Sessions Says New York City Is 'Soft On Crime.' The Numbers Disagree

Sessions Says New York City Is 'Soft On Crime.' The Numbers Disagree
New York City's murder rate and other crime statistics have steadily dropped for decades.

In a message on immigration compliance, Attorney General Jeff Sessions said New York City isn't doing enough to stop crime.

A statement from the Justice Department said, "New York City continues to see gang murder after gang murder, the predictable consequence of the city's 'soft on crime' stance."

But that statement seems to counter New York City's recent crime data. The city had 10 percent fewer murders and 22 percent fewer shootings in the first three months of 2017 than in the first quarter of 2016.

That's part of a steady 85 percent drop in the city's murder rate since 1990.

Sessions wants to increase sentences for violent offenders, but evidence suggests that harsher punishments aren't always effective deterrents for cime.

New York officials were predictably upset by the comment. NYPD Commissioner James O'Neill said it was "unbelievably disrespectful," and mayor Bill de Blasio called it "ignorant and insulting."

The NYPD relies on federal funding, and that could be at risk because of a separate issue. The Justice Department could withhold federal funding for law enforcement if it deems New York City isn't cracking down on illegal immigration.