March 23, 2022
Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell today announced a citywide initiative in response to the increased numbers of shootings and thefts in New York City, as well as the rise in quality-of-life offenses that contribute to crime and disorder.
The initiative – a response to the public-safety concerns of everyday New Yorkers – will deploy NYPD officers across boroughs and bureaus. They will work in tandem to rapidly identify and respond to crime trends and to address the conditions that fuel them.
"As I stated on my first day as Commissioner, after visiting an officer who was shot two hours and thirty-nine minutes into the New Year, there are too many people carrying illegal guns and too many people willing to use them,” said NYPD Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell. “That has to change. Now."
The NYPD recently enhanced its targeted gun-enforcement efforts with the deployment of the department’s new Neighborhood Safety Teams. Now, uniformed officers on patrol will be augmenting the mission of these Safety Teams by expanding their focus beyond 911 calls. They will be performing a proven best practice for reducing violent crime: proactive engagement with offenders who commit violations that lead up to an act of violence – whether on the streets, in the transit system, or in our public housing developments.
This enforcement initiative is community-driven, and is a direct response to the victims of violent crime. We must address every public-safety concern, in every New York City neighborhood, and we will never tolerate any increased threats to the people we serve.
Often, the community complaints that can be precursors to violence include: the open-air selling of narcotics, including marijuana; public drinking; public urination; dice games that lead to disputes and shootings; and the dangers of unlicensed, unregistered, or uninsured drivers operating on the most crowded city streets in the nation.
"These are the things that people are calling to complain about," said Chief of Department Kenneth Corey, "and the NYPD owes them a response. And while most encounters begin with a warning, when our officers see someone ignoring those warnings there will be enforcement."
Over the last weekend, including through Monday of this week, New York City saw 31 shootings where people were struck by bullets. One of those wounded was a 7-year old girl – an unintended victim caught in the crossfire of two rival gangs.
"We know from experience, as the weather gets warmer, that thirty-percent of all shooting incidents are preceded by multiple reports of other lawbreaking and violations leading up to that violence,” said Chief of Crime Control Strategies Michael LiPetri. “Engaging in proactive enforcement can be the difference that prevents that next shooting, and prevents the next child from being harmed."
NYPD tracking of quality-of-life condition complaints shows that in year-to-date comparisons since 2019, calls about groups drinking on the street have doubled to 3,193 from 1,452, and that calls about loud parties in public spaces increased to 9,013 compared to 3,338 in 2019. In the same time period, 911 calls reporting people with knives in the city’s transit system have increased by 139%, while reports of drug sales in the subway have increased by 71%.
"We have increased police presence and we have increased enforcement," said Transit Bureau Chief Jason Wilcox. "As a result, we have increased ridership. We are back to an average of 6.3 index crimes a day on a system carrying between three and four million people – but our enforcement efforts in partnership with the MTA will not slow down".
In the new initiative, the first wave of increased enforcement will be focused in areas experiencing the most shooting incidents: the Bronx and Brooklyn, specifically in the neighborhoods of Brownsville, East New York, and Cypress Hills. Together, the 17 precincts that cover those two geographic areas account for almost half of the city’s shootings.
Under the initiative, the department’s Neighborhood Safety Teams (NSTs) will work seamlessly with the Neighborhood and Youth Coordination Officers (NCOs and YCOs), as well as with the Field Intelligence Officers (FIOs) who focus on identifying the locations and individual drivers of violent crime in each command.
"To be clear," said Commissioner Sewell, "this is NOT a return to Stop, Question, and Frisk – nor is it 'policing for numbers.' This enforcement will be responsive to community complaints and concerns, and will address the violent crime patterns officers and detectives are confronting. This is precision-policing aimed at reducing violence in the neighborhoods seeing disproportionate numbers of shootings – and it is what the public is demanding."
This new enforcement initiative is one part of the NYPD’s comprehensive criminal justice response to increasing violence in New York. This effort will require the support of the city’s District Attorneys’ offices, our federal and local law enforcement partners – including the Gun Violence Strategies Partnership, and all the people we serve.