Thursday, December 28, 2017

Crime Falling in New York

The headlines over the past two years have been about the surge in homicide in Chicago, Baltimore, and a few other cities. But across most of the country the decline in crime has continued:
It would have seemed unbelievable in 1990, when there were 2,245 killings in New York City, but as of Wednesday there have been just 286 in the city this year — the lowest since reliable records have been kept.

In fact, crime has fallen in New York City in each of the major felony categories — murder and manslaughter, rape, assault, robbery, burglary, grand larceny, and car thefts — to a total of 94,806 as of Sunday, well below the previous record low of 101,716 set last year.

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.
Reining in aggressive policing did not lead to more crime; neither did continued high immigration. So not much fodder for Trumpian conservatives. On the other hand surging inequality also did not have any impact, which is a problem for the far left. If you ask me, there are two factors at work, the reduction of lead in the environment and our becoming a gentler society with less violence of every sort, at least within our borders.

2 comments:

David said...

I too am struck that there is little for either the stereotypical right or the stereotypical left in these statistics. But I would suggest two darker possibilities for explanation.

One is that there may have been some sort of stabilization in the drug trade, both on the dealer side (less shooting of each other) and on the user side (how addicts get money to feed their habit). I'm not sure what this stabilization would be, but I think it's a possibility that has to be considered.

The other, even darker possibility--and I predict I will get in trouble for suggesting this--is that mass long-term incarceration has had some influence in reducing crime, perhaps by removing some more or less small number of career criminals and incorrigible troublemakers, perhaps for some other reason, or some combination of reasons. I'm not saying I have some personal esteem for the idea of mass incarceration, or that police tough-guy-ism makes my heart glad--but I think it's a fact whose possible influence must be acknowledged and examined.

szopen said...

Well, when looking at the trends or trying to see effects of the policies the one question is that whether the population now is the same as population then... If I am not mistaken, in USA there is one single demographic indicator (Except poverty) which strongly correlates with crime :D and this indicator has changed for New York.