By Murray Weiss, DNAinfo Columnist / Criminal Justice Editor
NEW YORK CITY — Despite Mayor Michael Bloomberg heralding a record-low number of inmates in city jails, the amount of people arrested during his administration is the highest in city history, DNAinfo.com New York has found.
In fact, the number of NYPD arrests in the Big Apple has jumped nearly 23 percent since Bloomberg took office — there were 338,788 collars in 2002 compared to 413,573 last year, police statistics show.
And the number of people caught in the criminal justice system started to climb virtually from the day he took office and appointed Raymond Kelly as his police commissioner.
There were 334,163 collars in 2003 — which was a scant decline from the previous year — but after that the number of arrests jumped to 351,435 in 2004 and continued to climb until it reached a peak of 422,982 arrests in 2010.
Stop-and-frisks, meanwhile, rocketed in New York from 98,000 during Bloomberg’s first year to nearly 700,000 last year — a staggering 600 percent rise that prompted widespread concern of racial profiling by the NYPD because they occurred primarily in minority communities.
Bloomberg said Thursday that 12,125 New Yorkers are held in city jails on an average day — the fewest since 1986 and down 32 percent since 2001 when he took office.
He also claimed the low number demonstrated crime continued to fall despite the fact there are fewer people in city jails.
“Unlike many other places in this country, we have not cut crime by locking more people up,” Bloomberg said during remarks at the Department of Correction graduation ceremony in the Bronx.
“We’ve cut crime … by preventing crime from occurring,” he said, crediting “pro-active strategies designed” to deter criminal activity.
Bloomberg spokesman Marc La Vorgna said that when the mayor referred to people who were locked up, he specifically meant those who were sentenced to jail time.
Still, there are hundreds of thousands of other New Yorkers who are arrested and spun through the legal system, often spending days at a time in cells before their cases are dropped or they are released.