One of the few bright spots to Hurricane Sandy, besides a new found appreciation for a subway system we too often loathe, is that crime is down, and according to Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, there have been no homicides since the storm hit the city Monday night.
“We’ve had no murders for three days,” Commissioner Kelly told reporters today inside the portico of City Hall, following the mayor’s afternoon press briefing. “And we’ve also had a reduction in domestic violence.”
The commissioner was perhaps choosing his words carefully, saying no murders in three days (not counting Friday it would seem), because there was one murder, still unsolved and even unexplained, that happened Monday night just as the storm was hitting the city. The Times‘ crime columnist Michael Wilson published the remarkable details of the incident just today.
Commissioner Kelly explained that these things are to be expected, though, as with any natural disaster. “It’s a phenomena we’ve seen before, where there’s bad weather, where there’s any sort of major catastrophe, then crime seems to go down,” the commissioner said. “We’ve had a 34 percent reduction in crime over this week.”
But that does not go for all types of crimes “We’ve seen a certain increase in burglaries in certain areas of the city,” the commissioner said. Those reports were mostly in Staten Island and southern Queens, two of the areas hardest hit by the storms.
The commissioner said he had yet to see similar reports for downtown Manhattan, which has been without power up until tonight, a pronouncement that surprised some reporters. But the commissioner than acknowledged that it may not be that those crimes have not happened but simply that they have not been reported, given the situation downtown.
“There may be a latent effect in terms reporting, people may not be in a position to report it, they may not be aware of it,” the commissioner said.
But at least for now it’s nice to hope/pretend that everyone was on their best behavior downtown during the storm.