbers have plummeted. I have often in these press conferences talked of the momentum and I think you are seeing it here, whether we’re talking about Jesse Tisch’s contributions with the technology; whether Chief O’Neill is with the NCO program – the added officers. We still feel that we are building and we’re going to not hit our peak anytime soon. When you look at the shooting numbers – 20 percent year-to-date, 131 incidents fewer – 139 fewer people shot this year.

I’ll just finish by talking about a couple more topics and one being this week alone – Bob is going to get into numerous takedowns that took place, but I’ll reference three here; one in Brooklyn, one in Queens, and one in the Bronx. You will not find a better example of targeted precision on individuals that are what 24 months ago we referenced as that cycle of violence – repeat offenders, multiple gun arrests; today a shooting victim, tomorrow a shooting perpetrator. Those three cases that were done with local prosecutors, in these particular cases, Queens, The Bronx, and Brooklyn arrested approximately 80 individuals in three gangs and closed 23 prior shooting incidents – 23 prior shooting incidents. I’m sure Bob has a lot of room to gloat on his clearances, tremendous work.

I referenced today at CompStat when we had Staten Island and Jack Maple – and the sign is right up there – the relentless follow-up. I think he would be very pleased. It is not a good time right now to be a criminal or a gang member in New York City. Our cops, our detectives, every day are continuously pursuing them. Gun arrests – 13 percent increase year-to-date. We’re not satisfied with making the gun arrests. We’re working closer than ever with our prosecutors. The price of carrying a gun in New York City, if it’s up to me, it’s going to go up. We’re building stronger cases, initial evidence, promising, I’m not satisfied – is going up – longer sentences on the cases that I’m pulling. We’re doing it smarter – if you carry a gun in New York City, there’s going to be a hefty price. If you commit a robbery, Bob’s detectives are going to catch you quicker than ever – that’s the message we’re putting out. In terms of overall crime – and I’ll finish with there’s always work to do – Bed-Stuy this week in the news – several shooting incidents in the 8-1. We have a small increase in domestic violence-related crime. Domestic violence-related crime is hitting us when we speak of rapes. It affects our homicide number. It affects our overall index crime number. About 11 percent of the overall index crime is domestic in nature. So, there’s always work to do. As an example, in July, three categories of crime were up even though we set an all-time record for index crime. Rape was up, felony assault was up, and murder was up 33 versus 31, but I have to point out that we’ve had 14 murder reclassifications from prior years this year – 14 versus 10. Four of those 14 occurred this month in July. We’ve put on the books a murder from 1987, for example. So, for this month, really, 29 of the 33 occurred this month – 29 versus that 31. So, there is always work to do, but, overall, continued trending down in crime and some really positive going on. 

Thank you.

Chief O’Neill: Thanks, Dermot. So, I just want to talk for a couple of seconds about how we got here – and so much of it has to do with the hard work of the men and women of this police department, but we certainly can’t do it alone, and if we’re going to continue to push crime down even further it’s got to be with everybody in this city, particularly with the community. I’m going to talk about neighborhood policing in a couple of seconds, but, before that, I want to talk about our partners also. We do none of this alone. We do so well with all of the DA’s throughout the City, with parole and probation. Our federal partners with the FBI – we’ve had some great takedowns with the FBI, the DEA, and the regional Fugitive Taskforce that’s with the U.S. Marshal Service. 

A lot of how we got here – it’s precision policing, and so much of that happens in this room right here. Dermot and I just sat in this room with a couple of hundred of our closest friends from Staten Island, and we had a CompStat. And CompStat is – it’s how to get better. It’s not an adversarial meeting, it’s how we use all of our resources to get better and continue to reduce crime. Staten Island is in very good shape. Chief Delatorre is doing an excellent job out there, as are the four precinct commanders. A lot of this also has to do with the unified investigative model, the work of Bobby Boyce. As everybody knows, we combined OCCB and its detective bureau months ago, and that model seems to be working. To have all those investigative units under one chief, working on the same mission, and that’s reduce violence and crime in this city. And Bobby’s going to talk about some gang takedowns. 

I can’t understate how much technology plays into this. The smartphones are an absolute God-send to us. The cops – you know, we thought they were going to use them one way – and they do – but it’s a younger generation, and the uses that they’ve come up for them just in response time alone – and some of this is anecdotal, but I’ll give you some hard numbers in a second – they’re saying that in the critical crimes in progress they’re getting to the jobs about a minute faster because the jobs are coming over the phones first. We have the tablets, we have ShotSpotter – so much of the technology is helping us to reduce crime. And neighborhood policing, in October, will be in over 50 percent of the commands in New York City. That is – the cops are embracing it. The community is embracing it. We have a lot of work to do. I’ve talked about change in the past – cops sometimes have a difficult time with change, sometimes they have difficult with the status quo also, but this change is a good change – it’s a good change for this City and it’s definitely for the police officers because we’re pushing that decision making down to the level where it should be. We’re enabling them to use discretion, which they should use. This is how we get in touch with the community and make life so much better for everybody involved. 

I just want to talk about response times. And this is – I’m not sure if we were – we thought this was going to happen. I had an idea with the neighborhood policing model – that it would reduce response times, but not to the level that it is. We’re on track to have the lowest response time since 2010. Critical crimes in progress – down 10 percent in the first seven months of this year from five minutes in 2015, to four minutes and 30 seconds so far in 2016. So, that’s 30 seconds faster. All crimes in progress – down 7.7 percent in the first seven months of this year from eight minutes and 41 seconds in 2015, to eight minutes and one second so far in 2016. A lot of factors go into that – we have more cops on the streets thanks to the Mayor and the City Council. Thank you, Vanessa. The NCO program is helping us reduce that response time with the additional people in police cars – and then, of course, the smartphones as I spoke about before. So – a lot of good things going on in this Police Department, and, starting in the middle of September, I’m ready to go. I’m going to continue the great work of Commissioner Bratton, and I look forward to this opportunity to make this city even safer. 

So, I’m going to turn it over to Bobby Boyce, and he’s going to talk about some takedowns. 

Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce, NYPD: Good afternoon, everyone. Each month I go through the precision policing program that the Commissioner’s put forth, and go down through the takedowns. So, I’ll go through what we’ve done in July – a total of nine takedowns, four of which are firearms. During that, we recovered 95 firearms. Four narcotic locations – narcotics [inaudible], I should say – in that, we’ve recovered 29 kilos of heroin, eight kilos of cocaine, 743 pounds of marijuana, and about $820,000 in this month alone. 

In one of those cases – narcotic cases – was the operation Trusted Source – that was retail-level heroin sales that were creating an issue in Staten Island where people were actually overdosing and dying on it. We took those cases from street-level, and built them up, and took down that set. Now, we’ve seen in the last two months less overdoses in Staten Island, as we talked about this morning. A key victory for us – we’re helping to stop this problem we have.

One gang set was taken down, as well as an organized crime cases as well. This week along, we’re going to go up to a very strong August. We have taken down five cases in three days. One in Queens, which is the Flock Gang in the 1-0-1 and 100 Precincts; one in Brooklyn, which is the operation Lincoln-Bergin, which is both in Brooklyn North and Brooklyn South – 21 gang members; a lot of prior shootings between these two groups. One in the Bronx in the 5-2 Precinct – operation Whoop De Doo, which is a Blood set there. We then took down this morning Operation Beach Party, a subject in the Howard Beach location of the 1-0-6 Precinct, during which – if I can have that graphic – we arrested John Gotti Jr. He is the grandson of John Gotti and lived in the same house. This is his drug organization. In this time, you’ll see the second row there – those are the suppliers. The bottom rows are also other sellers. And the male in the bottom right is the money holder – he had $200,000 in his apartment today. We went into their location – the former home of John Gotti Sr. – and we recovered $40,000 in cash and 500 oxycodone pills. This is what he was selling on numerous – about five separate occasions, selling oxycodone in that area. He also has a tattoo parlor that we went into as well and recovered property from there as well; so, a very busy morning. We got him and we also took down another set – Operation Moving Target – this is a 44-month investigation with the FBI in the southern district of New York. We were able to arrest 46 members of numerous crime families – Genovese, Lucchese, Bonanno, and Gambino. They were involved in traditional loan sharking, sports gambling, casino-style clubs, credit card fraud, healthcare fraud, firearms trafficking, and arson. So, they’re – I think we have four left to go today. So, we had a very busy four days. We’re going to continue this model as we go forward, identifying criminals and criminal organizations that are creating most of the crime in the City.


Unknown: We can open up to police-related questions. 

Question: I’m wondering if you have any update in Howard Beach, the extensive investigation happening over there?

Chief Boyce: We are still in the process of crime scene collecting evidence right now. We will be out there for several days. That is a remote area. We have crime scene set up there. We plan to chop down just about every weed in that location until we are satisfied that we got all the evidence. Now we have a lot of forensic evidence acquired so far, but we’re not getting a lot of crime stopper tips. We have three, and they’re all pretty generic, so we have since raised the reward up for $10,000 for any information. That is a very strong community. I’ll be out there as soon as I leave here. We’ve got nothing but support from everybody out there. We hope to have more information. Now, this is a remote area. Young lady was running, still daylight, so we’re hoping somebody saw something going into the park. Thus far we don’t have a lot of leads on this right now, but we’re still collecting evidence. The evidence that we’ve collected thus far is in the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner. We’re hoping to get it up on a DNA profile in the next couple of days.

Mayor: I just want to add very quickly. We really need the public’s help on this one. So please, in all of your coverage, this is a situation where anybody who has any information – even the possibility – something might help the police. This is a real tragedy, and as a parent my heart goes out to the father. I can only imagine what he’s feeling. All of us have to help this family. Anyone who knows something needs to call it into the police right away.

Question: [inaudible]

Chief Boyce: It’s a murder sir, that’s the difference. This is a homicide. We have missing persons all the time. We have – unfortunately – sex crimes all the time. However, this is an extraordinary case of murder, that’s why we’re doing this.

Question: Have there ever been any reports of anything similar like this where people have been followed there or [inaudible]?

Chief Boyce: We have them – I tell you – we have them often in this city. No one is the subject of murder. They’re usually late at night. If we have them on the street – rape one – stranger rapes, are down in this city. Nonetheless we still get them. This type of incident where you have a jogger in a park – in a recreational center – in daylight hours is extraordinarily unusual.

Question: Chief, what is her phone telling you?

Chief Boyce: We found out through her phone that her dad had called her as we thought it was. But most of the time it was him wondering where she was, and that’s what started the investigation. We also saw that she had texted her friend while she was running – not unusual. They were going back and forth. We have that friend – it’s her best friend. Not a lot right now on the phone. We did swab it for DNA. We’ll see if we get a profile from there.

Question: Chief, on the Howard Beach [inaudible] in terms of the [inaudible] DNA source material [inaudible] was she sexually assaulted? [Inaudible]

Chief Boyce: That’s correct. We did a search warrant there this morning. In a safe – John Gotti Jr.’s, who’s the grandson – in a room right off his room we found a safe with 500 oxycodone and about $40,000. That’s – it is the same home you’ve been seeing on the news all these many years. In regards to the DNA, we hope to get – we’ll enter that, see if we enter that in the [inaudible] and see if we get a match with that. Outside of that, we’ll send it out to outside labs that will give us even more information as technology marches forward. We’re able to tell actually freckling, color of eyes. It’s extraordinary how far we’ve gone with DNA examination [inaudible] now. That’s what’s coming forward in the next couple of days. If you remember, the Daniel St. Hubert case, something very similar. We had no eye witnesses, but we did have a DNA profile. So that’s the focus right now. Crime scene is going to be up for the next couple of days. We’re hoping to get more.

Question: Two crime stats related questions. One is – at the six month briefing you talked about how police involved shootings are basically flat. I don’t know where they are at the seven month mark [inaudible] any explanation for why they wouldn’t see a similar drop if [inaudible] index crimes, then why would the police involved shootings be flat?

Commissioner Bratton: Chief O’Neill can speak to that.

Chief O’Neill: Actually, police involved adversarial shootings were up by four. And these are such small numbers. We had 19 last year and 23 this year, so the numbers are small, so it’s not necessarily going to follow the percentages of the large numbers of overall shootings and crime.

Question: One other category [inaudible] parks, have you seen some numbers in New York City crimes is basically flat, but violent crimes are up something like 23 percent. Do you have any explanation for that? Is some of that related to Parks Department not having enough resources in some of the outer borough parks? What’s your theory there?

Chief O’Neill: Again, it’s going to be small numbers, so it’s going to be a small percentage of overall crime. That cycle is going to come up and down a little bit – the percentage numbers are going to go up and down a little higher than overall crime. As far as Parks, we do work in conjunction with the Parks Department to make sure we have enough personnel spread out through the City. Obviously in Central Park we have a precinct there. Prospect Park is covered by the 7-8, and all the other precincts cover the individual parks in there. So we do have a great working relationship with the Parks Department to make sure we have adequate coverage.

Commissioner Bratton: You also need to take into consideration the huge growth in use of our parks. There was an article – I think New York Times – maybe this morning that reflective of that. I can remember when I lived across from Central Park in 1994, when I moved into that building my first night as police commissioner; one of my neighbors had left me an envelope asking me to do something about the conditions at the entrance at Columbus Circle. She had a series of photos showing as many as two dozen drug dealers, openly selling drugs at the entrance to Central Park. The parks in the City are heavily utilized, so some of the victimization you’re seeing is reflective of those many larger numbers of people in the parks. But the overall numbers are still very, very small. Also reporting of crimes in the parks is a relatively recent phenomenon in the sense of focusing on that area, much the same as the way we’re reporting crime in the schools. So we’re eight-and-a half million people in the City, a couple hundred thousand tourists roaming around every day, sixty-million tourists a year. This is Jack Maple’s face up there – we will be relentless until New York is in fact the safest city in America. It is – bar none. With maybe the exception of San Diego, which is not New York City.

Mayor: Well said.

Question: On the 11,000 fewer arrests year-to-date. Can we get a little bit more information on how – what percentage of those are now summonses, and what the breakdown has been on those and where those come from?

Deputy Commissioner Shea: The nearly 11,000 fewer are – none of those are summonses, those are all arrests. Those are individual show were placed into the criminal justice system. They may have been released on an appearance ticket, and many of them are. Those numbers are going up. But they were all in essence arrested. We track very carefully, the arrests that we make. We’re down – I believe it’s about 10,700 and change – it’s nearly 11,000 – just this year. If you look at the two year number you’re up close to 40,000 arrests fewer than just in 2014. We’re at a level right now in New York City where we are – you would have to go north of 20 years to find numbers resembling what we are making now. We’re truly – when you talk about precision. We have refined the process of analysis done at many different levels exactly when possible because there’s clearly there are types of arrest that we don’t have discretion on making. We respond to a domestic dispute, and we’re going to make those arrests every time that we can. But then we make difficult decisions on how we put out our enforcement units whether it is anti-crime, gang division unit – you name it. And we make very critical decisions on an everyday basis of what type of arrests are going to get the biggest impact and drive the crime down – specific types of crime – even further. The commissioner mentioned 11,000 fewer arrests. We are still up in felony arrests this year, and as I’ve said before within felony arrests we’re up in index crime arrests, we are up in the gun arrests. We are going exactly in the right direction in our arrest activity and always looking to improve on the return on that investment.

Question: I didn’t mean of the 11,000. I was thinking that last year they were – summonses were [inaudible]. Is there an increase in summonses that sort of replace [inaudible]?

Deputy Commissioner Shea: Quite the contrary; there is a significant decrease in the criminal courts summonses issued. So, I’ve hit this at I believe at the half-year mark; stops significantly down, criminally court summonses significantly down, arrests significantly down. We are attempting to get to that Holy Grail, if you will, which I don’t know that we ever will completely but we are never satisfied of getting to the balance of cases that have a great return on investment at the same time that we are employing more and more NCO commands and building up the communication with the public. When we get the public out there and the NCO commands increased communication to further contribute, we think we are going to see that crime decline escalate.

Police Commissioner William Bratton: Let me speak to this for a moment to hopefully once and for all clarify; 1990 – 550,000 reported serious index crime in the City of New York, population 7.5 million, about 22 million tourists. 2016 we’ll have about 100,000 fewer crimes with 8.5 million population, 60 million tourists, many fewer crimes being committed because there are many fewer criminals. What happened? We controlled behavior to such an extent we changed it, from minor crime, fare evasion, serious crime, murder, shootings. We are also reflective of the fact the City is a much safer place; we don’t need to issue as many summonses. We certainly don’t need to do as many stops. 1996 at a speech at the Manhattan Institute I talked about the first time the phrase was used the peace dividend. We would increase our arrests activity, as you saw during the 90s, we increased it dramatically in our summonses, fare evasion arrests, but there would be a bell curve where after the behavior change, there’d be less need for the police to make arrest summonses. The process is continuing. So the good news is as Dermot indicated, arrests are down dramatically but arrests for serious crime, precision policing, those are actually up percentage wise; so this is simple. This is not rocket science to understand. It is a specific policy of this department to try to reduce arrests because we don’t have to make as many. If I can tell somebody to get off the corner or stop lying on the bench or get your feet off the subway seat, let’s try that first before we go to a summons or before we go to an arrest. It’s basic policing.

Question: [Inaudible] Blue Lives Matter Bill making it a hate crime to assault a police officer.

Commissioner Bratton: I’m sorry I didn’t hear that question.

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner Bratton: Quite frankly I’m not familiar with that bill. There are already a number of laws on the books for assaulting police officers, one of the pieces of legislation the Mayor signed yesterday, while there was a lot of media focus on the idea of us having to report out assaults that occurred – citizen complaints against police officers when making an arrest that same bill also requires that we report out assaults against our police officers. And so we are attempting to the best of our ability to track both, injuries incurred during arrests not only by civilians but also by our police officers so I am not familiar with that particular bill, but certainly we have quite a few bills already on the books that allow us to charge for assaults against officers.

Question: I have two questions directed toward Commissioner Dermot Shea. Is DV on the rise or is other crime going down, domestic crime, and domestic violence? And then Richard Boyce, has there been a shift from the team crew aspect of the gang takedown to this more traditional organized crime or is it [inaudible] their old family names?

Commissioner Shea:  On the first part, a little of both. We do have a slight increase in domestic index crime this year, domestic overall crime – up four to five percent. And as you see other crimes – again, we mentioned robberies, we mentioned burglaries, we mentioned stolen cars. As those crimes have plummeted quite frankly – it is always a difficult task that behind closed doors, we put a lot of resources, time, and are always looking to reduce domestic crime but at times, quite frankly it is difficult. When you look back, and I am going back about seven to 10 years, index crime and the percentage of it that was domestic was about seven percent. Because of other the crimes dropping, also remember because of some changes in the law, the strangulation is the one that really, as soon as that law was passed you saw the felony assaults go up. You saw the domestic violence cases go up. So we went from about seven percent to where it’s currently about 10 to 11 percent of all index crime, so it’s a fairly significant jump.

Chief Boyce: Just to answer your question, we specifically targeted the street crews, the gangs, and that’s where we’ve seen a tremendous reduction, and that’s where we’ve taken down – you’ll see I think 74 gang takedowns thus far this year. That’s specifically targeted to those street gangs who are creating all the violence. As Dermot said, we had 96 shootings for the month of July. The best month – July we’ve had in a long time. Last year, there was 31 out of 1017 were gang. So that was – we had a 58 percent reduction. This year it is 13 percent. So, we saw dramatic reductions in the specific precision policing; we’ve done very well. As far as organized crime, we’ll always chase organized crime around. There’s no shift there. They are still there. A lot of their influence has been changed in this City. We’re just making sure this younger generation – as you see John Gotti Jr., young man, that he doesn’t get to the same level that his grandfather did.

Question: [Inaudible]

Deputy Commissioner Shea: Are you talking shootings or reports of SpotSpotter? Really, in both cases, I’d have to get back to you with some numbers. 

Question: [Inaudible]

Deputy Commissioner Shea: Okay, yeah, we’d have to get back to you. But let me just say, I personally am very pleased with the addition of ShotSpotter technology and what it is bringing to us. It is getting us to a point where we want to be much quicker. And, in our business, days sometimes equals lives saved, so, when we make connections on responding to a shots-fired incident that we may, quite frankly, not have known about before, and now we pick up potentially one piece of brass. Everything in our business in making connections, and making informed decisions, and everything then drives Bob’s enforcement. And when we make connections that we wouldn’t have known about before and start getting on these gangs quicker, whether it’s two shootings before four, five shootings before 10, we are – you’re seeing the fruits of the labor. That is a significant drop in shootings. It’s the most frequent question I get – how are you doing it? And that’s coming from other cities. 

Commissioner Bratton: A further expansion on that question that – the old measurement was shots-fired calls to 9-1-1 – that was the base we worked with. The new measurement base – or, additional measurement base – will be shots fired picked up by ShotSpotter. The problem in establishing that base is ShotSpotter is an expanding program. All of the sites are not in. The Mayor and the City Council are funding more. So, we have two measurement streams, one that has been the traditional that we can work against. We have fewer shots being called in from 9-1-1 than we did last year, but the ShotSpotter measurement is one until we finalize the implementation of that system – I think it’s growing close to 60 square miles when we’re done. I don’t believe we’re actually there. Jesse stepped out of the room – we’d have more specifics, but if you want more specifics on that, Jesse Tisch can provide that for you. 

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief Boyce: Right now, we’re in the midst of investigating that – a very strange story. The father is someone we’re looking at for this [inaudible]. He had exclusive opportunity. I don’t want to go too far into it, but it’s a very strange thing that they took the child to a [inaudible] priestess because they felt she was acting abnormally. We’ve spoken to that lady, because it just seemed to be the issue here, but, nonetheless, we believe the father is involved in this. Right now, we’re talking to the Queens DA in regards. 

Question: [Inaudible] 

Chief O’Neill: To quantify the success of neighborhood policing? First and foremost, it’s a crime fighting model. Alright, so, we’re in the business to keep people safe and there’s many ways to do that. We can do that by ourselves, but we’re not going to continue to push crime down even further, so we have to do that in conjunction with the people that live and work in the communities where we have neighborhood policing, and the model seems to be working. There’s a couple of other things we’re going to measure – not just crime, we’re going to measure response time, we’re going to measure the number of 3-1-1 and 9-1-1 calls, because the more we get to know the people in the community, if there is a 3-1-1 – chronic 3-1-1, we should be able to resolve that, thereby have a reduction in 3-1-1 calls. And we’re also working on surveys for community satisfaction, and also for police officer satisfaction. I think pushing that decision making down to the level where it should be should make the police officers in this city feel really good about themselves. And it’s also a way to mentor leadership in this Department.

Commissioner Bratton: Let me expand on that. We will be shortly having a separate press event on the polling that Chief O’Neill referenced. No American police department has ever had the resources to poll how we are doing. And we are going to do it for the first time in the history of this country, and we’re going to do it on a larger scale than just about any poll that you’re used to. You’re oftentimes reporting on Quinnipiac, which is talking to 600 or 800 people, or national polls that sometimes might do as many as 2,000. We will be doing, on average, 20,000 at a time. We will be doing it down almost to the block level in every precinct of this city. We’ll also be doing voluntary polling of our own officers at the same time. Nothing like it has ever been undertaken in American policing, and I would argue probably nothing like it has ever been undertaken by any polling operation in any venue in this country. So, we will shortly – the Mayor will be unveiling this effort that we have identified the funding for, and it’s going to be extraordinary. So, in terms of how are we doing, we’ll be able to tell you every month when we hold this CompStat, and I think we’re going to find, that under Chief O’Neill’s leadership, we’re going to be doing very well with him and Mayor after I step away.

Mayor: I also just want to say – just one more point on neighborhood policing – you know, there’s the tangible and the intangible – they both matter. The tangible, just like ShotSpotter gives us the brass, as you say, gives us the shell casing, and the evidence – gets our officers to the scene more quickly. When a neighborhood resident tells an NCO about a crime that might be imminent about something they’re suspicious about and allows our officers to get there to stop something before it happens. And I know Jimmy’s told me some of those stories, and I’ve heard directly from some of the NCOs, you know, the things that were stopped before they happened, and that’s going to add up, and add up, and add up – so, that’s the tangible. I think the intangible is the relationship between police and community. We know that we will become safer as we bond police and community, and that is an every-day effort. So, every single time a community member has a good experience with a police officer, a communicative experience, it’s going to want to make them come back and share more information. They’re going to tell their family. They’re going to tell their neighbors. So, his is something that changes the whole tone of the city over time, and that’s also has ultimately a very real impact, because the more there’s an assumption that everyone’s on the same team, the more progress we can make. 

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief O’Neill: Yes, her personal life has been talked to. Yes, we have spoken to those people and it is not an issue. No, he is not a suspect.

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief O’Neill: None that we have found so far. Not all the homes have video, some do. We haven’t found any video evidence at all to show anybody lingering in the neighborhood.

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief O’Neill: I’m sorry, say it again.

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief O’Neill: I’d have to get back to you because I don’t know. I was briefed about it this morning; I don’t know how things have changed. So, let me get back to you later on about that.

Question: Matthew [inaudible] was the cyclist killed in Williamsburg in the 90th precinct. He was killed on the 2nd of July. The car was recovered on   July 6th, no arrests have been made. Do you have any information on that?

Chief O’Neill: I’m familiar with –

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief O’Neill: I’m familiar with the case, but I would not investigate that normally so I was briefed on it but I don’t have an update for you so I can’t answer your question on that.

Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner Bratton: I can’t give you an immediate response to that, haven’t thought it through. Not familiar with the bill in terms of where the specific language is. I have already indicated that there are very significant laws for assaults against police officers whatever the motivation. If it is a hate crime we’d classify it as a hate crime and prosecute accordingly, so as to whether there needs to be a specific crime I don’t have an opinion and I am not familiar with the particulars of the bill that you’re referencing.

Question: Chief O’Neill, will you miss wearing the uniform and in the press release where your promotion was announced it called you called Jim and on the card in front of you it says James – do you have a preference.


Chief O’Neill:  Well, Rich actually Jimmy is good. Jimmy is good. James is a – I think I have been called James a couple times in my life. And I think you met the women that called me James and it is only when she is mad.


I have been thinking about this long and hard and it’s – I have six more weeks of wearing this uniform and I have been wearing it since 1983. I’m so proud of it – what it represents and what we have been able to accomplish over these 31 months with Commissioner Bratton, but also of the 33 ½ years I have been a cop. So, yeah Rich I’m definitely going to miss wearing this uniform.

Question: Chief O’Neill, you mentioned before that [inaudible] community policing has been working. Have you seen any other concrete – I know that you and the Commissioner mentioned some of the [inaudible], but have you seen any concrete evidence that [inaudible] that is has already been effective –

Chief O’Neill: We have anecdotal evidence, but as far as crime I can give you some numbers that we have and this as of 7/31, July 31st. In the NCO commands murders are down 5.6 percent, robberies down 5.9 percent and shooting incidents we’re doing very well, we’re down 19.8 percent. So, by the numbers we are doing well, and anecdotally talking to the cops we’re doing well, and in talking to people in the community I know we’re doing very well also. And again, this is a program that has just begun so we have a long way to go.

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief O’Neill: They were talking about something girls talk about. It was just what to wear and things of that nature. That was the text message from our victim sometime after 5 o’clock, after she had started her run. When she started her run around 5 o’clock and she should have returned about 40 minutes later, she didn’t. So that was the last text message that was on the phone, she was texting her best friend.

Question: [Inaudible]

Chief O’Neill: [Inaudible] of people just hanging around and one on a bicycle, nothing that we can – nothing concrete at all who anybody can identify.

Question: Chief O’Neill, how committed are you to implementing the deal that Commissioner Bratton cut with the City Council on right to know and to Councilmember Gibson, how are you going to make sure that they keep up their end of the bargain?

Chief O’Neil: This is – I have been part of the process of the – you know, the amount of time it has taken and it was a long hard road to get to where we are so I am totally committed to the deal that was made.

Question: Commissioner Bratton, you’re going to be going to the private sector to make money [inaudible].

Mayor: That was gently put.


Question: [Inaudible]

Commissioner Bratton: First off, I’m not afraid of any presidential candidate. I’m afraid of what one of them might do.


Secondly, this is my last public sector job. I have been at it for 48 years – started in 1966 as a military policeman in the U.S. Army. And I think I have done my fair share so it is time to go and pursue new opportunities, new ventures and sit on the side lines and watch my successors rack up further successes.

Mayor: Amen.

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