New York City has come undone in Bill de Blasio’s final year as mayor, with even his big-ticket initiatives proving disastrous while Hizzoner continued to focus on his public image with daily briefings about a pandemic even he acknowledged the city was ready to put in the rear-view, stunning new statistics show.
The Mayor’s Management Report, released late Friday, reveals a city that is fundamentally unsafe due to police cuts and failure to enforce laws already on the books — all against the backdrop of a big dip in school enrollment amid a push to scrap advanced classes for gifted children.
The revelations in the report, prepared by City Hall, include:
- Major felony crimes increased for a third consecutive year
- City streets — the mayor’s No. 1 priority under his keystone initiative, “Vision Zero,” are less safe as 275 people – including 133 pedestrians – were killed in traffic accidents, a 30-percent jump over the previous year and the most since 2014
- Meanwhile, the NYPD managed to arrest just 13 drivers for striking pedestrians with their cars, despite recording nearly 1,800 such collisions. And the number of speeding and failure-to-yield summonses issued by cops dropped by more than 27 percent and more than 63 percent, respectively.
- Despite the mayor’s frequent pronouncements about the urgency of fighting climate change, the city added no new Select Bus Service miles this past fiscal year – and the number of new bike lanes was the lowest since 2016.
Presiding over the chaos is de Blasio, whose daily briefings, begun amid the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, have devolved into often sideshows seemingly aimed at bolstering his personal brand as he weighs his future, reportedly mulling a run for governor next year.
When asked about the report during Thursday’s virtual briefing from City Hall, the mayor continued to blame the pandemic.
“The traffic fatalities, for example, some of what we’ve seen with crime, some what we see in terms of Department of Correction, all of that is because COVID set a whole series of things in motion,” Hizzoner insisted.
“There are other problems, always. I’m not trying to say COVID is the only problem. I’m saying the numbers you’ll see in the report that are not satisfying at all have, in many cases, a basis in the disruption of COVID. It doesn’t mean anything, but we have to keep working with every tool we’ve got to fix it.”
That drew a rebuke from City Councilman Bob Holden (D-Queens).
“COVID’s been the mayor’s convenient excuse for the failures of his administration since the very start of the pandemic,” Holden told The Post. “And that has been repeated by almost all of his staff and commissioners. Everything else is to blame for his poor management skills and bad decisions. He should look no further than the mirror.”
Here’s a look at where the report says the city is coming up short:
While the number of major felony offenses in the city increased just 0.6 percent over last year, some crimes were far more prevalent than others. There were 489 cases of murder and non-negligent manslaughter in fiscal year 2021, a 38.9 percent jump over the same 12-month period last year.
Fiscal year 2021 was also a bad time to bring your car into the city, as the number of grand larceny auto cases increased by 47.2 percent.
Housing developments proved to be more unsafe than the rest of NYC, as major felony crimes there increased 10.9 percent. Meanwhile, the number of major felony crime arrests dropped 14.5 percent over the previous year.
The news wasn’t all bad, as the number of reported rapes, robberies and grand larcenies dropped over the previous year.
The number of traffic deaths in the city soared in the past 12 months as 275 people — including 123 pedestrians — were killed in crashes, a 30-percent jump from the 211 traffic-related fatalities reported during the same 12-month period in 2020 and the most deaths on city streets since 2014 when 285 people died.
Despite the carnage, the number of summonses issued by cops dropped an astonishing 57 percent from pre-pandemic levels.
The NYPD reported writing just 298,377 violations of driving laws between July 1, 2020 and June 31, 2021, the twelve month span covered by the report.
That’s just a fraction of the 696,012 summons cops handed out over the same time period in 2019, when the Big Apple clocked just 218 traffic-related deaths.
Transit advocates have used the massive decline in enforcement to again press state lawmakers in Albany to allow city officials to run the red light and speed cameras 24-hours a day. Currently, they can only operate on weekdays between 6 a.m. and 10 p.m.
The number of serious fires per 1,000 structure fires jumped above 70 for the first time since fiscal year 2017, and some of those blazes proved deadly.
In fiscal year 2021, 64 civilians died from injuries sustained in fires, a 20 percent increase from Fiscal 2020.
The FDNY also saw an increase in total service-connected injuries, with a 12 percent increase in firefighter injuries and a 15 percent increase in firefighter burns.
The report also finds that the COVID-19 pandemic led to a months-long halt in required fire inspections, with 26 percent fewer mandatory inspections and 62 percent fewer risk-based inspections completed compared to the previous year.
BEHIND BARS BEDLAM
The report’s section on the Department of Correction (DOC) shows the extent of the unfolding chaos at Rikers Island.
About 70 percent of current inmates are awaiting trial for a violent felony offense and gang members now make up 23 percent of the jail population, up from 17 percent last year. Violent incidents in city jails also spiked from 80 per month last year to 98 this year, a 23 percent increase.
The report blames the violence on two of the mayor’s favorite bogeymen — the pandemic and the backlogged state court system.
The DOC is trying to quell the chaos by breaking up housing of gang members and cracking down on “serious violent actions” by inmates, but the staffing shortage is so dire that there aren’t enough correction officers to bring inmates to the infirmary. Health clinic visits decreased by a whopping 68 percent from last year.
Rocked by the controversial tenure and abrupt exit of former chancellor Richard Carranza and ongoing coronavirus upheaval, the 2020-2021 school year was marked by uncertainty. Many of the traditional metrics used to assess the Department of Education’s performance — like grades, school safety, and attendance — were distorted by the pandemic’s impact and weren’t covered in the report.
The report did note that kindergarten enrollment plunged by nearly 10,000 kids last year, going from 67,589 in 2020 to 58,469. Kindergarten enrollment is down by 15 percent total since 2017, but the trend accelerated due to the pandemic.
The number of city kids enrolled in special education dipped for the first time in five years, going from 305,429 to 295,623 last year, the report shows.
The statistic that best reflects last year’s upheaval may be the number of calls from families to school parent coordinators, which ballooned from 8,863 in 2020 to 12,800 last year — and has doubled since 2017.
MENTAL HEALTH NOT THRIVE-ING
The Office of Community Mental Health, formerly known as first lady Chirlane McCray’s embattled $1.25 billion ThriveNYC initiative, struggled to help some of the neediest New Yorkers during the pandemic.
Two in-person training programs, Mental Health First Aid and Crisis Intervention Training, are still suspended due to COVID-19 safety precautions, even though city workers have been back in their offices for months.
The number of crime victims offered emotional support services also dropped from 49,000 in fiscal year 2020 to 39,000 in fiscal year 2021. Officials attribute the decline to the program’s move from face-to-face support to telephone counseling during the pandemic.
Starting this year, mental health service in high-needs schools will be run by the Department of Education and the Department of Health, not by the Office of Community Mental Health. The report doesn’t explain the change, but officials have transferred programs away from the office in the past when they weren’t managed effectively.