San Francisco Chronicle

From U.S. mur­der cap­i­tal to near record lows

- By Colleen Long Colleen Long is an As­so­ci­ated Press writer.

NEW YORK — Even af­ter two ter­ror at­tacks and a driver’s deadly ram­page through Times Square, New York City is on track to smash its mod­ern­era low for homi­cides in a year.

Through Dec. 17, the city of 8.5 mil­lion peo­ple, once Amer­ica’s mur­der cap­i­tal, had recorded 278 killings. That puts it on pace to end this year with killings down 14 per­cent from last year, and well be­low the 333 in 2014, which was the year with the fewest homi­cides since the city be­gan keep­ing ac­cu­rate crime statis­tics in 1963.

Those num­bers mean a per­son’s odds of get­ting killed by homi­cide in tightly packed, di­verse New York City this year were about the same as they were last year in Wy­oming, Mon­tana and South Dakota.

Crime has been drop­ping for many years in New York, but 2017 saw sub­stan­tial drops even in places like Brook­lyn’s 75th Po­lice Precinct, once among the na­tion’s most vi­o­lent places.

“You can feel the change. More peo­ple are out walk­ing the streets at night, they’re out talk­ing to their neigh­bors, they’re not rush­ing their kids home, you know, with their heads down,” said Rashaud Carmichael, 36, a con­struc­tion worker and father of three who lives in the area. “I’ve lived here all my life. And man, I can tell you, it’s a dif­fer­ent world now.”

There were 126 killings in the precinct in 1993. Last year, there were 23. This year, through Dec. 17, there have been 11.

The statis­tics stand in sharp con­trast to the pic­ture of New York City painted by Pres­i­dent Trump on the cam­paign trail a year ago, when he said mur­ders were up be­cause the city’s lib­eral mayor was cod­dling im­mi­grants liv­ing here il­le­gally and aban­don­ing a po­lice tac­tic that in­volved stop­ping and frisk­ing huge num­bers of pre­dom­i­nantly in­no­cent black and His­panic men.

“Look what’s been done in this city,” Po­lice Com­mis­sioner James O’Neill said. “These are real num­bers. I don’t think that’s some­thing that can be ig­nored.”

Re­searchers who study crime pat­terns give the NYPD some credit but also at­tribute its suc­cess to other fac­tors, such as a flood of wealth­ier peo­ple into the city and a high em­ploy­ment rate.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from USA