San Francisco Chronicle
From U.S. murder capital to near record lows
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.