Knowledge — 2 years ago

New York City Crime: How Has it Changed?

by Eddie V.

New York City, New York City Crime Change

How has New York City Crime Rate Changed Over the Years

Crime has seen a steady decline in the city of New York since the year 1991 and hits records low levels last year. New York today stands at one of the lowest crime rate major cities in the United States. In 2017 there were only 290 cases of homicides which is a record low since the 1940s. There was a sudden spike in the crime rates in the 80s and early 90s due to the crack cocaine epidemic, however, by 2015 the Economist ranked New York as the 10th safest city in the world and the 28th safest city regarding personal safety.

The city has had a strong history of organized crime which began with gangs like the Forty Thieves, Roach Guards, and others at Five Points in the 1820s. Both of these were one of the earliest Irish street gangs in the history of the United States. In the year 1835, the New York Herald went through a revolutionary transformation and began publishing stories that were of actual interest to the everyday reader such as crime stories and reports. The first high-profile murder of Helen Jewett was brought into national focus through the investigative methods used by journalists of the New York Herald.

New York City

History of High-profile murders in New York

There have been quite a few famous murders committed in the city. The first of them was that of Helen Jewett who was an upscale prostitute garnered enormous media attention. The murder was investigated, and the killer was promptly caught. The world famous murder of Mary Roget in 1841 was another one of these cases that received wide media attention. The legendary author Edgar Allen Poe even based a story after this famous case. One of the unsolved murders from the 1870s is that of Benjamin Nathan who was a patriarch of the earliest Jewish families. He was bludgeoned to death in his hotel room at the Fifth Avenue Hotel. No arrests have been made so far, and the case remains unsolved till date.

In the 1860s the city of New York saw a string of violent riots and disturbances. This was caused by the agitated working class who were displeased with the decisions passed by the Congress about drafting men to fight in the civil war. The riot was so big that President Abraham Lincoln was forced divert some of the volunteer troops and militia to manage the raging mobs. The main members of the riot were the poor Irish population who rebelled against the norm that wealthier members of the society could hire a substitute and escape the drafting process.

New York City Crime Change

The drop in crime rates in New York

Since 1991, the crime rate in New York began to drop dramatically compared to the rest of the country. Violent crimes were down by more than 56% when compared to the 28% nationwide average. Property crimes fell by a jaw-dropping 65% when in the entire United States it fell by only 26%. A lot of debate has taken place over the cause of the rate of crime in New York.

While there are quite a significant number of advocates for the broken windows approach, recent research shows that it has little ties with such a huge drop rate in crime. However, this approach does have a significant effect on property crimes, such as robbery and theft of vehicles. A lot of scholars attribute the economic boom of the city during the 1990s to the drop rates in crime as it offered more employment and allowed a greater number of the population to stay straight.


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