There were no recorded murders in New York City last week. According to the Mayor's Office, the city has seen 90 fewer murders than at this point last year, a decrease of 26%. While this is undoubtably good news, it's worth noting that six people were killed in traffic fatalities from October 6 through the 13th, including a 2-year-old boy killed crossing the street with his mother in Queens, 12-year-old boy who was killed retrieving his ball in Park Slope and a 3-year-old walking with her grandmother in Flushing.
In addition to those fatalities, a man was killed by a tow truck driver as he crossed the street in the Bronx; a hit & run driver killed a man crossing the street in Brooklyn; and a motorcyclist lost control of his vehicle and fatally crashed into a barrier on the Cross Island Parkway in Queens.
As of September 1st, traffic fatalities in New York City had decreased by 2%, from 192 last year to 189.
Last week NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly was asked by a reporter for The Atlantic what the department could do to better prevent traffic violence.
"We do have 8.4 million people," he said. "We do have a daytime population that’s over 10 million people. You’re going to have a lot of traffic and you’re going to have accidents."
Kelly made it clear that he hasn’t reconsidered his department’s less-than-aggressive approach to investigating drivers who endanger others by speeding, running red lights, and the like—all of which are classified as violations and not crimes.
"Some people say that the police are not arresting enough people for reckless driving and that sort of thing. Well, you have to—and there are many court decisions that say this—you have to observe the violation," said Kelly. "It takes in-depth investigation and examination, it takes witnesses, it’s much more complex than you might think."
At a City Council Transportation Committee hearing last week, an NYPD representative balked at making its crash data public, claiming that the public doesn't have enough context to understand it.
“Putting it on a map is inherently somewhat misleading,” NYPD Legal Affairs Assistant Commissioner Susan Petito said, according to Streetsblog. “The utility of a street address, I can’t sit here and tell you that would add anything.”
Last month we attended an oversight hearing conducted by the Transportation and Public Safety Committees on NYPD crash investigations and found that the department has done little to improve the quality of their investigations, hold dangerous drivers accountable, and target resources towards more productive means of enforcement.