By Murray Weiss
MANHATTAN -- Crime has spiked in the Big Apple -- and Mother Nature is being blamed.
Unseasonably warm temperatures for the first month of the 2012 have coincided with a 5.7 percent jump in major crimes citywide.
The increase is led by double-digit jumps in robberies, burglaries and grand larceny, police statistics show. Murder and rape reports are also up from the same time last year.
NYPD insiders say the only logical explanation is the unseasonably warm weather that has New Yorkers, criminals included, spending more time outdoors on snow-free streets. In early 2011, criminals had to contend with snowdrifts and blizzards.
"Everyone knows that bad weather is a cop's best friend," one police official told "On the Inside."
"That is the only factor that seems to have changed. Last winter the city was buried in snow, and now there has been barely a snow flake," he added.
Thomas Reppetto, former president of the Citizens Crime Commission and author of the upcoming book "American Policing: 1945 to 2012," agreed.
"The three best cops are snow, ice and freezing temperatures," Reppetto said. "They have not been on the beat this winter."
NYPD figures through last Sunday show there were 9,902 serious crimes reported this year, compared to 9,366 for the same period last year.
Murders and rape have risen 5.9 percent, from 34 to 36 and 135 to 143 respectively; robberies are up 10.8 percent, from 1,770 to 1,962; burglaries jumped 11.8 percent, from 1,631 to 1,824; and grand larcenies are up 10.3 percent, from 3,295 to 3,635, according to police figures obtained by DNAinfo.
The number of shooting incidents has also jumped 9.2 percent, from 98 incidents last year to 107 shootings so far this year, the data showed.
New York has experienced nearly two decades of annual crime declines since skyrocketing to chilling levels of violence in the early 1990s that topped out at 2,245 slayings in 1990.
The most recent borough breakdown of crime appears on the NYPD's official website.
Crime in Manhattan North above 59th Street has jumped more than 11 percent, the data showed. It is followed by Queens North, where crime is up 8 percent; Brooklyn North with a 5.45 percent increase; Queens South where crime jumped 4.3 percent; the Bronx with a nearly 4 percent increase and Manhattan South where crime is up about 3 percent.
Staten Island and Brooklyn South show crime declines of about 3 percent.
Last year, major crime in New York City rose less than 1 percent from the previous year, nearly the 21st consecutive year that the number of major felony crimes was down. For the 10th consecutive year, the number of murders was below 600, a benchmark not seen since the 1960s.
Police officials privately say it is too early to predict where crime will end this year, but they believe they have managed to adjust to spikes and trends to keep a cap on it.