There has been a lot of conversation regarding crime, and violent crime in particular recently. It is instructive to look at the data.

New York City’s NYPD, reports on the 7 major felony offenses and makes this data freely available on its COMPSTAT portal. The seven major felonies include murder and non-negligent manslaughter, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny, and grand larceny of a vehicle.

Here is a view of how the totals of those crimes add up over the last two decades:

As we can see, there was a notable decline from 2000 to 2009 or so, and then a gentle leveling to a statistically unchanged state over the last 3 years.

How then, does this compare to Harlem? Looking at the 23, 25, 28, and 32 precincts (see the map, above for the geography), we see the following for the same period, and the same 7 major felony crime totals:

As you can see the 23rd and 32nd precincts mirrored the city-wide crime drop most closely. The 25th precinct and the 28th precinct have not seen the larger benefit of a crime decline and the totals have remained stubbornly high.

The New York Times Examines Kristin Jordan’s Goal of Abolishing the Police in Light of the Murder of Two Young NYPD Officers

The New York Times reports on City Council Member Kristin Richardson Jordan’s attempt to hold equal, the death of two NYPD officers with the death of their murderer, and tweeting about a community garden while the two officers fought for their lives.

See the full article, here.

On one side of Adam Clayton Powell Jr. Boulevard in Harlem, dozens of candles and bouquets of flowers were clustered outside the 32nd Precinct station house after a shooting that would leave two officers dead.

Across the boulevard was the apartment building where the officers were struck by gunfire as they responded to a report of a domestic incident.

And in between, the neighbourhood’s new city councilwoman sat in a bare-bones office, trying to reconcile the need to comfort a grieving community with her firm belief that police departments should ultimately be abolished.

Councilwoman Kristin Richardson Jordan, 35, has equated the policing system with slavery and emphasized her deep compassion for both the fallen officers and the man who the police said killed them — positions that are vastly out-of-step with many of her fellow Democrats.

Her political style, as a revolutionary activist and poet, is distinctive.

But in the context of left wing politics, her overarching argument around policing — that New York City should invest far more in social services while cutting spending on law enforcement — is not.

“The greatest way to honour the loss of life on all sides, loss of life due to gun violence,” Jordan, the granddaughter of a police officer, said on Monday, “would be to invest in our communities.”

Discussions around policing, justice and how best to ensure public safety have divided Democrats across the country and shaped elections from Long Island, New York, to San Francisco. But this week, on that sliver of 135th Street in Harlem, those debates were especially raw.

“Right here,” said Jordan, a democratic socialist who lives a few minutes from where the shooting occurred. “We’re at the centre.”

Against the backdrop of the Harlem shooting, Mayor Eric Adams, who has promised to battle crime in a just fashion, released an expansive public safety plan Monday. The response — early praise from the White House but plenty of pushback at home — freshly illustrated Democratic tensions around those searing issues.

The proposal called for significant policing efforts to combat gun violence, including the restoration of an anti-gun police unit. Adams also urged state lawmakers to make changes to New York’s bail law and to a law that altered how the state handles teenage defendants.

The plan for revamping anti-crime units, which were disbanded in 2020, has stoked particular controversy, with even some of Adams’ typical ideological allies expressing reservations. But the most vociferous criticism has come from supporters of criminal justice reform who are to his left.

“I am concerned about some of the elements that are in the mayor’s plan for safety, that they’re rolling back the clock on some things that have been some really meaningful reforms,” Jordan said.

At another point, she warned that the shooting could be used “as an excuse to overpolice and continue oppression in the community.”

The murder rate and other measures of violent crime in New York City remain far below the rates of the early 1990s, but gun violence in particular has spiked during the pandemic, and the U.S. murder rate has gone up significantly. Adams’ speech crystallized a national debate around how to respond and followed a spate of high-profile crimes that has left many New Yorkers shaken and that culminated in the shooting deaths of the two officers.

Officer Jason Rivera, 22, was killed while responding to the 911 call Friday. The death of Officer Wilbert Mora, 27, was announced Tuesday, a day after Lashawn McNeil, the man who the New York City police said was the gunman, also died from injuries.

On Friday night, Jordan was hosting a planning meeting and attending a neighbourhood gathering of Black socialists at her office when she learned of the shooting. She headed to Harlem Hospital, joining other elected officials and Adams, who held a news conference.

But as many of her colleagues expressed their pain on social media, a post from Jordan’s Twitter account that evening focused on community gardens.

It was a preplanned message, she later said, posted “mistakenly” by a staff member — but it touched a nerve online.

She did not comment on the shooting directly for several more hours, because of directions given by officials at the hospital, she said. (Assemblywoman Inez Dickens broadly confirmed those instructions, though others in attendance quickly issued statements of sorrow.)

“I stand with the families of the fallen,” Jordan later wrote. “The death of police officers is not what abolition is. Abolition is an end to violence altogether.”

In the days since, she said, she prayed with constituents for Mora’s recovery. She attended vigils. She plans to attend the officers’ funerals.

She also indicated that there was a parallel between the loss of the officers’ lives and the death of McNeil. “I see every single human life as equivalent,” she said Monday.

After Mora died from his injuries, Jordan went a step further.

“My deepest condolences to the families of Officer Rivera, Officer Mora and Lashawn McNeil,” she wrote on Twitter on Tuesday. “Lives lost due to broken public safety & mental health systems that spare nobody.”

Debates around policing and safety played a defining role in the New York City mayoral primary. Many of the working-class voters of colour who propelled Adams to victory — reflecting, in some ways, President Joe Biden’s base — embraced his message of both supporting a powerful role for law enforcement and demanding policing reforms. Those discussions took on fresh urgency again this week in Jordan’s district.

“They want mutual respect between the police and the community,” said Dickens, who represents an overlapping district. “But they want the police.”

At the memorial outside the police station in Harlem, one sign read, “Mayor Adams, NYPD need a raise.” Lenny Gardner, 67, a Democrat who works at a hospital, seemed sympathetic to that argument as he walked by.

“They have a hard job, and they’re underpaid and sometimes not given credit for what they do,” said Gardner, who said he had lived in the area for 33 years and had relied on the police himself. “I’m not with the abolishing police. That’s the only way that we can keep order.”

Jordan, too, has deep roots in the area, describing herself as a third-generation Harlemite. She attended the Calhoun School, a progressive private school on the Upper West Side, and Brown University and built a career around activism — she was involved in the Black Lives Matter and Occupy Wall Street movements and founded a “cop watch” team, she has said. And she spent time writing and in publishing, including releasing a book that grapples with her personal experiences with domestic violence.

She ran for City Council last year, initially inspired, she told The Nation, by the left-wing members of the “Squad” in Congress. Jordan identifies as a Black socialist, though groups like the Democratic Socialists of America and the left-wing Working Families Party made no endorsement in her primary.

Other prominent left-wing organizations, including the political group associated with Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, did offer support, though to date Jordan is not considered a prominent member of the city’s left wing; she is largely unknown even to like-minded officials.

In the ranked-choice primary election, she ultimately prevailed over the incumbent by around 100 votes.

Asked to assess her performance so far in office, Keith L.T. Wright, chair of the Manhattan Democratic Party, replied, “I’ve never had a conversation with her, and I don’t know what she does.”

(Jordan said she welcomed conversations and noted her relationship with the Manhattan Young Democrats. “The future of the Democratic Party is progressive and bold,” she said.)

Patrick J. Lynch, head of the Police Benevolent Association — a union considered toxic by many Democrats for, among other things, endorsing Donald Trump in 2020 — also said that Jordan “is new to the office and we have had no interactions with her.”

“We are aware of her public statements about police officers and public safety,” he said. “They don’t reflect what police officers hear from her constituents.”

Jordan acknowledges “hit-and-miss” dynamics with the police, also saying that she has been both “falsely arrested” and has relied on law enforcement herself when confronting domestic violence.

Her style is far more radical than that of many of her colleagues, but the broadest contours of her approach — to see social services as vital components of public safety — are shared widely among many New York Democrats, including, to some degree, Adams.

“Deep investments in the communities that have for so long been overlooked and left out, underfunded, disinvested in — that is what will keep our communities safe,” said Councilwoman Crystal Hudson of Brooklyn.

Since the shooting, Jordan contacted the families of both the officers and of McNeil, though as of Tuesday she had not connected with them.

She has also maintained other aspects of her schedule, attending a balloon-festooned inauguration celebration Saturday. There, she held a moment of silence to mark the shooting. Then, she recalled, she thanked her team and sought to brace them for the task ahead.

“It’s been a really tough moment to navigate,” she said. “Because people are searching for a villain.”

From Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg:

Day 1 Memo – FACT SHEET

Over-incarceration has not made Manhattan safer. Years of data and research have proven that incarcerating those charged with nonviolent and minor offenses leads to recidivism, and makes us less safe. Proven strategies to address the root causes of this behavior, such as mental health and drug and alcohol addiction, make us safer.

And with jail now costing a half million dollars per year just to house one person, reserving this tool only for those who commit truly violent acts allows our city to use those millions of dollars to prevent gun violence and focus on truly violent crime. Tellingly, for years, Manhattan has over-incarcerated relative to every other borough in NYC, and has higher crime rate (see charts).

Through his personal life growing up in Harlem and his professional life as a civil rights lawyer and prosecutor, DA Bragg has seen every side of the criminal justice system. He’s released his policies and guidelines for his office to deliver safety and fairness for all.

Here are key points:

Continuing to prosecute dangerous crimes – Safety is paramount. New Yorkers deserve to be safe from crime and safe from the dangers posed by mass incarceration. DA Bragg will be tough when he needs to be, but will not be seeking to destroy lives through unnecessary incarceration.

Not prosecuting minor offenses that have no impact on public safety – This will not only make us safer by not further destabilizing lives, it will also free up prosecutorial resources to focus on violent crime.

Increasing the use of diversion and evidenced-based programs in lieu of incarceration – Well-designed initiatives that support and stabilize people – particularly individuals in crisis and youth – can conserve resources, reduce re-offending, and diminish the collateral harms of criminal prosecution.

Reduce Pretrial Detention – Particularly given the ongoing crisis at Rikers, and drastic rise in deaths in custody, we must reserve pretrial detention for very serious cases. The data show that the overwhelming majority of those released pretrial do not commit a violent crime while at liberty. The data also shows that incarceration in and of itself causes recidivism, so unnecessary incarceration makes us less safe.

Limit Youth in Adult Court – Research tells us that prosecuting children in adult court can lead to recidivism, making us less safe. This should be reserved for only the most serious cases.

Limit sentence length – Research is clear that, after a certain length, longer sentences do not deter crime or result in greater community safety.

Actively support those reentering – Supporting those returning from incarceration reduces recidivism and makes our communities safer. Over half of people returning to the city from state prison end up in homeless shelters. Finding better supports for them will make us safer.

Invest in communities impacted by gun violence – Communities impacted by gun violence need additional funding for community-based programs to strengthen community bonds and to support vulnerable individuals.

Day 1 Memo – FAQ

1.         Why did he make these changes?

Alvin Bragg was elected to deliver safety and justice for all. From growing up in Harlem and working as a prosecutor, he’s seen every side of the criminal justice system and one thing is clear – what we are doing now is NOT working. He released a plan to fix it. New Yorkers deserve to be safe from crime and safe from the dangers posed by mass incarceration. He will be tough when we need to be, but we will not be seeking to destroy lives through unnecessary incarceration.

2.         What does the Day 1 Memo say about resisting arrests?

Answer: First, assaulting an officer is a felony crime that the DA will prosecute (and has prosecuted previously in his career). Our policy change states that people cannot be charged with resisting arrest as a standalone crime, or when resisting arrest for a non-criminal offense such as “disorderly conduct.” This means that if someone is charged with a genuine crime and resists arrest, they can be prosecuted.

3.         What does the Day 1 Memo say about robberies?

Answer: Robberies are a serious offense and will continue to be prosecuted (and have been prosecuted by DA Bragg previously in his career). The memo instructs ADAs to make a common-sense difference between two very different types of cases: a person holding a knife to someone’s neck, and someone

who, usually struggling with substance use or mental health issues, shoplifts and makes a minimal threat to a store employee while leaving. We will not treat these cases equally. We will continue to charge those who pose a genuine risk of harm with violent felony offenses, but will not over-charge those who pose no genuine risk with the same violent felony offense.

4.         Over the last couple of years, there appears to be more mentally ill people on the streets. How will your Office help?

Answer: We will address the root causes of this, working hand in hand with the Mayor’s Office and other agencies to invest in services, including supportive housing, to ensure seriously mentally ill people receive the services they need and to ultimately reduce crime in our communities. When those charged with crimes present mental health issues, we will find appropriate programs to address those issues, and not send them to jail where we know they will not get the help they need.

5.         What charges will no longer be prosecuted?

Answer: All felonies will continue to be prosecuted, but we will not prosecute certain low-level misdemeanors that will not impact public safety, unless they are part of a larger felony case. These include: marijuana, fare evasion, some trespass cases, driving with 1 or 2 license suspensions, non- criminal offenses such as traffic infractions, resisting arrest for any non-criminal offense, prostitution, and obstructing governmental administration.

6.         How will we address repeat shoplifting?

Answer: We will establish a taskforce to work with mom-and-pop business owners, cure violence providers, community leaders, advocates and law enforcement to develop community-solutions and support services to this serious issue.

Vote on Tuesday

If you live in the 68th Assembly District (Robert Rodriguez’s old district)

Voting in the 68th Assembly District (the yellow area in the map, below)

which is mostly East Harlem has a special election day set for Tuesday, Jan. 18.’s Nick Garber has profiles on the two main candidates:

There are two candidates: Democrat Edward Gibbs and Republican Daby Benjaminé Carreras. Click on each candidate’s name to see their profiles, based on questionnaires that Patch sent to both men.

Risk of Crime

(The risk of crime being indicated by red on the map below)

The map of white-collar crime is a telling one. Most of the criminals commit their crime in midtown or the financial district.

Harlem has a relatively low crime rate by this measure.

To explore where you are most at risk for this form of crime, see:

Hurricane Season is Upon Us

As the 2021 hurricane season unfolds we should all know what our evacuation ‘zone’ is, so we’re ready to evacuate if necessary. Enter your address below to learn more about your zone and to see if your building is on flood-prone land:

Then make sure to note the location of your local shelters (in the side bar of the map) because we know that electricity, cell phone coverage, and the internet may go down before you have a chance to look these up:

To learn more about what you should be doing and thinking about now, to prepare, see:

Tupac Would Have Been 50, Today

Tupac Shakur was born Lesane Parish Crooks, on June 16, 1971 in East Halrem. He died on September 13, 1996 and would have been 50, today.

Amazing Digital Workforce Bootcamp for Teens and Veterans

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Juneteenth Block Party

Crime Alert

On Wednesday, Captain Henning of the 25th Precinct went over the CompStat data and noted that there is an significant increase in property theft (from homes, cars, and work sites) between 125th and 135th streets. Please be extra vigilant and watch belongings, keep tempting items and packages out of sight.

For those car owners, it was also jaw-dropping to hear that he (the commanding officer) personally arrested a man this past month engaged in a car break-in. This individual had an arrest record of OVER 100 car break-ins. He was not held.


Untapped New York collected some wonderful images of the Harlem River Drive. Note in the first two images, the High Bridge (the bridge which brings Croton water into NYC) consists solely of masonry arches (your can see the Croton High Bridge tower on the right-hand side, above a white building):

Construction of the Harlem River Speedway began in 1894 with the carving of the bluffs overlooking the river. After its opening in 1896, it quickly became a tourist attraction where people could watch horse races on the track as well as boat races on the river. The track was as wide as one-hundred feet in some areas, allowing for several carriages to compete at once. The natural beauty of the surrounding scenery attracted spectators from all social classes. Thousands from around the country visited to watch planned parades and competitions, and rich sportsmen were satisfied with their exclusive speedway, using it heavily to train and display their horses. 

To read more about the history of the Harlem River Drive, see:

Tell NYC What You Think the Budget Priorities for CB11 Should Be

CB11 is collecting your opinions on what the city should budget for our community. Here is a quick Google Form for you to fill out. HNBA has already submitted a larger statement, but you can offer your own thoughts/ideas below:

How Old is Harlem, Anyway?

From the beginning we need to acknowledge that the idea of Harlem being ‘established’ is a Eurocentric and colonial concept that has been repeatedly used to overwrite the histories of indigenous Americans. And, for the Lenape people who inhabited Manahatta for centuries before Henry Hudson passed by searching for a route to the orient, the area we call Harlem was a seasonal hunting and fishing ground.

On this Welikia Project screenshot, you can see our part of Manhattan as it was in 1609 before the direct contact with Europeans:

And in more detail, here is Marcus Garvey Park – a treed hill with flatlands nearby:

It was, in fact, those grassy areas where Harlem is now centered, that attracted the Dutch settlers – there was less forest clearance necessary to plant crops. Indeed a number of farms were established in Harlem during the early years of Dutch colonial rule and then abandoned after hostilities with the Lenape and other First People. Eventually, in 1658, Peter Stuyvesant

at the session of the director-general and council held at Fort Amsterdam in New Netherland, the 4th of March 1658, established ‘Nieuwe Haarlem‘.

NYPD Crime Response Time Still Lags Three Months Post-Protest

The City reports that:

NYPD response times to incidents remain snagged three months after protests against police spurred long delays — while other emergency responders are getting to the scene faster than before the coronavirus took hold.

That’s the conclusion of THE CITY’s comparison of medical, fire and police response times so far in 2020, a year defined by sudden and intense demands on those rushing to incidents.

Starting in late March and running through mid-May, the COVID-19 pandemic sparked a jump in ambulance calls. Then anti-racism protests that peaked in mid June put the Police Department to the test.

Data from the 911 call system shows that the delays have affected every type of NYPD call, including what police call “critical crime in progress” — encompassing armed violent incidents, robberies and burglaries.

Responses to those incidents — measured from the first call to the arrival of the first unit — took an average of 8 minutes and 5 seconds in the last four weeks of August 2020, compared with 6 minutes and 49 seconds during the same period a year earlier.

For more, see: