New York City Mayor Eric Adams insisted Friday that the Big Apple "would defeat crime" after recent police statistics showed nearly every type of criminal offense – including subway and hate crimes – was up in the month of February.
The New York Police Department released its crime statistics for the month of February late Thursday, showing a 58.7% increase in overall crime compared to February 2021. "Every major index crime category saw an increase for the month of February 2022," the NYPD said.
"New Yorkers deserve better."
The NYPD identifies the seven major index crimes as being murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and grand larceny auto.
"The department has made far too much progress over the decades – and invested far too much in the communities it serves – to fall back by any measure," NYPD Commissioner Keechant L. Sewell said in a prepared statement. "New Yorkers deserve better."
Speaking to reporters at an unrelated press conference on Friday, Adams – who was sworn in as mayor just over two months ago – said city offices were "executing our plan, and we’re going to defeat crime."
Joseph Giacalone, an adjunct professor for John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York City, said the latest crime figures – which come just over two months after Adams took office – don't "bode well for his plans."
Adams has unveiled several plans for the city, including one for the subway, and a "Blueprint to End Gun Violence," and the NYPD has launched a 90-day gun violence prevention plan.
"I just question … the execution of the plan," said Giacalone, a retired member of the NYPD. "If they don't get their hands around this, like yesterday, it's going to it's going to spiral out of control."
A LOOK AT THE NUMBERS
Hate crimes collectively soared 189% last month compared to February 2021, with anti-Semitic offenses leading with a staggering 409% increase, the NYPD said.
There were 56 anti-Semitic attacks in February 2022 compared to the 11 reported during the same time last year.
Meanwhile, anti-Asian attacks saw a 125% increase year over year, from 4 reports in February 2021 to 9 last month, the NYPD said. And bias crimes against Black individuals doubled, from 8 to 16, police said.
On Wednesday, the NYPD arrested 28-year-old Steven Zajonc for allegedly randomly attacking seven Asian-American women on Sunday night.
Zajonc allegedly carried out his attacks against women ages 19 through 57 and over the course of just more than two hours, typically punching or elbowing them in the face or body. In each case, he did so without saying a word and without having any prior interactions with them.
SUBWAY CRIME PERSISTS
Subway crime has made headline in recent walks and months, after a spate of sometimes unprovoked attacks and murders in the transit system.
Transit crimes saw a 73.3% increase in February 2022, with 182 incidents reported compared to the 105 offenses in February 2021, police said.
Subway crimes increased 205.6% from Feb. 21 to Feb. 27 alone, police said.
In one of the more noteworthy instances, from Feb. 24, a New York City Health Department research scientist was on her way home from work and was entering a Queens subway station when she was attacked by a stranger with a hammer.
The victim, 57, was critically injured, and suffered a fractured skull and a brain bleed. Her attacker was ultimately charged with attempted murder, robbery and assault.
Before then, on Feb. 21, a 43-year-old woman was assaulted by a stranger who smeared human feces all over her face and upper body inside a Bronx subway station after she reportedly rejected his advances. The suspect was arrested, but was released without bail. He was immediately rearrested for a hate crime offense from late 2021 in Brooklyn, according to multiple local reports.
And in January, 40-year-old Michelle Alyssa Go was standing on the subway platform inside the Times Square subway station in Manhattan when a stranger allegedly pushed her in front of an oncoming train, killing her. The suspect was charged with murder.
The rampant subway crime is a far cry from Mayor Adams’ enforcement plan, which took effect on Feb. 21 with efforts to revamp the transit system’s safety and security practices. The zero-tolerance program aimed to provide services to homeless individuals and those experiencing mental health difficulties, and target loiterers, turnstile-jumpers and criminal opportunists.
But problems have persisted. On the day of the program’s launch, at least two people were assaulted in the subway system.
SHOOTINGS ARE DOWN, EVERYTHING ELSE IS UP
Grand larceny auto – or car theft – and grand larceny – the theft of an item worth more than $1,000 – topped the charts in terms of index crime increases for February. Grand larceny auto jumped 104.7% year over year, while grand larceny increased 79.2%, police said.
Meanwhile, murder increased 10.3%, from 29 in February 2021 to 32 last month, and felony assault saw a 22.3% uptick, cops said. There were 134 rapes last month, compared to the 99 reported in February 2021, a 35.4% increase, according to the NYPD. Robberies increased 56%.
On Friday, Mayor Adams said Police Commissioner Sewell would be deploying the NYPD’s new version of an anti-unit soon, once she feels the officers are "properly trained."
"We’re going to get it right," he said. "And we're not going to do it based on the timetable of others."