NYPD: Overall crime down but shootings spike in first half of 2019

Summer is underway and, so far, the NYPD says it could be the safest one yet—as long as a rise in shootings doesn't become a permanent trend.

Mayor Bill de Blasio, Commissioner James O'Neill, and top police brass held their monthly briefing on the city's crime trends. Their report was mostly positive.

"Overall, citywide crime for the first six months of the year is down 5.4%," Chief of Department Terence Monahan said. "That's 2,470 less crimes compared to the first six months of 2018."

Monahan said that crime drop coincides with a 13% reduction in arrests, which translates to 17,300 fewer people in handcuffs.

But it isn't all good news. The NYPD said shootings are up and that gang activity is responsible for just over half. Shooting incidents have increased in first half of 2019 compared to the same period last year.

"I am concerned with the amount of shootings that are occurring in the city," Monahan said. "There have been 361 shooting incidents compared to 337 in 2018."

The mayor said the Vision Zero crackdown targeting unsafe drivers and bicyclists will become permanent.

"We're going to be blitzing on those bike lanes in addition to all the enforcement we have done previously in terms of speeding, failure to yield, which affects bicyclists and affects pedestrians," de Blasio said. "All of that is going to continue."

O'Neill, himself a bicyclist, said no one group is being targeted and that enforcement is about safety for everyone on the city's crowded streets.

"Bicyclists have to operate bicycles responsibly," O'Neill said. "Vehicle operators, drivers, have to operate their vehicles responsibly also."