NYC: MURDER & RAPE SURGE

A rise in homicides and rapes in the city have police working overtime to determine why.

Aired on March 11, 2019. 

TRANSCRIPT

> GOOD EVENINGED ON WELCOME TO 'METROFOCUS.'

I'M RAFAEL PI ROMAN.

NEW YORK VERY WELL MAY BE THE COUNTRY'S SAFEST BIG CITY AS THE MAYOR LIKES TO SAY, BUT THERE IS A TROUBLING SPIKE IN VIOLENT CRIME THAT HAS SOME CITY LEADERS WORRIED.

IN RESPONSE, THE PD HAS DEPLOYED MORE OFFICERS TO PRECINCTS SPREAD ACROSS THE BRONX, BROOKLYN, MANHATTAN AND THE QUEENS FOLLOWING A NEARLY 40% SURGE IN MURDERS THIS YEAR, FROM 38 KILLINGS IN JANUARY AND FEBRUARY OF LAST YEAR TO 52 SO FAR THIS YEAR.

RAPE IS ALSO UP ALMOST 20%, THE INCREASE IN CRIMES COMES AS OTHER BURGLARIES AND ROBBERIES PLUMMETED TO RECORD LOWS.

WE'RE TALKING VERY LOW.

THESE ARE THE LOWEST HOMICIDE NUMBERS WE'VE HAD SINCE THE 1950s.

SO THERE ARE GOING TO BE PERIODIC FLUCTUATIONS.

WHAT THE TREND SHOWS US IS WHAT IS SO STRIKING.

THE OVERALL CRIME NUMBERS IS DOWN 11%. WE HAVE TO SEE THAT IN PERSPECTIVE.

I THINK IF WE SAW SOMETHING WHERE A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT CATEGORIES WERE ALL GOING IN THE SAME NEGATIVE DIRECTION, WE WOULD BE VERY, VERY DEEPLY CONCERNED.

FOR A CLOSER LOOK AT THE NUMBERS AND THE CITY'S RESPONSE, WE'RE JOINED NOW BY NEWS DAY NEW YORK CITY CRIME REPORTER ANTHONY STEPHANO.

WELCOME TO THE PROGRAM.

THANK YOU.

THE PRESS CONFERENCE YOU ATTENDED, THE MAYOR AND NYPD WERE EMPHASIZING DECREASE IN CRIMES.

BUT YOU HEARD THE NUMBERS I GAVE.

YOU KNOW THE NUMBERS, THE SPIKE IN VIOLENT CRIMES, THE ONE THAT MATTERS MOST TO NEW YORKERS, LET'S FACE IT.

WHAT ARE CITY OFFICIALS SAYING IS CAUSING THESE SPIKES?

WELL, THEY'RE -- THEY TEND TO THINK THAT CERTAINLY IN TERMS OF THE HOMICIDES, THAT THE PROBLEM HAS BEEN IN THE AREA OF GANG VIOLENCE AND DOMESTIC HOMICIDES.

THOSE ARE THE ONES THAT PROBABLY ACCOUNT FOR HALF OF WHAT WE'VE SEEN SO FAR THIS YEAR.

IT PRESENTS PROBLEMS.

ONE IS A LOT OF THE DOMESTIC HOMICIDES ARE BEHIND CLOSED DOORS.

COPS AREN'T GOING TO BE ON THE STREET SEEING SITUATIONS THAT DEVELOP SO THEY CAN'T INTERCEDE NECESSARILY.

SO IT'S TWO THINGS.

IT'S THE GANG VIOLENCE AND THE DOMESTIC VIOLENCE SITUATIONS THAT ARE FUELING THE SPIKE IN HOMICIDES.

WHAT ABOUT THE SPIKE IN RAPES?

THE RAPES, THE RAPES ARE INCREASED, HAVE BEEN INCREASING OVER THE LAST FEW YEARS, BUT THIS IS DRIVEN IN PART BY THE OUTLIER OFFENSES, THE OFFENSES THAT HAPPEN IN PREVIOUS YEARS WHICH PEOPLE, VICTIMS NOW BECOME MORE EMBOLDENED TO REPORT THIS YEAR.

SO THAT'S DRIVING THAT INCREASE.

THAT'S BEEN TRUE FOR THE LAST TWO OR THREE YEARS.

I SEE.

I KNOW YOU TALK TO COPS ON THE STREETS.

WHAT ARE THEY SAYING?

IS THERE IS A DISCREPANCY BETWEEN WHAT THEY'RE SAYING AND THE TOP BRASS IS SAYING?

IT'S A SENSE OF FRUSTRATION FROM SOME OF THE PEOPLE ON THE STREET, THE OFFICERS THAT THE NEIGHBORHOOD POLICING DRIVE IS SUCKING A LOT OF RESOURCES.

THERE IS NEIGHBORHOOD COORDINATION OFFICERS.

THERE ARE SUPPOSEDLY SECTOR COPS.

SO THESE ARE DEDICATED COPS FOR THIS PARTICULAR FUNCTION.

BUT THESE ARE COPS THAT HAVE BEEN TRADITIONALLY DOING OTHER KINDS OF WORK.

SO THERE IS A FEELING WE'RE BEING PULLED IN A LOT OF DIFFERENT DIRECTIONS.

YOU MEAN THERE IS A FEELING THEY HAVE BEEN PULLED AWAY FROM REAL CRIMES.

EXACTLY TURKEY, THE INDUSTRIES.

KEEPING IN MIND OF COURSE THAT CRIME IS DOWN.

SO WHAT ARE WE DEALING WITH?

AND DIPLOMACY ON THE STREETS PACE OFF SOMETIMES.

IT DOES.

NOW THE NYPD HAS PUT IN EFFECT, WHAT IS IT, A FIVE-POINT PROGRAM AS A RESULT IN ORDER TO DEAL WITH THIS SPIKE.

TELL US ABOUT THAT.

THAT'S CORRECT.

AFTER THE SPIKE WAS EVIDENT IN BROOKLYN, MAINLY IN BROOKLYN, THEY INITIATED A FIVE-POINT PROGRAM WHICH BASICALLY INVOLVED PUTTING MORE COPS, ABOUT UP TO EIGHT COPS IN PARTICULAR PRECINCTS.

ENFORCING THE CEASEFIRE PROGRAM, WHICH IS AN ANTI-GANG INITIATIVE.

WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

TALKING TO GANG MEMBERS?

YES.

WHAT HAPPENS IS GANG MEMBERS ON PAROLE ARE PULLED IN AND TALKED TO, GIVEN SORT OF CONVERSATIONS ABOUT, YOU KNOW, YOU REALLY SHOULD BEHAVE.

WE HAVE ALL THESE SERVICES FOR YOU.

IF YOU DON'T, WE'RE GOING TO RATCHET THIS UP.

YOU MENTIONED BROOKLYN.

THAT'S WHERE MOST OF THE SPIKE IS OCCUR, AT LEAST IN HOMICIDES.

THAT'S RIGHT.

THAT'S RIGHT.

I SAW A FIGURE THAT THE BROOKLYN D.A. SAID IT IN THE PRESS CONFERENCE THAT THEY CONVICT -- CORRECT ME IF I'M WRONG.

THEY CONVICT 50% OF CASES OF GUN VIOLENCE.

THAT RIGHT?

THAT'S TRUE.

IN BROOKLYN, D.A. GONZALEZ SAID THAT AFTER TRIAL, THEY GET A 50% CONVICTION RATE.

THE OVERALL CONVICTION RATE FOR CRIMINAL POSSESSION OF A WEAPON CASES, CRIMINAL POSSESSION 2 IS ABOUT 50, 55%. THAT'S HISTORICALLY THE WAY IT'S BEEN.

IT SEEMS LOW TO ME.

IT DOES SEEM LOW.

BUT YOU KEEP IN MIND A LOT OF THESE CASES GET DISMISSED BECAUSE YOU GET A CAR STOP.

COPS GO INTO A CAR.

THERE IS ONE GUN IN THE CAR WITH FOUR PEOPLE.

FOUR OF THEM ARE CHARMGED CONSTRUCTIVELY WITH POSSESSION OF A GUN.

ULTIMATELY ONE PERSON IS GOING TO OWN UP TO THE GUN.

THE OTHER THREE CASES ARE DISMISSED.

THERE ARE ALL SORT OVS THINGS THAT ARE GOING ON HERE.

AT THE PRESS CONFERENCE, THE MAYOR TALKED ABOUT HOW WE NEED CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORM IN ALBANY IN ORDER TO HELP COMBAT CRIME IN THE CITY.

WHAT CRIMINAL JUSTICE REFORMS IS HE TALKING ABOUT THAT THAT WOULD HELP THE REDUCTION?

HE WASN'T VERY SPECIFIC AS I RECALL FROM THE PRESS CONFERENCE.

I KNOW THAT THEY'RE TRYING TO GET NO CASH BAIL ON A LOT OF SITUATIONS FOR PEOPLE WITH NONVIOLENT OFFENSES.

HE HASN'T REALLY IN MY MIND FLUSHED THAT OUT VERY WELL.

AND HE THINKS THAT THAT WOULD HELP REDUCE THE CRIME RATE?

SOME ARE SAYING -- SOME OFFICERS ARE SAYING THAT BECAUSE THERE ARE DEFENDANTS WHO DON'T HAVE TO PAY ANY BAIL NOW, THEY'RE BACK ON THE STREETS ON THE SAME DAY, AND THAT THAT'S ONE OF THE PROBLEMS.

WELL, BEAR IN MIND IF YOU'RE A NONVIOLENT OFFENDER, IF YOU CAN'T PUT A DOLLAR CASH BAIL UP FOR A LOW LEVEL OFFENSE OF SOME SORT LIKE A PETTY LARCENY, I DON'T SEE WHERE THAT'S A GREAT PUBLIC SAFETY ISSUE.

OF COURSE BAIL IS NOT GOING TO BE DONE AWAY WITH FOR PEOPLE WHO ARE VIOLENT OFFENDERS.

SO IT DEPENDS ON HOW THIS IS STRUCTURED.

IN FACT, WE'VE DONE MANY SEGMENTS HERE ABOUT DEFENDANTS LANGUISHING IN RIKERS ISLAND AWAITING TRIAL BECAUSE THEY CAN'T PUT UP THE BAIL, BECAUSE THE BAIL IS SO HEAVY FOR THEM.

I REMEMBER YEARS AGO SEEING STATISTICS WHERE THERE ARE PEOPLE WHO COULD NOT POST A DOLLAR BAIL, AND THEY HAD TO LANGUISH IN RIKERS.

SO THIS FIVE-POINT PROGRAM, SHOULD THAT ASSURE NEW YORKERS THAT THE STREETS ARE SAFE?

OR IS THERE MORE TO DO?

I THINK IT SHOULD TELL NEW YORKERS THAT THE PD IS TRYING TO DO SOMETHING QUICKLY TO REACT.

BUT WHAT THEY'RE DOING IS USING OLDER METHODS AND SORT OF FOCUSING THEM IN ON THESE PARTICULAR TROUBLES AND PRECINCTS.

SO YOU'RE AN EXPERT IN THIS.

YOU KNOW BETTER THAN ANYBODY.

DO YOU BELIEVE IN ANY SENSE THAT THESE SPIKE IN VIOLENT CRIME IS THE BEGINNING OF A TREND?

MY PERSONAL OPINION RIGHT NOW IS THAT, YOU KNOW, CRIME IS ON LIKE A SAW BLADE.

IT'S CONTINUING DOWNWARD TREND, BUT YOU'RE GOING GET THE TOOTH OF SPIKES.

AND THAT IS REALITY.

WE'VE SEEN THIS FOR DECADES.

ALL RIGHT.

WELL, TONY, THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR JOINING US TODAY TO TALK ABOUT THIS.

THANK YOU.

I'M HAPPY TO BE HERE.

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