During the early 90s, a mention of New York City was synonymous with violent crime. In the wake of recent police shootings, residents could not help but dread the possibility of the city slipping back to its previous infamous ghost. However, recent studies and reports have indicated that the city has been as safe as it has never been in its modern history. As by 2015, a modest decrease in the rate of serious reported crimes was noteworthy.
Reports by the New York Police Department have indicated a 2 percent decline in the occurrence rate of the seven major felonies that are tracked and recorded by the Federal Bureau of Investigations, i.e., rape, murder, serious assault, robbery, grand larceny, burglary, and car theft. The reports also indicate a steady drop in the recorded arrests by police officers. In December 2015, the arrests were down 13% to 333115 from 384770 over the same period the year before. The number of reported criminal summonses also dropped to 292,372 from 358,948 over the same period. (“History of the Federal Judiciary”, 2016)
Generally, high rates of crime in the city were attributed to various factors that include high levels of unemployment, unplanned pregnancies, low minimum wage and police brutality. (“10 (Not Entirely Crazy) Theories Explaining the Great Crime Decline”, 2016) Consequently, law enforcement stakeholders attribute the New York City’s crime reduction to the implementation of particular get tough policies during former Mayor Rudolf Giuliani’s tenure. One of his most prominent systems was the aggressive policing of lower crimes famously dubbed “the...
broken window” by law enforcers. In this view, smaller disturbances lead to larger ones and eventually to crime. In his famous address to the press in 1998, Mayor Giuliani said, “Clearly, Murder and graffiti, from a broader perspective are two different crimes. However, they are part of the same continuum and a setting that tolerates one will most likely tolerate the other.” (“History of the Federal Judiciary”, 2016)
Although this approach does not hinder the occurrence of crime, it has led to a reduction in the rate of robberies and motor vehicle thefts in the city. Over the 1990s, there was an increase in the number of misdemeanor arrest by 70%. The rise in such arrests resulted in a drop of between 2.5 and 3.3 percent in every 10 % increase in the number of arrests. These results may be attributed to the incapacitation to commit a crime for those arrested for minor offences. (“10 (Not Entirely Crazy) Theories Explaining the Great Crime Decline”, 2016)
Analysts also believe that the economic boom of the 1990s encouraged people to remain straightforward and abhor crime. During the Nineties, the national unemployment rate declined by 25 percent. In New York alone, the levels of unemployment dropped by 39 percent between 1992 and 1999. One study also indicated that for every 1 percent drop in the unemployment levels, the rate of burglary and motor vehicle theft declined by 2.2 and 1.8 percent respectively. The increase in the real minimum wage also saw a significant drop in the number of robberies and murder by 0.3 percent and 0.6 percent respectively. (2016)
by police officers have also significantly helped in reducing the rate of crime. A current study on the crime rates in the city found that felony arrests rose from 50 to 70 percent in the 1990s. Considering the number of burglars arrested, the rate of burglaries reported fell to 2.7 percent from 3.2 percent. The rise of robbery-related arrests led to a drop to 5.7 from 5.9 percent in the number of robberies in the city. In the case of murder, the decline was from 3.9 to 4 percent, 2 to 4 percent for assault and 5 to 5.1 percent for motor vehicle theft. (“What Reduced Crime in New York City”, 2016)
Another factor that has led to the reduction of crime rates in New York City is the implementation of aggressive policing. This policy includes street stops by Order Maintain ace Policing (OMP). Under the shift of approach in the maintenance of order in New York City, patrols were reinvented to include the proactive interdiction of individuals suspected of committing minor or major crimes. The contribution and importance of stop and frisk intervention although not formally acknowledged has been discussed by the policy architects and other theorists. Critics of this policy claim the use of the OMP tactics increased the opportunities for per textual stops that lead to searches and arrests. These stops for suspicion to perpetrate crime have led to a sharp increase in the number of arrests for a misdemeanor. (“What Reduced Crime in New York City”, 2016)
In 2013, a Manhattan Federal District Court ruled that officers of a New York Police Department precinct that had the highest number of stop-and-frisk cases should wear body-worn-cameras so as to prevent racial profiling. When utilized accordingly, OMP provided the opportunity for police officers to check for warrants and frisk for contraband or weapons leading to a number of arrests. The outcome was a tremendous increment in misdemeanor arrests, and this resulted in to a sharp decrease in their quality and manageability in court. OMP has been initiated through inconceivable increments in misdemeanor arrests of grown-ups, significantly increasing from 129,404 in 1993 (the year preceding OMP utilization) to 181,736 in 1996, and 215,158 in 1998. (“What Reduced Crime in New York City”, 2016)
These methods are not however solely responsible for the reduction in rates of crime. Some theorists attribute this decline to factors such as the legalization of abortion, introduction of antidepressant pills and the decrease in drug abuse in the city. (“10 (Not Entirely Crazy) Theories Explaining the Great Crime Decline”, 2016)
- Loop, H. (2016). NYPD – The historic reduction of crime rates in New York. Nyc.gov. Retrieved 16 April 2016, from http://www.nyc.gov/html/nypd/html/home/poa_crime.shtml
- What Reduced Crime in New York City. (2016). Nber.org. Retrieved 16 April 2016, from http://www.nber.org/digest/jan03/w9061.htm l (2016). Retrieved 16 April 2016, from http://www.ucdenver.edu/academics/colleges/CLAS/Departments/economics/Documents/carrotspaper .June13.pdf10
- (Not Entirely Crazy) Theories Explaining the Great Crime Decline. (2016). The Marshall Project. Retrieved 16 April 2016, from https://www.themarshallproject.org/2014/11/24/10-not-entirely-crazy-theories-explaining-the-great-crime-decline#.7Y4NEdt3X