The city is currently on track for a double-digit increase in the murder rate this year, according to the latest crime statistics. Homicides totaled 464 through Thursday, up 16 percent from the 400 reported at this time last year, and only seven less than the total from 2009. Even so, the statistics aren't worrying NYPD officials, perhaps because of their notorious reliability. "Things have generally been going in the right direction," Police Commissioner Ray Kelly said.
Even if the current murder pace holds, the city is looking at the third lowest number of murders since reliable record-keeping began in 1962. Last year, there were 471 murders, the lowest number of murders on record. Andrew Karmen, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, noted that "This is not the first year there's been a spike or some backsliding. One bad year does not make a trend."
Officials can also point to other positives, such as the fact that police-involved shootings hit a record low last year. And they can blame recent budget cuts for reducing the overall size of the force, from a high of more than 40,000 in 2002 to roughly 34,800 officers. All this aside, crime statistics have been shown to be quite malleable in recent years, as revealed by the accusations made by former NYPD Officer Adrian Scholcraft.