As we scan news cycles with varying degrees of attentiveness, it is hard not to feel (this year above all) that the bad news overwhelms the good, and that our streets are not particularly safe, especially when some of the bad news we see happens close to our homes.
Despite impressions like these, Brooklyn officials had surprisingly good news for us to round out a rather glum year: The last 12 months in Brooklyn have been the safest on record, reports DNAinfo.
Acting District Attorney Eric Gonzalez—who stepped in after the late DA Ken Thompson passed away from cancer this year—reported an overall decrease in 2016 in major crimes. In total this year saw:
–The fewest number of shootings on record: 407, or 61 fewer, and 13 percent less than 2015
–The fewest number of shooting victims: 75 fewer than 2015
–Fewer murders: 127, or 15 fewer than last year
–The second-fewest homicides on record (2014 had 122)
–Overall in Brooklyn, crime was down: 9.5 percent less than last year
–In each of the seven major felonies, crime decreased except for assault (which was just 1.1 percent higher than last year)
DA Gonzalez said these statistics were due, in part, to new initiatives: Growth of the DA’s Crime Strategies Unit, which keeps tabs on gangs, its members, and known violent criminals, and zeros in on “hot spots” for violence in Brooklyn; In January, the late DA Thompson had also created a Firearms Prosecution Unit that helps to expedite the prosecution of gun possession charges; And—most hopefully—in May, DA Thompson also unveiled the Young Adult Bureau, which offers minors, charged with misdemeanors, counseling and job training, in lieu of punishment. All such cases are operated out of the Brooklyn Young Adult Court: Established this year, it is both the first in New York, and only the second in the country, and handles all misdemeanor cases for defendants between the ages of 16 and 24. Its goal is to reduce repeat offenses among young people—who are most prone to recidivism—post (and in this case, pre) incarceration.
About the improved crime stats in 2016, Gonzalez said, “While these year-end statistics are encouraging, more needs to be done and I remain committed to making Brooklyn an even safer and better place for all of its residents.”
In a year in which none of us could wake up certain of the bad news we’d learn about next, this could even prompt some optimism. I, for one, will take as much of that as I can get.