The summer heat waves are really in July. The NYPD recently released citywide crime statistics for the past month and they have almost entirely increased in all areas compared to July 2021.
Headlining the report is a 34.3% increase in murders. Robbery and armed robbery saw even bigger jumps. In fact, only rape was down out of the top seven index crime categories. And only 7%, a fragile margin given the historically serious under-reporting of sexual assaults.
“We know that any increase in crime in our city is completely unacceptable,” said Police Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell. “Everyone who lives, works and visits here deserves to be safe, and members of the NYPD will tolerate no less, but we can’t do it alone.”
Gun violence remains a problem, with 21 more shootings in July than last year. But even with the spike in crime in July, the number of murders and shootings has declined this year. According to CompStat, both fell about 10% from 2021.
As for historical context, 527,257 major crimes were reported in New York in 1990, including 2,262 murders. Midway through 2022, the NYPD reports 74,539 major crimes reported as of August 8, with 261 counted murders.
Hate crimes are also higher in July, which saw an overall increase of 50%, with incidents based on anti-Semitism and sexual orientation leading the way and nearly doubling from a year ago. But Audacia Ray, director of community organizing and public advocacy at the New York City Anti-Violence Project (AVP), says the numbers don’t tell the full picture.
“The numbers AVP sees are usually higher than what the NYPD sees because people are calling us for help,” she said. “If you fund prevention and reporting, you get more reports, which may or may not follow an increase in violence.”
However, she is noticing an increase in violence directed at LGBTQ+ New Yorkers this summer, including at Drag Queen Story Hour events held at public libraries, schools, and bookstores across the city. The attacks were a first for most, and many ran their programs for five to six years.
Tandy Lau is a member of the Report for America corps and writes about public safety for the Amsterdam News. Your donation to match our RFA grant helps him keep writing stories like this; please consider making a tax deductible donation today by visiting: https://tinyurl.com/fcszwj8w