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Police: Overall Crime Hits Record Low For 2015, But Murders, Other Categories Up

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Monday that the city's overall crime rate hit a record low in 2015 – but some serious offenses saw increases.

As 1010 WINS' Al Jones reported, the NYPD recorded that overall index crime in the city fell by 1.7 percent in 2015 by comparison with 2014.

"It's a very good year for us, 2015," Bratton said.

The department said burglary and car theft were at their lowest levels in more than 50 years. But murder, rape and robbery inched up.

Homicides rose from 333 in 2014 to 350 in 2015. But Bratton said 2015 was still the safest year in the city's modern history. 

"While there have been some increases in certain categories, the overall trend in all of our crime categories continues to go down," Bratton said.

As WCBS 880's Alex Silverman reported, shootings were down 3 percent last year. But gang-motivated shootings were up significantly – 18 percent.

Guns were also involved in a greater share of the city's murders than ever before.

"It's something that we've been facing and trying to tackle all year with the gun violence," said NYPD Deputy Commissioner Dermot Shea.

There was also a sharp increase in thefts in the transit system, a category that is up 11 percent.

Shea said the victims are "falling asleep, waking up, and their property is taken from them – that's really what we saw driving the numbers this year in transit." 

Shea also pointed to another troubling trend – women being raped in the back of taxis.

"Multiple companies -- I won't mention any company by name. But it's not all one app that you're thinking of," Shea said.

Bratton said further that police made 54,000 fewer arrests last year than they did in 2013.

Officials said the drop in arrests was partly due to officers exercising more discretion in enforcement as part of an effort to restore battered relations with minority communities. No spike in crime resulted, officials emphasized.

As 1010 WINS' Al Jones reported, for those who want to do their own CompStat tracking, NYPD crime data will be available online for the public starting next month.

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