New York City, once the murder capital of the world, has seen its number of homicides decline significantly to the lowest in five decades, with only 414 homicides reported this year as of Christmas Eve, approximately a 19 percent decline from last year.
In fact, it is on pace to break 2009′s record of 471 homicides.
There were 515 homicides last year.
Homicide rates have been steadily declining over the last couple decades, down from 2,262 in 1990 and 1,181 in 1995.
Police Commissioner Ray Kelly partly attributes the decline to the the city’s “stop and frisk” laws, which allows officers to stop and pat down anyone they think looks suspicious.
“I’m thankful for the fact that this year there will be the lowest number of murders that we’ve had since we started to record them in 50 years, even though the population is as high as it’s ever been,” Kelly said.
“I think it’s important for the public to know that we have had a fair amount of success in New York and we’re moving in the right direction,” he added.
As a New Yorker, I would attribute it to other factors — mainly the drug of choice in the city.
In the 1980′s and 1990′s, crack cocaine infested the city, causing a hysteria for people who needed money to get the drug, often robbing people in the process at gunpoint.
The era of the stickup kid has subsided for a number of different reasons, with the crack epidemic over, as well as strict gun laws, which prevent people from using their firearms.
Anyone caught possessing an illegal firearm in New York City faces a minimum of 3 and a half years in prison, a major deterrent for people wanting to carry guns in the city.
The city began recording murder data in 1963.
No precinct in the city has exceeded 20 homicides so far this year – a feat never previously seen.
Soundview in the Bronx is leading the precincts with 18 murders, while the 75th precinct in East New York, Brooklyn came in second place, with 17 murders.
The safest precinct, by contrast, is in the Lower East Side, where no murders were reported this year, compared to the five that were reported last year.
Jordan Shepherd | Elite.