As 2023 winds down, police data shows crime in New York City has dropped a total of 4% in 2023 after climbing last year, according to a preview of year-end crime statistics NYPD officials shared with Gothamist.
The drop corresponds to a huge uptick in arrests for what police call “major crimes,” which include murders, rapes, burglaries and robberies. For those, police say they have made more arrests than any time since 2000.
The number of people shot in the city has dipped nearly 50% since 2021, said NYPD Chief of Crime Control Strategies Michael LiPetri. He said police contributed to that drop by carefully tracking about 1,000 people they suspect are responsible for a large percentage of the city’s shootings.
“We’ve really honed in on the drivers of crime and violence in New York City,” LiPetri said.
But the downward trend had two exceptions: car thefts and assaults. Police officials said the rise in assaults may be partly because more New Yorkers are living on the street who may become involved in violence – either as victims or perpetrators.. Meanwhile, police said a TikTok trend was partly to blame for the spike in car thefts.
Here is how some different types of crime played out this year, according to police data through the first half of December.
There were 377 murders across the five boroughs from January through Dec. 17, down from 438 in 2022 — flattening a troubling spike during the pandemic when the city experienced its worst gun violence in nearly a decade.
There were 1,401 reported rapes so far this year, down 11% from 1,572 during the same period last year, but experts warn that police data on rapes captures just a sliver of sexual assaults.
“Rape is one thing that gets underreported,” said James Dooley, a former NYPD captain and assistant professor at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice.
There were 194 fatal shootings this year as of Dec. 17, down 19% from 239 fatal shootings during the same period last year. Non-fatal shootings dropped 26% to 750 so far this year down from 1,016 during the same period last year.
There were 1,111 shooting victims across the city through Dec. 17, down 30% from 1,522 during the same period last year. Since 2021, there have been 700 fewer shooting victims, according to LiPetri.
As part of its strategy for preventing shootings, the NYPD has focused on a group of 1,000 people it claims are involved in most of the city’s shootings, he added, either as shooters, suspects in shootings, or by being present during shootings.
“We’re sharing more data than we’ve ever shared in the past” with district attorneys’ offices, LiPetri said, adding that those offices have been prosecuting more gun arrests this year. Police are tracking suspected shooters more closely, especially those who are arrested and rearrested for similar crimes, and sharing those patterns with prosecutors, LiPetri said.
Dushoun Almond, who grew up in Brownsville’s Riverdale Towers and now works as an antiviolence advocate with CAMBA in the same neighborhood, said arresting and jailing New Yorkers doesn’t solve the root causes of gun violence. Almond’s team has worked hard to connect young New Yorkers at risk of committing violent crimes with much-needed resources, he said.
“The NYPD may not see it because they’re not taking the time out to talk to individuals, or individuals [are] not letting them in like that because they think they just want to get information out of them,” Almond said.
This year, Almond says his team has connected some teens they feared were at risk of becoming involved in gun violence with GED programs and free therapy.
“We need to find a way to make therapeutic resources cool,” he said.
Felony assaults — or when someone intentionally causes someone else serious physical injury — have spiked 30% since the pandemic hit. There were nearly 27,000 reported felony assaults this year, up from nearly 21,000 in 2019.
Assaults may be on the rise due to a rising number of New Yorkers with mental or drug-related illnesses are living on the street who may be more likely to be involved in violence, either as victims or perpetrators, Dooley said. The number of New Yorkers sleeping on the streets and subways is up nearly 18% this year, Gothamist previously reported.
Dooley, who used to work in the NYPD’s homeless outreach unit, said preventing outbursts of violence will take a “multifaceted” approach. He says affordable housing and mental health support are what’s needed most.
“It’s not just a law enforcement thing,” Dooley said. “We’re living in an era of paucity … Everyone’s broke.”
About 15,200 cars were reported stolen so far this year. That’s up from roughly 5,400 reported stolen cars in 2019.
The spike is fueled in part by a TikTok trend daring people to hotwire Hyundais and Kias with a USB cord and screwdriver, according to police officials. The NYPD has responded by deploying one patrol car in each of the city’s 77 precincts dedicated to searching the license plates of stolen vehicles using a camera. Police have made nearly 2,000 arrests for car thefts through Dec. 17, up 45% from the same period last year.
So far this year there were about 16,000 reported robberies, where someone stole property by using force or the threat of force. That’s down 7% from 2022.
Grand larceny, where someone stole property without using force, has been trending up over the last decade, with a dip during the pandemic. There were about 48,500 reports of theft so far this year, roughly the same as the number of reported robberies in 2000 .
Burglaries, where someone illegally enters a building with the intent to commit a crime, have also steady declined since the early 2000s, despite a jump during the pandemic. There were about 13,000 reported burglaries so far this year, down from nearly 16,000 in 2022.
Crime in the subway dropped 2% this year, Gothamist previously reported. Overall, there were 48 fewer serious crimes like murder, rape and robbery in the transit system than last year.
The most marked change was 65 fewer robberies. There were also seven fewer reported rapes and four fewer murders in the transit system this year.
The spike in arrests and tickets for fare evasion was much starker. Officers made 250% more arrests and issued 160% more tickets for fare evasion through September, compared to the same period last year.