Crime Strategies Unit
The primary mission of the Manhattan District Attorney’s Office is to enhance public safety through the fair and just administration of the law. Since 1990, Manhattan, like the rest of the city, has seen a dramatic reduction in crime, with index crimes falling more than 80 percent and murders in the borough down by 86 percent (503 in 1990 vs. 70 in 2010). The New York City Police Department, working with its law enforcement partners, has led the way in effectively reducing crime by employing innovative strategies, concentrating on ground-breaking ideas and resources, and focusing on what were once considered intractable crime problems.
The Manhattan District Attorney’s Office, working in full partnership with the NYPD, other law enforcement agencies, and community groups, is at the forefront of efforts to maintain these gains and achieve additional drops in crime. This effort requires that we have a clear understanding of the nature of the crime issues facing our communities, from violent crimes to quality-of-life issues, and who is committing those crimes. To further that effort, the DA’s Office is developing and implementing new approaches to more effectively use our prosecutorial resources to keep our streets safe.
To this end, District Attorney Vance created the Crime Strategies Unit (“CSU”), whose mission is to harness the collective resources of the Office in order to develop and implement intelligence-driven prosecution strategies that address crime issues and target priority offenders. The precincts of Manhattan have been grouped into five geographic areas, with a senior prosecutor from CSU assigned to focus on and understand the criminal activity in each of the areas. These Assistant District Attorneys team with investigators, community affairs liaisons, and intelligence analysts to identify opportunities to reduce and prevent crime by improving the timely and accurate sharing of criminal intelligence throughout the District Attorney’s Office and among all law enforcement agencies.
In addition to the human resources committed to this effort, the Office is using new technology to help ADAs be more effective. Deploying an innovative Arrest Alert System managed by CSU, ADAs throughout the Office are notified when a priority defendant has been arrested and can ensure that charging decisions, bail applications, and sentencing recommendations address that defendant’s impact on criminal activity in our communities. Additionally, the Office has developed a sophisticated mapping capability that enables us to visually depict criminal activity based on various identifiers such as gang affiliation, type of crime or possession of a weapon, and help identify, for example, previously unnoticed patterns or gang activity.