Commissioner Bratton on “Politicized Statistics”

At nearly every public appearance I make, I talk about the NYPD’s Plan of Action. It was announced at a Mayoral press conference in June, it’s on our website for any and all to see, and it delineates comprehensive plans for how we can prevent crime and disorder, fight terrorism, and work more closely with the communities we serve. Comptroller Scott Stringer and other politicians seem not to be listening—not if they believe that the NYPD has no roadmap for success in reducing violence in New York City. In fact, we have a multi-faceted strategy that is working across the city. Violence remains at new, low levels we have grown accustomed to in the past two-and-a-half years; but just three years ago, in 2012, there were 75 more murders and 209 more shootings year-to-date than there have been this year. There’s no denying that we had a violent weekend. Although we’ve averaged one homicide a day this year, last week we averaged two.

Our numbers are not “politicized statistics” as Mr. Stringer asserts. They are what they are, and we never lie about them or misrepresent them. We know better than anyone that statistics are not a comfort when real lives are at stake. It’s the men and women of the NYPD who respond, and work the scene, and notify the family left behind. That’s why we treat every murder as the major crime that it is. Suggesting that the men and women of this Department—who deal with the reality of crime in our city—don’t understand all this is unacceptable.

We unleash the world’s best detectives on solving these cases. Last year we closed nearly 75 percent of them, a significantly higher clearance rate than for most other U.S. cities. We saturate areas where shootings are occurring with uniformed presence and enforcement activity. Our CompStat process is a precision instrument that keeps us focused, both individually and as a team, on suppressing violence, finding shooters who are at large, and preventing the next shooting. We keep careful track of suspected shooters in the city, and we have targeted many of these people in investigative operations, netting dozens of suspected shooters so far this year. In Brooklyn, we have gone one step further, supporting such takedowns with NYC Ceasefire, which reaches out the gangbangers—and to youth on the periphery of gang life—to try to persuade and help them to change their ways before the arrest hammer comes down.

We also have a longer-term strategy called the Neighborhood Policing Plan, which is up and running and will be implemented in all our high-violence precincts by the end of next year. The plan is designed to simultaneously improve community relations while further refining and sharpening the NYPD’s ability to counter and control violence. Working at the very local level—not just precincts, but sectors within precincts—we are winning friends and allies for the Department as never before. We’re also gleaning a level of intelligence about local violence that is largely unprecedented.

We are at historically low levels of violence in the city now. With our Plan of Action, and the comprehensive, detailed strategies that surround it, I believe we can push it lower yet.