The crime rate in New York City dropped significantly last week as Superstorm Sandy pounded the metropolitan area, the city’s police department reports, according to the New York Daily News
The New York City Police Department (NYPD) said murders dropped 86 percent from Monday through Friday from 2011 statistics, and officials point to Sandy as the direct cause, the News said.
“After a natural disaster or large-scale catastrophe like 9/11, we see conventional crime come down,” NYPD spokesperson Paul Browne said in a statement. “A lot of people are indoors. Taverns are closed. You have less people out late at night and getting into disputes.”
Robberies were down 30 percent, assault saw a 31 percent drop, larceny numbers fell 48 percent, and car thefts dropped 24 percent.
The lone uptick in general crime was burglaries, which crept up 3 percent in the days after Sandy. “The fact that burglaries are up is not surprising," said Browne. "There are a lot of unlit areas.”
The overall crime stats from last Monday through Friday dropped, with 1,061 crimes over the five days compared to 1,541 last year, Browne said.
“Police continued to be deployed to storm-affected areas by the thousands on extended tours of duty to provide security and recovery assistance,” Browne told the News.
Police are out in force helping out in the aftermath of one of the worst natural disasters to reach the region in history, he said.
Another area where crime is on the upswing is in and around gas stations. The gas crunch has caused ruffled feelings among those waiting and many stations have police around to keep the peace.
At least 10 people were arrested last Friday for disputes in and around gas stations, mostly for line-jumping.
Drivers tempers have grown short after they have sat in the frigid temperatures sometimes for hours and someone decided to try to skip the wait and roll up to the pump. Five others were arrested for disorderly conduct, the News reported.
One person was charged after a driver threatened another with a gun, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
A man in Staten Island wearing a Red Cross vest was arrested for burglary when police saw him trying to gain entrance to several unoccupied homes.
There have been a number of looting incidents in the city’s hard-hit areas, including the Rockaways and Coney Island, but Browne said the Sandy-related looting pales in comparison to what occurred during the city’s major blackouts of the past.
Reuters News Service contributed to this report
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