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Crime was in fact up year as Mayor Adams tries to downplay disorder

Serious crime spiked again last year to levels unseen in nearly two decades, according to internal NYPD data obtained by The Post — challenging Mayor Eric Adams’ repeated claim that the city’s rampant unlawfulness is just a “perception problem.”

For the second year in a row under Adams overall crime was on the rise — driven by a historic surge in assaults, which neared 28,000 for the first time in the city’s publicly recorded history, according to the police department’s rolling report.

The report tracks the tally of seven major felony offenses after the time of arrest to when cases move to district attorneys, who decide whether to upgrade, downgrade or stick with the charge. For instance, a perp who punches someone might be charged with a misdemeanor at first, but if the victim’s condition later worsens the prosecutor could boost it to a felony.

The count of major felonies — which include murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, grand larceny and car thefts — are generally used as a benchmark for success year after year.

While Adams has been touting his success in his war against crime, citing a slight dip reported at the end of 2023, the rolling report shows that the early-year victory lap was premature.

The number of seven major crimes in 2023 jumped to 127,111 once 404 upgrades were accounted for, marking the highest totals since 2006 for the second year in a row, according to the police data.

Police sources said it could get even worse — as historically up to 800 crimes are upgraded in the rolling report annually before the final tally is set for that year.

City Hall has argued it has focused its policing efforts on driving down murders and gun violence, both of which have seen double-digit percentage dips since Adams became mayor.

Mayor Eric Adams has tried to combat the fears of rising crime to convince tourists and businesses to continue to return. Matthew McDermott

In recent months, the mayor has been banging the drum about his administration’s success in combating crime, proclaiming “our strategy is working” in his State of the City speech in January.

He touted year-end 2023 data showing a .3% dip in overall major crime, coupled with double-digit decreases in murder, burglary and shootings, compared to his first year in office. 

But the NYPD’s rolling report paints a different picture.

While the report, in early March, showed there were 50 fewer major crimes in 2023 compared to 2022, when the final tally was 127,091. 

That gap began to close over the following weeks — before 2023’s crime numbers finally surpassed Adams’ freshman year in office by 20 offenses.

Adams’ first year as mayor was already marred by headlines of a 23% crime jump compared to the prior administration, and a 33% increase from pre-pandemic levels.

City Councilman Bob Holden (D-Queens) fumed to The Post that the disorder is much worse, with “the reported stats barely scratching the surface.”

“All I ever hear from storekeepers and constituents is that they stopped reporting crimes, because of the revolving door criminal injustice system,” he said. “It’s a fact every New Yorker lives with daily.”

Driving the high levels of overall crime were felony assaults, with 100 more such offenses counted compared to the end of the year, for a total of 27,951 as of this month — a jump of 6.7% and the highest dating back to before 2000, the earliest year available. 

“At least the numbers show why it feels like it’s the 1990s again in NYC,” a police source said of the skyrocketing assaults.

Also driving the overall level were car thefts, which finished at 15,806 at the end of 2023, but have seen a 15% increase since.

A recent poll found that majority of New Yorkers feel unsafe. rfaraino

After reclassifications and upgrades were accounted for, the data as of April 2 shows:

  • Murders, which came in at 391, four more than at the end of the year and down 10.7% from 2022.
  • Rapes that finished at 1,465, 10 up from year-end and down 9.8% from 2022.
  • Reports of robbery at 16,934, up 32 from Jan. 1 and down 2.9% from 2022.
  • There were 13,803 burglaries, up a few dozen from the end of the year and down 12.8% from 2022.
  • Grand larceny finished at 50,761, about 200 more than at the end of the year and down 2% from 2022.

Hizzoner has tried as of late to tamp down criticism of the soaring unlawfulness as a “perception problem” — despite feeding into that public narrative during his first year in office before blaming the media for reporting on crime.

Over the last few months, Adams has repeatedly touted crime-fighting gains made during his sophomore year in office — which he dubbed his Aaron Judge year, after the Yankees star.

“I say it over and over again until it resonates: jobs are up, crime is down and we are moving in the right direction as we deliver for our working-class New Yorkers,” the mayor said on Feb. 20 during one of his many appearances praising the progress.

It was also a key message in his optimistic State of the City speech where he played down the migrant crisis and heralded the administration for bringing the city “back from the brink.”

“New Yorkers were rightfully concerned about their safety, their security and their families,” he said, adding, “Our first order of business was clear: get crime under control.”

A mayoral rep insisted in a statement that the city is safer now than when Adams took office. 

Adams has blamed recidivism for the high-profile violent incidents. Steven Hirsch

“Mayor Adams has been clear that public safety is the key to prosperity, and in a little more than two years in office, our administration has been successful in driving down major crimes like shootings, murders, burglaries, grand larcenies, and more,” spokesperson Kayla Mamalek said.

“While reclassifications of some crimes happen every year, and there is undoubtedly more work to be done to keep New Yorkers safe, there is no disputing that our streets are safer today than they were before Mayor Adams took office.”

At that time, overall crime just topped 100,000 for the first time in years with murders creeping up to 500 as cops confronted a record number of 1,562 shootings, NYPD data shows.

Shootings were down last year by 26% compared to 2022, 1,150 vs 1,566, but still up more than 50% from 2019.

Political players noted the mayor finds himself boxed into a corner with his mixed messaging on crime.

On one hand, Adams started the year with an overt push to lure tourism and workers back to the Big Apple, proclaiming the city safe and business booming. 

On the other hand, he has been confronted by a recent spate of high-profile crimes on the subways, which prompted Gov. Kathy Hochul, in an unusual show of force, to send in the National Guard to help with bag checks underground.

Adams has repeatedly blamed the scourge of rampant recidivism for fueling high-profile violent acts, most recently the fatal shooting of Det. Jonathan Diller.

Democratic political consultant Ken Frydman said the Adams admin needs to hone its mixed messaging so as not to appear merely reactionary.

“The mayor needs consistent crime messaging for New Yorkers and out-of-towners,” he said. “Are the subways and streets safe or unsafe? Is violent crime random or a growing trend? Is the threat of violent crime real or perception?”

The mayor has also faced a budget crunch due to the ballooning migrant crisis, forcing him to cancel several NYPD classes, though at least one has since been reinstated.

Councilman Lincoln Restler (D-Brooklyn) accused the NYPD of mismanagement, charging police brass is focusing on the wrong issues, such as cracking down on drinking in public, which The Post revealed last year.

“Mayor Adams has spent more than two years prioritizing public appearances over public safety,” he charged.

Some police sources echoed those concerns.

“They’re more concerned about grammatically incorrect social media battles than they are about effective crime fighting,” one source quipped, pointing to a recent spat between a handful of NYPD brass and columnist Harry Siegel that devolved into name-calling.

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