2009-06-25 / Top Stories

Stats Show Crime Continues To Drop In NYC Public Schools

Mayor Bloomberg (far right) refers to chart that shows decline in crime in city schools, as other city officials, including schools chancellor and police commissioner, look on last Thursday. Edward Reed    Mayor Bloomberg (far right) refers to chart that shows decline in crime in city schools, as other city officials, including schools chancellor and police commissioner, look on last Thursday. Edward Reed Mayor Michael Bloomberg, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Schools Chancellor Joel Klein last week announced that crime has continued to drop in city public schools. Through May 3, there were 737 major felony crimes reported, compared with 810 crimes during the same period last year — a nine percent decrease in major felony crime.

Since the year before Mayor Bloomberg took office, major felony crime has dropped 44 percent. Schools in the "Impact School" program, icluding Canarsie and Tilden high schools, have also experienced a precipitous drop in major felony crime. There were only 19 major crimes in the seven current Impact Schools through May 3, compared to 52 for the same period in the schools' on the Impact list.

"Safe learning environments are critical to student success, and that's why we continue to work hard to cut crime and violence in schools," said the mayor. "The NYPD, the Department of Education, and Criminal Justice Coordinator John Feinblatt have worked hard to support school communities and ensure that schools are a safe place for students. One crime in our schools is still one too many — but our school safety efforts are succeeding."

"Crime decline in the schools is in step with the city's continuing and historic drop in crime," said Kelly. "Keeping the schools safe has been an important ingredient in the overall improvement in public safety."

"We knew early on that we could not expect teachers to teach and children to learn if they didn't feel safe at school," said Chancellor Klein. "I am proud that we've made our schools safer—and it never could have happened without our strong partnership with the Police Department."

"Our most fundamental priority is the safety and security of students and staff, and we're very encouraged by these statistics," said UFT President Randi Weingarten. "You cannot have an effective learning environment if kids or their teachers feel they are at risk, and a lot of work goes into preventing problems from arising."

In 2004, the Administration launched the Impact School initiative to reduce school violence and disorder and create safer learning environments. Significant progress was made at the seven current Impact Schools this year. Beach Channel High School in Queens experienced a 50 percent decrease since 2007-08, when it was first added to the Impact list. Brooklyn's Sheepshead Bay High School experienced a 67 percent decrease in major felony crimes, falling to 4 from 12 since it was added to the list in 2003-04.

For the seven schools and campuses currently in the Impact School initiative, major crimes are down by 63 percent and violent crime is down by 70 percent this school year compared with the first year the schools became Impact schools. The current Impact Schools in Brooklyn include Canarsie High School Campus, Tilden High School Campus and Sheepshead Bay High School.

Impact Schools are selected through an evaluation of Police Department and Department of Education data. Indicators examined include the total number of criminal incidents at a school, the number of incidents involving violence, the number of major crimes, the number of incidents involving weapons or dangerous instruments, and a qualitative review of school conditions.

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I'm glad to see some progress is being made. Student safety has got to be everyone's primary concern. The "Impact School" program is having a positive effect, but school faculties and civic officials must not relax their efforts.
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