After being on the defensive for most of the year, police officials trumpeted some good news about violent crime in the city as they announced plans to guard against potential terror threats over the long holiday weekend. NY1's Dean Meminger filed the following report.
There were fewer major crimes last month than in any June since the NYPD began keeping detailed statistics, big news for a department that battled a spike in violence during the first months of the year.
"It's my expectation that by the end of this year, that we may end the year with the, once again, the lowest amount of crime recorded in the history of the city," said Police Commissioner William Bratton.
The number of murders in June plunged from 37 last year to a record 23 this year. Shootings in June fell from 121 in 2014 to 108 this year.
Shootings and murders are still up slightly for the year, but officials say they've turned the tide, in part through a summer program putting more police in problem areas.
"When you look at the last three months in totality, this year compared to last year, we have one additional homicide," said Dermot Shea, deputy police commissioner for operations.
The jump in crime earlier this year gave momentum to the police commissioner's push to expand the NYPD. He says the turnaround shows his team had a handle on the problem even before the mayor and City Council agreed last week to hire 1,300 officers.
"The 1,297 had nothing to do with crime," Bratton said. "Those 1,297 are a plan that Chief O'Neill and Chief Gomez developed. It was presented to the mayor, and then subsequently the City Council, to re-staff precincts to implement a lot of the community relation-building initiatives that we announced."
A more immediate concern is the potential for terrorism during the Fourth of July. There are no known credible threats, but the NYPD still has a plan.
"That's going to include uniformed counterterrorism officers who are specially trained, pulled from throughout the city," said John Miller, deputy police commissioner for intelligence and counterterrorism. "Radiation detection, which will range from everything from the radiation detection pagers that our police officers wear on their belts to our radiation detection boats that will be out in the harbosr."
The NYPD is also reminding New Yorkers that shooting off your own fireworks in the city is illegal. Dozens of officers and hidden cameras will be on the lookout for those breaking the law.