NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said Thursday that he absolutely wants to rebut the terror the news media has created about crime.

As 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported, Bratton dismissed reports claiming that the city is being invaded by the infamous old squeegee men, and overrun by sinister costumed characters in Times Square.

Bratton said at a news conference Thursday that New York City is still the safest large city in the United States, and he said overall crime is down the first eight months of this year by almost 4 percent.

“In terms of the terror that some of the media are trying to create, I’m sorry, one squeegee pest is not an invasion. I’m sorry, Elmo problems in Times Square are not being overrun by Elmos,” he said. “And as the crime numbers clearly indicate, I’m quite proud of the work of the men and women of this department.”

NYPD Deputy Commissioner Dermot Shea said multiple categories of crime are down.

“Transit robbery is down. Home invasion is down. Robberies involving guns – down. We’re down in electronic crime theft – specifically, Apple-related crimes are significantly lower,” Shea said.

But Bratton conceded that there are still problems, including “increase of about 9 percent in our shooting incidents, although the trending is starting to go down in that area; we were in double digits for a while.”

Grand larcenies of autos have also increased, police said.

Earlier this month, a New York Post report claiming “Squeegee men are back terrorizing NYC streets.”

Longtime New Yorkers will recall the problem: Vagrants accosting drivers at stop lights, spraying windshields of cars, wiping them down and then demanding cash.

Bratton took issue with the report right away, and said the Post had only mentioned three specific people who were acting as squeegee men.

Costumed characters in Times Square have also gained infamy in the headlines in recent months.

Authorities say some of the characters have attacked tourists or harassed them for not paying for photos.

You may also be interested in these stories:

Watch & Listen LIVE