Defying conventional wisdom, crime is not on the rise despite the miserable economy. Police records reveal that as the city faces a 10.3-percent unemployment rate and record numbers of homeless families, "the number of major crimes is continuing to fall this year in nearly every category," the Times reports.
So far this year, murder is down nearly 13 percent, to 413 from 473 at this time last year, while the numbers of rapes, robberies, burglaries, grand larcenies and car thefts have also fallen. There has also been a decline in shootings, people killed and wounded by gunfire, and the numbers of crimes in subways and public housing developments. "The idea that everyone has ingrained into them — that as the economy goes south, crime has to get worse — is wrong," said John Jay College of Criminal Justice Professor David M. Kennedy. "It was never right to begin with."
No matter the economic climate, crime has fallen steadily in the city over the last 16 years (that is, of course, if you trust the NYPD's CompStat figures). But some surmise that there might be a bit of a lag before crime patterns catch up with today's economy, and they anticipate cuts to youth services and educational programs leading to increases in crime. Police Commissioner Ray Kelly believes that crime has little to do with the market: "People, generally speaking, are not committing crime to address a basic need for food or shelter. The economy goes up, the economy goes down — there's still an element of people who are committing crime not motivated by the economic environment that we all find ourselves in."