Bratton predicts record-setting year for safety

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Bratton. (AP Photo/Richard Drew, Pool)
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Yes, New York City’s murder rate is higher than it was last year.

But that is because the city set a record-low for murders in 2014 — just 333. This year, the city is on pace to have it’s second best year, in terms of murders, according to the police commissioner and a new report from NYU's Brennan Center for Justice.

As of Nov. 22, there had been 310 murders in the city this year, compared to 293 by that date a year earlier, a 5.8 percent increase.

A report from the Brennan Center said the increase in homicides this year is, basically, insignificant.

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In a report issued six days ago, called “Crime in 2015: A Preliminary Analysis,” researchers said the city’s murder rate “is on pace to increase 8 percent from 2014. This amounts to 28 more murders … [a] rate of 0.3 murders per 100,000 greater than it was last year, an extremely small increase —meaning that 2015 and 2014 are more or less comparable.”

The report, which looked at crime in major cities across the U.S., said Los Angeles — whose police force Bratton led from 2002 through 2009 — is projected to end 2015 with an 11 percent jump in its murder rate; Chicago’s murder rate is expected to increase 20 percent (to levels comparable to 2012); and in Houston, the murder rate is expected to rise 24 percent. Philadelphia and Phoenix are projected to have murder rates largely unchanged from 2014, according to the report.

If Bratton and the Brennan Center's projections are borne out, it will be a boon for Mayor Bill de Blasio, who has constantly fought the perception that safety and the quality of life in New York City have been slipping since he took office in January 2014. (Republican presidential candidate and N.J. governor Chris Christie told CNN on Sunday the murder rate in New York City had increased 11 percent. When asked to verify the claim, a Christie campaign spokesperson referred POLITICO New York to a Daily News story ... from July.

In a speech to NYPD officers who were promoted to new ranks Tuesday morning, Bratton said, “We have been through quite a year this past year, beginning with the demonstrations in last November and December, the street demonstrations, that led to the murder of two of our police officers. … [and] amidst all the turmoil in the world, amidst all the uncertainty here in our country around so many societal issues, that we, the NYPD have stood steadfast” in keeping New Yorkers safe.

Bratton said the city is on pace to report its fewest crimes ever, in terms of the seven major crime categories (murder, rapes, robberies, burglaries, assault, petty larceny and car thefts).

He also said, “We will have the second-best year for homicides, the third or best year for shootings, we’ve ever had.” Bratton told the officers, “It didn’t just happen. It happens because of you.”

So far this year, there have been 1,208 people shot in 1,020 incidents, compared to 1,246 victims in 1,051 incidents by this time in 2014.