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Safest Big City? Mayor And NYPD Say Crime Is Down -- But Murders, Shootings, Hate Crimes All Rose In 2019

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork/AP) – For several years, New York has prided itself as being the safest big city in America.

The NYPD and Mayor de Blasio have boasted about a continued drop in crime citywide, sending numbers to historic lows.

As CBS2 has been reporting on since March however, a closer look at those numbers finds several unnerving trends being masked by the overall lower crime rate.

In one of the NYPD's final weekly CompStat reports for the year, several major crimes have increased when compared to the same point in 2018.

As of Dec. 22, murders, robberies, felony assaults, shootings, sex crimes, and hate crimes are all on the rise throughout the five boroughs.

See The Full Report Here

The city has tallied 311 homicides, compared with 290 at the same point last year – an increase of 7.2 percent according to CompStat.

It's the second straight year of increases after the city achieved a modern-era low of 292 homicides in 2017, but authorities argue this year's total is skewed in part by an outsized number of deaths carried over from years past.

At least 27 deaths in this year's statistics happened prior to 2019 but weren't classified as homicides by the city's medical examiner until this year, the NYPD said. They must be counted in the statistics for the year the death certificate is issued.

This of course will also be the case for a currently unknown number of 2019 murders, which won't end up being counted until 2020 or later.

The Dec. 22 report shows, overall, crime among the seven major felony categories has fallen by 1.16 percent in 2019. A deeper dive into that finds that decrease is almost entirely due to a drop in burglaries.

Without the burglary stats, major crime has only fallen by a microscopic 0.05 percent compared to 2018.

Shootings, "Uniform Crime Reporting" rapes, and "other sex crimes" are all not included in the major crime categories – but all have seen a rise this year.

FLASHBACK: NYPD Changing How It Records Sex Crimes, Adds More Assaults To What Constitutes Rape

Police sources tell CBS2 the city's year-long eruption in hate crimes has also not slowed down. Through Dec. 22, hate crimes have skyrocketed by 16 percent.

Of the 406 reported incidents, more than half of those complaints were for anti-Semitic attacks. That number does not even account for this week's rash of incidents targeting the Jewish community.

There have been at least nine such attacks in the days following the NYPD's report.

As New York City moves into 2020, law enforcement officials are already bracing for even more bad news -- as New York State's bail reform laws are poised to release scores of suspects from jail and back onto city streets starting Jan. 1.

"It's concerning. We're going to have to work harder than ever with our partners, with our fellow district attorneys, to prosecute these crimes to make sure that we are on top of our game," new NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea told CBS2 earlier this month.

The commissioner said he's most worried about repeat offenders, who judges will be prevented from imposing a cash bail on regardless of their criminal history.

"When you have individuals that are standing before a judge and immediately being released, and essentially everyone in the room knows that this person is a danger to the community, I think we need to look at the system and make sure that judges can make common sense decisions." Shea explained.

"Having dangerousness is at the crux, in my opinion, of what we would like to see changed with some of these laws."

According to the Police Benevolent Association, suspects arrested for burglary, arson, grand larceny, various hate crimes, and several other offenses will all be released without bail -- and given free incentives to return for a later court date.

(© Copyright 2019 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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