Statistics from the NYPD are showing an amazing and wonderful fact: for the 17th consecutive year crime has fallen in New York City.
We're talking about a reduction in basically every kind of crime here! 2005 saw 537 killings in NYC, down from 566 last year and a high of 2,245 deaths in 1990. Rape, felony assaults, burglaries, and grand larcenies also saw drops. Even auto theft dropped by nearly 12 percent (take that, critics of GTA).
Of course not everything was roses this year. We lost two police officers and eight more were shot (the most since 1997 when 10 officers were shot). The number of shootings and shooting related victims were also on the rise, as were robberies. But put into historical context these rises are more like blips than anything else. For instance, the number of robberies rose to 23,948 from 23,746. But in 1990 100,280 robberies were reported. New York is as safe as it ever was.
Which isn't to say there aren't still many big ongoing crime and police related issues. Like, say, the problem of Critical Mass. One might have thought that after the major role bikes played in the transit strike, and it being the holidays and all, Bloomie and the NYPD would loosen up on everyone's favorite band of bikers (erm, cyclists). Or we did. But we were wrong. A blogger reports on last nights CM:
A NYPD helicopter circled over Union Sqareharrasing gathering cyclists with it's glaring searchlight while a large group of scooter cops hovered on the edge of meeting area in the north end of the park. A nice size group of around 100 riders/skater left around 7:30pm heading uptown on Park avenue. They were followed by 20 scooter cops and a number of other vehicles of opression up to 22nd street where the ride suddenly turned east upon hearing that another small army of cops were rolling in across 23rd st. from the west. The cops on 23rd st. picked up speed and raced to the corner of Lexington and 22nd st. in order to cut off the mass from the front with the 20 scooters from Union Square sealing off the back. Most of the riders managed to escape in various directions. Around 14 were arested.
But crime continues to drop! Huzzah!
Graphic from the NY Times.