NYPD brass say repeat offenders big factor in 44% crime rate spike

More than 500 suspects have been arrested three times this year on robbery, burglary or shoplifting charges, police said


By Rocco Parascandola
New York Daily News

NEW YORK — Repeat offenders are a big factor in a 44% crime rate surge in the first three months of 2022, NYPD officials said Wednesday.

More than 500 suspects have been arrested three times this year on robbery, burglary or shoplifting charges, police said.

NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell, center, speaks during a news conference after the shooting of two NYPD officers, Jan. 21, 2022, in New York.
NYPD Commissioner Keechant Sewell, center, speaks during a news conference after the shooting of two NYPD officers, Jan. 21, 2022, in New York. (AP Photo/Yuki Iwamura)

Among those repeat offenders are 91 people who have been arrested three or more times for burglary, said NYPD Chief of Crime Control Strategies Michael Lipetri.

Another 64 suspects have been arrested at least three times this year in robberies, and 379 people have been arrested three times this year for shoplifting, police data show.

“What we’re seeing obviously is recidivism,” said Lipetri. “But what we’re also seeing here is less people incarcerated.”

Many law enforcement officials have complained about what they see as lenient bail laws that put too many criminal suspects on the streets instead of in jail as their cases make their way through the courts.

The NYPD is banking on its recently unveiled Neighborhood Safety Unit, whose officers in 30 precincts and four housing bureau commands are tasked with taking guns off the street.

[RELATED: 40% of crime in Atlanta is caused by the same 1,000 people, police say]

The Neighborhood Safety Unit is arresting many repeat offenders, the NYPD says. Of the 135 arrests by the units since their deployment March 14, some 20% involve people with pending felony cases and 28% are of suspects with previous felony convictions.

So far, the units have made 25 arrests for gun possession, police said.

Police have also renewed their focus on broken windows policing, which includes more enforcement of quality-of-life infractions, in hope of preventing the sense of disorder in which police believe violent crime flourishes.

Despite the surge in crime by repeat offenders, police pointed with hope to two positive numbers as they released crime data for March.

One was a 16% drop in murders — police counted 32 homicides in March, compared to 38 in March 2021.

The other was a 28% spike in the number of arrests for the crimes that comprise the crime rate — murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and grand larceny auto.

In March, police made 4,025 criminal arrests, compared to 3,140 in March 2021. That arrest surge is seen by cops as a sign they are doing a better job busting criminals.

“People are concerned, and we completely understand that,” said Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell. “We are deploying added resources and really trying to get these people off the streets.”

Sewell promised the NYPD would reverse the crime surge that started two years ago with a stunning spike in gun violence. So far this year 332 people have been shot in the city, up 15% from the 190 reported in the same period of 2021.

Shooting incidents were up, with 155 reported in March 2022 compared to 99 in March 2021. Crime on subways and buses was also up, with 180 serious crimes reported in March 2022 compared to 118 in March 2021.

The 44% increase in the overall crime rate so far this year is driven by by a 48% jump in robberies and a 81% spike in stolen vehicles, police say. Murders, however, are down 9%, with 96 so far in 2022 compared to 105 at this time in 2021.

©2022 New York Daily News. Visit nydailynews.com. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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