Atlantic Cities

New York City Is Safer Than Ever—Even With Less 'Stop and Frisk'

New York City Is Safer Than Ever—Even With Less 'Stop and Frisk'
REUTERS

"The recent ruling against stop-and-frisk has emboldened the city’s pistol-packing perps," the New York Post declared in September, after United States District Court Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled that the NYPD's stop and frisk program is unconstitutional. The paper said that shootings were up year over year, and quoted an anonymous (likely NYPD) source as saying, “Shootings are going through the roof now because perps are not afraid to carry a gun.”

It would seem that the crooks' celebration—if it existed in the first place—was short lived. With only two days left in 2013, New York City's murder rate is the lowest it's been since 1963. The New York Times reports that murders have declined 20 percent compared to 2012 (which was itself a record-setting safe year for New York). There have been 332 murders between Jan. 1-Dec. 29 of this year, compared to 419 during the previous period. 

The Times also notes that crime is down in big cities across the country. Chicago, which led the nation in homicides last calendar year, has also seen its fewest number of homicides since the 1960s. 

New York's crime decline is especially noteworthy due to the political angle. The city has been at odds with itself over the effectiveness and future of stop and frisk, with supporters of the tactic arguing it's necessary to keep crime down. Yet the number of stop-and-frisks declined 60 percent between Jan. and Sept. 2013. As the chart below shows (via WNYC), NYPD stop-and-frisk encounters peaked in 2011: 

The Times notes that burglaries, rape and robberies also all declined this year, with assaults and petty thefts (mostly of cell phones) increasing slightly. While gun seizures are down 11 percent this year, that number seems less worrisome with the city the safest it's been since before the start of the mid-1960s crime wave. 

Top image: New York Police Department graduates attend their induction ceremony at Madison Square Garden in New York, December 27, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

Mike Riggs is a former staff writer at The Atlantic Cities. All posts »

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