Murders and rapes are down, but crime and police response time ticked up in the city last year.
New York City recently released its annual report card, the Mayor’s Management Report (MMR), which analyzes the performances of city agencies during the past fiscal year. Fiscal years run from July 1 to June 30.
This year’s report card was a roller coaster of sorts, as many agencies featured gains while others saw performance slip.
Though response to crimes in progress jumped more than 40 seconds, times to structural fires and medical emergencies fell. The MMR found streets to be cleaner, but parks messier. Crashes are down, but traffic fatalities swelled.
Mayor Michael Bloomberg looked positively at the numbers, saying a majority have seen significant improvements not just over the past year, but since he took office.
“New York City services and operations have consistently improved over the last 10 years — even through difficult economic cycles that required cost-cutting measures — because of our commitment to finding innovative ways to deliver better services at a lower cost,” Bloomberg said. “Our willingness to try new ideas and technologies, and our committed city workforce, have helped us find never-before-seen solutions to old problems and allowed us to overcome fiscal challenges to provide the quality of services our 8.4 million residents and more than 50 million visitors expect and deserve.”
Felonies rose four percent from fiscal year 2011, while response to crimes surpassed nine minutes.
Councilmember Peter Vallone, chair of the Public Safety Committee, said he does not think these numbers accurately reflect the inability of police to respond to crimes or any calls requiring the NYPD. Vallone said there are numerous stories of people waiting hours for police to report to the scene of an accident or hit-and-run.
Vallone, though, did not place the blame on the department, but rather the continued lack of officers, which has dropped below 35,000 from a high of nearly 41,000.
The crime rate increase is more complex than just lack of police, said Vallone, and involves the removal of mandatory minimum sentences from the Rockefeller Drug Laws allowing criminals to quickly return to the street.
“I’ve spoken to officers who see a drug dealer they just arrested back on the streets,” Vallone said.
The NYPD did not return requests for comment.