Murders, burglaries up in NYC amid COVID-19 pandemic: NYPD

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea
Photo credit Yana Paskova/Getty Images

NEW YORK (1010 WINS) -- New York City has seen a “troubling” increase in burglaries and homicides during the COVID-19 pandemic — but subway crimes have dropped by around 50 percent, NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea said in an interview with 1010 WINS Wednesday morning.

Twenty-eight murders have taken place over the past 28 days, compared to 18 in the same time period last year, NYPD data shows. Ten of the 28 murders took place between April 13 and April 19, according to the data.

“We’ve seen a little bit of a spike in homicides in New York City,” Shea said. “When this started, we were down in homicides, so that’s definitely something that we are on top of.”

“A couple categories jump out — we’re seeing individuals that are on parole getting killed. We have a lot of work to dig into that,” Shea said, noting that those murders account “essentially for the entire increase.” 

“[And] what we do know is that we’ve had an increase in domestic murders — and that’s incredibly troubling,” Shea added. The actual number of domestic crimes happening may also be higher than the statistics show.

“Domestic crime, I’ve said it from the beginning of this, it was a concern of ours,” he said. “I am firmly in the camp that you have to be very careful believing those numbers, because people are afraid to report crimes.” 

Burglaries, meanwhile, were up by 25 percent over the past 28 days, jumping from 749 during that time last year to 936 this year, NYPD data shows. 

“The burglaries is just a completely separate issue. The cops are out there making arrests for these burglaries," Shea said. “With the existing law, what’s happening is the individuals are being released immediately, and that’s something that ultimately, in the end, will have to be fixed.” 

While homicides, burglaries and car thefts throughout the city are up, Shea noted that crime on the subway has “really dropped off a cliff,” as ridership is down by around 90 percent amid the pandemic. The number of reported rapes, robberies and felony assaults were also down over the past 28 days compared to the same time last year, NYPD data shows.

“We’ve seen some issues with homeless, on the train, but again, being homeless is not a crime,” Shea said. “So where there’s a crime committed, we are there, immediately.” 

Asked whether he anticipated police officers having to break up gatherings and do more to enforce social distancing measures as the weather improves, Shea said it was “a possibility.” 

“As the weather warms up… I think unfortunately, as cooperating as New Yorkers have been and continue to be — and I know they will be — it’s inevitably going to lead to more calls for us,” he said. “Just hang in there, New Yorkers, and do your part if you can.” 

“And again, what we’re trying not to do here is make a bad situation worse in terms of arrests and summonses,” he added. “We certainly have done that but overall what we’re being met with is compliance across the city and I think that’s a good thing.