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NYPD’s intelligence-based policing curbs crime surge on Staten Island, leading to increase in arrests

“I think we’re definitely moving in the right direction,” Assistant Chief Joseph Gulotta said. “If you take a look at what our office is doing here on Staten Island, our arrests are outpacing our crime increase by a lot”


Bernhard Richter/Dreamstime/TNS

By Luke Peteley
Staten Island Advance, N.Y.

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. — With crime surging on Staten Island in 2023, the NYPD enacted a tactical shift at the end of the summer, developing an intricate, multi-state system to gather and analyze intelligence as a strategy to crack down on car thefts and burglaries in particular, according to the borough’s top cop.

And while crime was still up 10.8% from last year, arrests are up more than 30% and there were some signs of progress the second half of the year, Assistant Chief Joseph Gulotta told the Advance/ in an exclusive interview recently, shedding light on the state of crime across Staten Island.

“You could definitely feel that crime was up, your neighbors felt it, and everyone you spoke to felt it,” Gulotta said. “I was lucky enough to get assigned out here, kind of have a chance to do good in your own neighborhood and knock some of this crime down.”

To do that, Gulotta and other NYPD officials developed a plan to target New Jersey crews coming into Staten Island to commit burglaries and steal vehicles, two crimes that are often connected.

If a crook identified a sought-after vehicle, they would often go to the lengths of breaking into a residence to retrieve the keys, Gulotta said.

The NYPD was able to identify an organized criminal ring from New Jersey and made it a mission to get in contact with N.J. officials and establish a system to exchange intelligence.

In dedicating a task force of individuals to monitoring the collected intelligence, alerts were “placed” on specific vehicles, according to Gulotta.

“If New Jersey has a stolen car, or if people come here stealing cars, or doing burglaries over there, they input that information into our systems,” Gulotta said. “If that vehicle pops here in Staten Island or anywhere in the city, we’re moving. We’re making phone calls to the other boroughs. In Staten Island, if that car comes over, instantly we’re getting on the radio; we’re closing off the bridges, we’re putting mitigation points in places with our Community Response Team in coordination with Highway [Unit].”

This monitoring group was initially formed in August and since its implementation, the NYPD has seen results.

“On Staten Island we’ve recovered 44 cars,” Gulotta said. “Of the 44 jobs we had, 26 of them resulted in 46 arrests since August.”

Gulotta looks to carry this intelligence sharing into 2024 to aid in identifying any vehicle involved in a crime, regardless if it’s retail theft or burglary.

He credits this tactic in combatting crime as one that is building upon infrastructure already put in place by the chief of patrol, the chief of department, and others.


In response to the uptick in criminal activity in 2023, the NYPD has made 32% more arrests compared to this time last year for the seven major crimes.

“I think we’re definitely moving in the right direction,” Gulotta said. “If you take a look at what our office is doing here on Staten Island, our arrests are outpacing our crime increase by a lot.”

“Even though crime is up, our officers are engaging it, they’re making arrests,” Gulotta added. “So it’s not a fact that the crime is happening and we’re not making arrests, and we’re not solving it. It’s quite the opposite, we’re making the arrests on these crimes outpacing the increase in crime.”

Crime peaked in the summer, particularly during July, which saw 353 reported major crimes on Staten Island. However, from there, crime tapered off, with September seeing a total of 300 reported crimes. This shift is credited to a number of factors, foremost the hard work of the men and women of law enforcement, Gulotta said.

Driving some of the problems plaguing residents were recidivists — convicted criminals who reoffend. And through a close partnership with the Richmond County District Attorney’s Office, Gulotta claims they are working to curb the issue.

“We got down to a small group of people we knew were hitting us pretty good and we worked very closely with the Richmond County D.A.'s office and we were able to really make some strides in that as well,” Gulotta said.


In certain instances of car theft, particularly with Kias and Hyundais, Gulotta noted that these cases were sometimes gang or crew related, which means the stolen vehicles were used in the commission of shots-fired incidents on more than one occasion. Once these vehicles are stolen, law enforcement officials take action to ensure the vehicles are tracked to ensure public safety, a method that has ushered great success in curbing violence, according to Gulotta.

On Staten Island , there were 51 confirmed incidents of shots fired in 2023, compared to 91 in 2022, Gulotta said.

Gulotta cited a number of methods aimed at deterring violent crime, among them the handling of stolen cars, deployment zones, making sure officers are where they need to be, and inter-precinct communication.

In identifying four violence zones, areas that see repeated acts of violence, the NYPD allocated additional resources to those zones early in the year; an endeavor which proved fruitful.

“The additional resources and police officers we got were able to stabilize those areas,” Gulotta said. “It gave us some time for our Detective Squad to start working the shootings and the shots fired jobs, and they made quite a few strides in that time period making arrests which also helped take some shooters and guns off the street.”

Thanks to rapid communication and intelligence sharing, Gulotta says gangs faced pressure as police were “in the right places at the right time.”


This mass flood of intelligence comes from a variety of sources, including patrol, youth coordination officers, field intelligence officers and even the Department of Education (DOE).

Thanks to this rise in information sharing, the NYPD has worked closely with the DOE and school principals to address youth violence.

“We work very closely with the principals, sharing real-time information,” Gulotta said. “If there’s something happening in the school, we know that might bleed over into the street.”

This contact goes both ways, says Gulotta, as sometimes the street violence can make its way back to school and the NYPD can alert school officials.


One of the major crimes that has spiked within the past year is felony assaults, with an increase of 21.6% (933 vs. 767), according to the NYPD’s CompStat database.

Included in this figure are assaults on police officers, which have increased from 41 in 2022 to 75 in 2023, according to Gulotta.

When asked if he felt these assaults on police came from a lack of respect for the NYPD , Gulotta said the following:

“I don’t think it’s a lack of respect, it’s our officers going out there and doing their job. With the increase in crime, we’re going to see the increase of arrests, and then we saw the increase in assaults on police officers. I think it correlates directly to officers getting out there and engaging.”

Another major factor contributing to this increase in numbers is cases of domestic violence. In these cases, Gulotta notes that officers are making arrests pretty quickly and that these are not open cases. In applauding the efforts of the NYPD’s domestic violence program, Gulotta remarked on the work to come.

“We’re really going to start focusing in 2024 on those DV cases where we have DV perpetrators that are wanted and that are low-lying. We want to try and get ahead of the DV curve,” Gulotta said.


In looking to 2024, the NYPD plans to continue intelligence sharing to help focus in on burglary and grand larceny auto. Additionally, Gulotta aims to target youth engagement.

“I really want to look at the youth-related crime that we saw throughout the year,” Gulotta said. “I think especially when it came to violence, I think that was something that is concerning to everybody. So that’s one of the focuses, how do we engage the youth and how do we prevent it? I think some of that we already put in place and will continue that into 2024.”

As the NYPD identifies trends, Gulotta seeks to adjust as needed in order to get ahead of these crimes.

In playing your part, Gulotta asks that residents make sure to lock their car doors and take valuable belongings with them. This year, 96% of vehicles involved in car break-in cases had unlocked doors, according to Gulotta.

“We have 348 autos that were broken in that were grand larceny. Of those 348, 334 results of unlocked doors,” Gulotta said.

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