At Mayor Bloomberg’s press conference about public safety today, he announced that crime in the city has been driven down 34 percent in the last 10 years, and that serious crime is down overall this year compared to last year, factoring in a change in the state’s definition of felony assault. As of yesterday, the city had 499 murders in 2011, the third fewest since record-keeping began. “If you take a look at the NYPD, the resources that we devote to this size population, it is greater than other places,” said Bloomberg. “We have funded the police department and the fire department to get these results.”
From the report:
This will be the tenth consecutive year the city has seen less than 600 murders, with slightly more than 500 in 2011, a nearly five percent reduction from the previous year and the third lowest total since comparable records were kept starting in 1963. Overall crime, when compared using the same metrics, fell slightly again in 2011, marking the 21st straight year in which major felony crime has declined.
However, there has been an increase in sexual assaults, domestic violence, and rapes in the city, per Police Commissioner Ray Kelly, which he and Bloomberg attribute to an increase in reporting those crimes.
Related to these stats is a New York Times City Room piece indicating that big, bad, scary Central Park at night — once the stuff of ripped-from-the-headlines Law and Order episodes — is now full of all sorts of upwardly mobile workaday types after the sun sets, from female traders walking their dogs at midnight to 30-somethings who cut through the park on their way home from the office and call it “boringly safe.” Even at 3 a.m.
In keeping with Bloomberg’s crime stats, this year there have been 17 robberies and 2 rapes there. The last murder in the park was in 2002. According to the Times, crime has become so minimal that “the park’s own police precinct has lately taken to planting pocketbooks on benches to lure would-be thieves,” and a majority of the park’s larcenies were because people had left their belongings unattended.
Police say stricter enforcement of the park’s 1 a.m. curfew — more cops north of 96th Street, which was where a lot of the robberies occurred, not to mention 30 surveillance cameras around the park — has been a big factor in the decrease in crime. Of course, as we mentioned previously, crime is down throughout the city, causing some to mourn the old, gritty days, and others to think, well, this is quite nice, isn’t it?
Not that we’re going into Central Park at night. Do we look crazy?
As Crime Falls, Central Park’s Night Use Grows [NYT]
New York City Records Third-Fewest Homicides in 2011, Mayor Says [Bloomberg]
This article from the Village Voice Archive was posted on December 28, 2011