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NYC public schools see uptick in felonies in 2022: mayor’s report

Big Apple schools saw nearly 350 felony incidents last year — with 95 recorded in the last four months alone, according to new City Hall data.

The disturbing statistic from fiscal year 2022 inches closer to pre-pandemic 2019, when 444 felony incidents were recorded, said the Preliminary Mayor’s Management Report released this week.

There were 346 felony incidents in 2022, up significantly from the year before, which saw only 85 during the height of the pandemic when schools were mostly closed.

Last year’s startling statistic was also well above 288 incidents in 2020, for which the COVID-19 pandemic overlapped three months.

Between October and January, the number of felony incidents in public schools jumped to 95 from 72 during the same period in 2022, the report said.

The fiscal year in the city runs from July 1 to June 30.

The NYPD defines the seven major felony offenses as murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and grand larceny of a motor vehicle.

NYPD responding to the High School for Environmental Studies in Manhattan on May 20, 2022. A City Hall report found that there was a 350 felony incidents at city schools in the 2022 fiscal year.
Daniel William McKnight

The NYPD could not immediately provide a breakdown of which felonies had been committed in schools.

But The Post reported in 2022 that since the return to in-person schooling, assault and sex offenses spiked and weapon recoveries in schools were up 80%.

Those weapons often include items like pepper spray and are carried for self-defense. Schools Chancellor David Banks has said that it is because students are worried about their safety near schools.

But one mom says the crime wave in schools has been happening for years.

Guns confiscated at New York City public schools displayed at NYPD headquarters on May 25, 2022.
Photo by Spencer Platt/Getty Images

“I’m not going to attribute this epidemic to the COVID pandemic and lockdown,” said Mona Davids, a high school parent, union leader and head of the NYC School Safety Coalition.

“This was happening even before that. It started years before, because even years ago I was testifying at the City Council and also New York State hearings about weapons confiscated in schools and all of this stuff. But coming out of the lockdowns and then the enactment of these criminal justice reforms, it just exploded.”

Next weekend, the coalition is holding its first-ever Youth and School Safety Summit.

Davids said the “madness of the last couple of years” drove the group to plan the event, recounting an increase in youth violence, especially in proximity to schools, where some students have even found themselves caught in gunfire.

Panels at the summit will include mothers who have lost their children to youth violence, representatives from violence interrupter programs and NYPD and city Department of Education school safety heads, Davids said.

According to the mayor’s report, which is issued twice a year and details the performances of city agencies, the rise in incidents in the major felony category was expected.

It says school felony incidents “remained within the pre-pandemic expected range in the first four months of fiscal year 2023.”

On Tuesday, parents from Russell Sage JHS in Forest Hills received notice of a lockdown after police received a call for a possible firearm found at the school. It turned out to be an imitation firearm, or air pistol, that a 12-year-old boy had in his backpack, according to police. 

The student was taken into custody and then released to his parents on a juvenile report, authorities said. 

The recent uptick in school crime following the pandemic comes as city public school enrollment has declined. Enrollment in DOE-operated schools dropped by almost 100,000 students between the 2019 school year and the 2022 school year. 

In a recent interview with PIX11 on youth violence and talk of more school safety agents, Banks said, “The answer, though, for this situation is not really about additional school safety agents.” 

He continued, “It’s about the additional supports that we’re going to provide to young people who just seem to be lost, not engaged in the way that they really need to be.”

The percentage of students feeling safe in their schools has remained steady over the past three years, with 85% reporting so in 2022, according to the mayor’s report.

The DOE did not immediately respond to a request for comment.