Violent crimes in the Bronx are decreasing, according to newly-released data, and some Bronxites are hoping the news leads to an overall change for the better in the borough. NY1's Erin Clarke filed the following report.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. said the Bronx is safer than it was years ago.
"Violent crimes and guns and murders are lower than we've ever seen them, since 1963," he said.
Diaz said the borough, especially the South Bronx, doesn't deserve the bad reputation some have given it over the years.
According to data recently released by police and borough officials, the Bronx saw a drop in shooting victims by about eight percent and a drop in shooting incidents of about seven percent.
The decrease in violent crimes puts the Bronx's murder rate significantly lower than many other major U.S. cities, some with much smaller populations.
"New Orleans has about one-third the population of the Bronx and yet one and half times the amount in murder rate," Diaz Jr. said.
Diaz credited the police department and community partners, like the South Bronx Overall Economic Development Corporation, for the decrease. Many of SOBRO's programs address crime.
"We worked on anti-gang activity," said Phillip Morrow, executive director of SOBRO. "We had a program, 'Weed and Seed,' which was specifically directed at reducing the amount of crime in the neighborhood, supporting the police department with more enforcement and supporting the community by increasing police/community relations."
While the drop in crime is an accomplishment in itself, borough officials hope it will lead to more good in the Bronx.
"It will lead to economic development," Diaz Jr. said. "It will lead to investment."
Some residents NY1 spoke with said new construction in the South Bronx has already made it a safer neighborhood as more businesses and people move in.
"It's a big difference now," said one resident. "I think there's more police in the area, protecting the area."
Residents, elected officials and community groups said the job is far from done, though. They hope the borough can also see a drop next year in areas where crime rose, such as assaults, robberies and rapes. They said this year's stats are a good start.