As of Wednesday, December 27, there have been a mere 286 murders in New York City this year, which is the lowest in recorded history. This is a far cry from a quarter century ago, in 1990 when the city had 2,245 killings, a record high.
The city has actually seen a decline in all major categories of felonies, including murder and manslaughter, rape, assault, robbery, burglary, grand larceny, and car thefts, which as of last Sunday hit a total of 94,806. This rate marks the new record low, which was previously set last year with 101,716 felony crimes committed.
According to the New York Times, “If the trend holds just a few more days, this year’s homicide total will be under the city’s previous low of 333 in 2014, and crime will have declined for 27 straight years, to levels that police officials have said are the lowest since the 1950s. The numbers, when taken together, portray a city of 8.5 million people growing safer even as the police, under Mayor Bill de Blasio, use less deadly force, make fewer arrests and scale back controversial practices like stopping and frisking thousands of people on the streets.”
Former police commissioner William Bratton, who retired last year from his second term, said, “There is no denying that the arc is truly exceptional in the unbroken streak of declining crime.”
There is however one area that has officials concerned; the end of 2017 has experienced an increase in reports of rape. NYT reports, “The increase, which officials said included a higher-than-normal number of attacks that occurred more than one year ago, coincided with the publication of accusations against powerful men like Harvey Weinstein, which gave rise to the #MeToo movement encouraging victims to come forward. City police officials have said they believed news coverage played a role in the spike in reports, though they also credited their own efforts combating domestic violence with encouraging victims to speak up. And while rapes were down from last year by one, to 1,417, misdemeanor sex crimes — a catchall for various types of misconduct that includes groping — ticked up 9.3 percent to 3,585 so far.”
Not only were homicide rates over 2,200 in 1990 when Bratton became head of the city’s transit police, but over 5,000 people were shot and over 527,000 major felony crimes were committed. Last year the city had a record low number of shootings equal to 998, and as of last Sunday this year broke that record with just 774 shootings. Also, for the first time in history that have been less than 1,000 people injured by gunfire, with 917 people shot this year as of last Sunday.
By Rebecca Gold