NYPD slow to train officers in crisis intervention, new data shows
The New York Daily News - 9/18/2018
Sept. 18--The city has trained only 9,889 officers in crisis intervention training as of June, more than two years after an elderly, mentally ill woman was shot to death -- and despite previously saying 23,000 officers would be trained by 2018.
The data was revealed in the Mayor's Management Report -- which showed that 4,018 were trained in the last fiscal year, ending on June 30, bringing the total to 9,889 since fiscal year 2015.
The training is meant to help officers more safely respond to mental health crises -- like the case of Deborah Danner, 66, a schizophrenic woman shot to death by an NYPD sergeant as she swung a baseball bat at him.
When advocates for the mentally ill called on the city to re-instate a special task force on the anniversary of her death in 2017, a City Hall spokeswoman noted the progress made on crisis intervention training -- and told the News in writing that all 23,000 patrol officers would be trained by 2018.
Asked today about that deadline, the spokeswoman said she had misspoke in 2017 and that only supervisors would be trained by the close of 2018, and all officers by 2024.
While the spokeswoman said the city was on track to meet that goal, it'll be tough to measure -- in the Mayor's Management Report, the goals for how many officers should have been trained in fiscal 2018 is listed as an asterisk, meaning there is no numerical goal. The training goal for the next fiscal year is also listed as an asterisk.
Meanwhile, crime spiked last fiscal year at 15 public housing developments targeted by the city with extra police, anti-crime lights and social programs, the data show.
The number of major crimes at the 15 hot spot projects jumped from 759 in fiscal 2017 to 778 in fiscal 2018, the report also revealed.
That's down from the 867 in fiscal 2014 when de Blasio launched his Mayor's Action Plan aimed at reversing the rising crime at the 15 developments city-wide.
But it shows the difficulty in keeping criminal activity in developments prone to crime, with major crimes such as murder, rape, robbery, assault rising after years of trending downward.
Starting in 2014, de Blasio's Mayor's Office of Criminal Justice implemented a strategy aimed at keeping the numbers dropping. NYPD added cops, while NYCHA set up high-powered light towers on darkened pathways, installed high-tech "layered access" systems in building entry doors, and added hours and programs to youth and community centers. And still the numbers rose.
A spokeswoman for the mayor noted that overall crime in all 320 public housing developments dropped 5% from 5,084 in fiscal 2017 to 4,853 in fiscal 2018.
"New York is the safest big city in the country because this Administration has deepened the bond between community and police," she said. "Neighborhood policing has led to a 10% reduction in crime across NYCHA since 2014, and we will continue to target enforcement to drive these rates down even further."
The cost of housing the homeless continued its frustratingly upward swing, rising to unprecedented levels.
The cost per day to house a family with children in fiscal 2018 was $192.10 per day, a stunning 88% spike from $102.61 in fiscal 2014.
For single adults it's now costing the city $117.43 per day -- 50% increase from $78.38 in fiscal 2014.
The number of homeless individuals who exited the shelters into permanent housing rose 5% from 17,184 in fiscal 2017 to 18,039 in fiscal 2018, but the average time spent in shelter continued to grow significantly. The single-adult stay is now 401 days, up radically from 305 in fiscal 2014. The average shelter stay for families with children is now 438, up slightly from 427 in fiscal 2014.
Department of Homeless Services spokesman Isaac McGinn said costs rose as they upgraded shelters, added security and enhanced mental health services, gave cost-of-living adjustments to non-profits that operate many shelters, and relied on more expensive commercial hotels as they reduced the number of private apartments known as "cluster sites."
"We're transforming a haphazard shelter system by ending the use of cheaper stop-gap measures and investing heavily in service providers, shelter security, and repairs and renovations," McGinn said. "Our rental assistance and rehousing programs have helped more than 97,000 New Yorkers enter or remain in permanent housing and we're proud to invest in solutions that are turning the tide."
As for the FDNY, the number of fire fatalities rose to 97 people in Fiscal Year 2018. That's a five year high and 126% increase from the 43 deaths in FY 2017.
The FDNY's average response times to structural fires also went up over that same period. It took firefighters an average of 4 minutes 20 seconds to get to those scenes last fiscal year, up from the 4 minutes 13 seconds over the same period the prior year.
In the Correction Department, there was a 9.5% increase in serious injuries caused by assaults on staff. There was also a 10.7% increase in use of force incidents, from 4,673 in 2017 to 5,175 in 2018.
But it wasn't all bad news for the city's jail system.
The number of stabbings and slashings dropped by 41.8% over the past year, from 165 in 2017 to 96 in 2018. That's the lowest total since 2014.
Additionally, the average daily population dropped below 9,000 people for the first time in years.
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