by Daniel Krieger
Marjorie Cohen had no background in community organizing, but in the mid-1980s she suddenly found herself compelled to act. It was the height of the crack epidemic and within the span of six months there were four drug-related murders on her block — West 92nd Street between Amsterdam and Broadway. She had never paid much attention to crime in the neighborhood, but with two small children at home she felt she needed to do something.
After organizing neighbors in her building, she joined the Westside Crime Prevention Program, a community group founded in 1981, and in 1988 Cohen became its executive director. Though she was a writer and editor when she moved to the Upper West Side in the mid-1960s, she ended up devoting herself fulltime to the crime-fighting group for 22 years, working with police on innovations like the Neighborhood Watch Program and Safe Haven program, in which businesses put up signs to let lost or frightened children know they could go there for help.
In 2010, when police statistics made clear that crime had plummeted, the group disbanded. But recently, Cohen says, some who were there on the front lines with her in the bad old days are suggesting that crime is back, and the Westside Crime Prevention Program should return for a second act.
Cohen doesn’t agree. She believes these calls for a revival are based more on feelings than facts. “It’s irrelevant how people feel,” she said in a recent phone interview. “We can’t base our view on feelings. We have to base it on what’s actually happening.”
So, in the spirit of empirical facts taking priority over feelings when it comes to crime on the Upper West Side, the Rag took a look at what is actually happening today, according to police data, and how today’s crime rates compare with the past.
In 1990, the first year tracked in the New York Police Department’s CompStat system, crime was a serious, citywide issue. Singling out the 20th and 24th precincts, which cover the Upper West Side, it’s clear that in the 32 years spanning the statistics, crime has – for the most part – fallen dramatically in the seven felony categories: murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and auto theft. Felonies, as opposed to misdemeanors, are the most serious crimes and typically lead to prison time of at least a year.
One of the biggest drops came in the number of robberies — thefts involving actual or the threat of force. In 1990, 2,171 were recorded in the UWS precincts; last year that number was 261.
Burglaries, theft of property, saw a similar decline, from 2,665 in 1990 to 217 in 2021.A third category, grand larceny – stealing something worth more than $1,000 – declined from 3,502 in 1990 to 1,219.
And incidents of auto theft declined dramatically, from 3,745 to 176 last year. While it’s generally difficult to show definitively why specific crime rates fluctuate, there’s strong agreement that improved technology has dramatically reduced car theft.
As the above graphs show, those four felonies plummeted since 1990, falling most steeply until around 2006 before leveling off and then fluctuating relatively small amounts over the years.
The other three felony categories tell slightly different stories. The drop in felony assaults, for example, looks less dramatic because the number of assaults recorded in 1990 was significantly lower than other crimes: 388 compared with 270 felony assaults last year.
Similarly, there were 21 murders reported in 1990, which fell to a single murder case in 2021, while rape cases fell from 47 to 19 in the same period. (However, a 2019 study concluded that the New York Police Department has undercounted rape for years, and the NYPD’s own report a year earlier said that rape cases in the city are underreported. This is a case in which police data falls short and another means of measurement, such as victimization surveys, could offer a more accurate picture.)
As for why crime rates in the Upper West Side precincts fell so dramatically – mirroring citywide and national trends – theories range from the supposed success of ‘broken window’ policing in the 90s, to the long-term impact of legalizing abortion, to more police on the streets, to stiffer prison sentences to the ‘lead-crime hypothesis’ that the reduction of lead pollution in the 1970s contributed to the fall in crime two decades later.
“[T]he forces that drove the Great American Crime Decline remain a mystery,” The Atlantic wrote in a 2016 report that looked at a variety of hypotheses for the nationwide drop in crime rates since the 1990s. While some theories look stronger than others, “there’s no real consensus among scholars about what caused one of the largest social shifts in modern American history,” the Atlantic report concluded.
Although police crime data for the 1960s, 70s and 80s are not publicly available, we know anecdotally that crime during those decades was a big issue. For instance, in the late 1960s the crime rate on the Upper West Side was stratospherically higher than in 1990, according to a New York magazine story, which reported that in 1968 the Upper West Side had 8,478 burglaries, 1,097 felony assaults, 3,233 robberies, 6,762 larcenies, 36 homicides and 86 rapes.
Zooming in closer and examining the past 12 years might show whether crime rates have gone up more recently. From 2010 to 2021, the UWS numbers fell in three categories: robberies (261 in 2021, down from 282 in 2010), burglaries (down to 217 from 225 in the same period) and murders (5 were recorded in 2010, one last year). But felony assaults rose from 158 (in 2010) to 270 (in 2021) and auto thefts rose in the same period from 117 to 176. Grand larceny inched up, from 206 to 219, and the misdemeanor crime of petit larceny, which includes shoplifting, went from 2,104 to 2,653.
Trends look a bit different if 2021 rates are compared with just six years ago in 2015; the graphs show upward trends in the rates of robbery, assault, burglary, auto theft and petit larceny. And if we zoom in even further and compare the first nine months of 2022 to the same period in 2021, the data also show upticks in robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and petit larceny.
So what sense can we make of this? Are recent upticks a sign that there’s a crime surge on the Upper West Side?
“Crime is constantly fluctuating,” said Dr. Jeffrey Butts, a research professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice, in a recent phone interview. “The numbers go up and they go down,” he said, and looking at short-term changes doesn’t reflect meaningful trends. “You never understand the history of something until you can look at it with a little bit of distance.”
A sudden uptick in numbers – such as the NYPD’s week-to-week, month-to-month, and even year-to-year reports – can cause anxiety. So can highly-publicized crimes like the subway killing of UWSer Michelle Go or the recent shooting of a Danish tourist at West End Avenue and 103rd Street. In the search for causes, some have focused blame on bail reform and progressive prosecutors, a theory that Butts notes has been challenged by research such as a March report by the nonpartisan Brennan Center for Justice, which concluded that “There is no clear connection between recent crime increases and the [New York State] bail reform law enacted in 2019.”
But this is not to say that fluctuations don’t matter. It’s just that you have to watch them over time before you can draw conclusions about which way crime may be trending. According to Butts, there isn’t enough perspective yet to understand the upticks of recent years, especially because they “include a major public health social disruption of everything we know about living life. You have to look at it in the long-term. We really won’t know what the 2015 to 2022 period is for a while.”
So what role did the Covid disruption play in all of this? One of the effects was that when everything shut down, the result was a temporary drop in crime rates (police data for 2020 show that, compared to 2019, robbery, assault, grand larceny and petit larceny fell, while burglary and auto theft went up). But when Covid restrictions eased, the numbers picked back up, leaving an impression of rising crime; in 2021, rates ticked up for robbery, assault, grand larceny, and auto theft. And this year, as the city opened up even more from the days of stringent Covid rules, crime rates climbed even higher for robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and petit larceny.
“Probably the 20th and the 24th precincts were more affected by lockdowns,” said Butts, referring to the many Upper West Siders who could work from home. “So the fact that it’s now up over the last partial year is not a shock at all, because it was so low during the depth of the lockdown.”
And at present, looking at the police data, it’s not possible to say if this recent, somewhat modest, uptick in crime is a fluctuation that might trend downward over the next few years, or possibly level off – or in fact turn out to be the beginning of a steady rise in crime. What does appear clear is that these rising numbers should not be interpreted as proof of a new crime wave washing over the Upper West Side. It’s simply too soon to say – just as no one could say in 1990 that crime rates were about to start a long, dramatic plunge.
Thank you, Daniel Krieger, for this well-researched thoughtful article.
Phenomenal reporting, as usual, from the best paper in New York.
When I moved to the city in 1980s nearly everyone I knew had been mugged at least once. Or had their apts broken into . Or car broken into. Back the.n there were also significantly less guns on the street, less extremely disturbed mentally ill, illegal drug use was different, no social media, but the overall environment was less tolerant towards crime and criminals.. Back then more ppl also died from many diseases, including AIDS, for which we now have different solutions and expectations. Point being, time moves forward. Really hard to compare points in time and try to suggest that tragedy and hardship, including being a victim of crime today aren’t really that bad because it isn’t as bad as it was years ago. A lot of things have improved, including the tools that law enforcement has to stop criminals. Less people die from AIDS today so if we lose one, let’s keep it in perspective.? Same with cancer? Less plane crashes. Less ppl also get run over by horse and buggies, but lots more getting killed by illegal scooters. We know the source of much of those crime, including who the perps are. Nobody wants anyone sent to Rikers because they jay walked, but repeat recidivist offenders who know only one way of living, perpetrating crimes against others, should NOT be freely wandering the streets. Revamp the criminal justice system by requiring released criminals to learn a new trade. Reward that behavior with perks and benefits like desirable services and housing. Do this instead of gaslighting. . I don’t need to go back to the city we had in the 80’s to be told my concerns about crime are now justified. Tell that the the family of Michelle Go and that many victims who have been attacked. I expect more from WSR.
I was born on the uws in 1965 and I’ve lived here my whole life & I’m very surprised to hear that nearly everyone you know has been mugged, for neither I, my mom, dad or sister has ever been mugged or the victim of any crime, & neither have any of my friends been the victim of a crime on the UWS .
Maybe we run in different circles? Glad to hear your experiences have been different. Different perspectives is what makes the world go round. Stay safe.
Thanks for doing this! So important for people to get this perspective instead of the reports of individual crimes usually reported by the WSR.
This is a fabulous article, using data to put into perspective what is happening on the UWS. Of course any crime is a concern, and the impacts of violent crime are tragic. But anecdotes and highly publicized specific incidents (such as those mentioned in this article) don’t necessarily reflect that crime is rising. It is important to use a data-driven approach to understand the bigger picture.
Of course, real data means nothing to those who claim that crime is out of control and that only voting for Republicans will help solve the problem.
Spoken like a man. Talk to some women sometime. Ask them how they feel about using the subway these days or going out walking late at night.
I am a woman and I agree with EdNY. I’m not going to say I’m not slightly more cautious these days, but I don’t feel like I need to stop using the subway, or walking at night.
The inability to absorb facts that run contrary to deep belief is called epistemic closure.
Conservatives cannot believe the fact that crime turned around under Dinkins, who brought both Ray Kelly and Bill Bratton to NYC.
They cannot believe that crime dropped every year under de Blasio until Covid hit.
And conservatives cannot believe that crime today is 20% lower than when Giuliani left office and we were, according to them, safe.
Nor can they believe climate change is real, Republican policies benefit the rich but no one else, the most hated president of all time lost reelection, the existence of systematic voter fraud is a fraud itself, that a women’s right to choose will have no effect on them whatsoever, or that children growing up in same-sex families are just as happy and moral as those from hetero families. Statistics are fake unless they feed confirmation bias.
The crime increases reported recently by WSR for the two main UWS zip codes are frighteningly high year-over-year, well into the double digits in many categories. This has been true for a couple of years now. While the pandemic may be the main factor, it would be naive to think that changes in legislation and Manhattan district attorney practices are a not a factor. Changes in legislation have been brought by “progressive” democrats in the New York State legislature and NYC city council.
While facts are never going to inform many people, I’m curious as to whether you think that someone arrested for a non-violent crime should be jailed for months before trial while someone arrested for the same crime, but with financial resources, is released on bail – again, for a non-violent crime, which is what the law is about. And not that it matters, but the data I’ve seen show that this change in the bail laws has not had a discernible effect on crime. But, then again, we “know” that Trump really “won” the 2020 election.
So, a career statistician is naive about statistics as well as correlation and causation, because you, a whatever it is that you do, say so?
Thank you for this thoughtful analysis, and for presenting the relevant data so clearly.
Thank you for this well researched article–facts over hyped-up fake news based on feelings and a political agenda (as exemplified by NY Post and Fox news). I have lived in the W80s since 1978 and when neighbors and new-comers tell me that NYC and our community are returning to the bad old days, I can only roll my eyes and say “you have no idea’. That is not to say we should not take public safety and crime seriously but some perspective is in order.
1) Saying things are better than a long time ago doesn’t invalidate the concern. Throughout human history, about 25% of people were dead by age 1; we felt that wasn’t good enough. Let’s raise the bar beyond “well it’s better than it was 30 years ago”. That is a highly conservative, if not ‘boomer’, perspective.
2) The data are simply suspect. There is so much anecdotal evidence that people are discouraged from reporting.
3) It is plainly visible that a) the ‘no honking’ signs are gone, b) there’s dog feces all over the place, c) garbage cans are totally full, d) there are vastly more homeless (quadruple?!) than there was 30 years ago, e) cars blow our busier traffic lights 500-1000 times a day, f) there are large groups of unmuffled motorcycles that drive up and down streets/sidewalks often late at night when working people are trying to sleep, g) there is a distinct lack of police presence in the community.
“there are vastly more homeless (quadruple?!) than there was 30 years ago”
Existing while homeless isn’t a crime.
And the real upward spike in homelessness came immediately after the 2008 crash.
Thanks for this well-reported, even-handed article that offers great historical perspective. I’d love to read a complementary follow-up story on why people’s fears override or dismiss fact.
This is a spectacularly reported, written and edited story. I’m sure it won’t put an end to all those “crime is worse than it ever was” comments, but it certainly should.
Helpful to see some real numbers and charts, to balance the hyperbole that generally characterizes these discussions. Safe streets and neighborhoods are important everyone. So is good information.
Thank you for this. As is happening everywhere else in the country, feelings about what’s true, especially when it confirms one’s belief, keep overriding actual data. But whether its crime in the UWS, immigration, or COVID, Data is Data and facts matter. That’s not to say life in NYC is perfectly safe. You need to be on your guard as New Yorker’s have always had to be. But when I read comment after comment here claiming crime is exploding and New Yorkers need to vote for the other party in their panic, that’s complete crap. If you want to vote conservative, do so. But don’t claim it’s because of increasing crime. Do so for the regular reasons: you’re simply a conservative. I’ll leave it at that and refrain from the pejoratives!
Really interesting and well reported. Thank you. My own suspicion is that increases in homelessness and declines in mental health have at least contributed to the recent uptick. Several of the examples you gave were reported as having been perpetrated by people living on the street. Now, what accounts for the increase in homelessness and the decline in mental health, very hard to pinpoint…
The increase in homelessness is largely an economic issue. Mental health…If those of us lucky to be stably housed and fed and otherwise relatively safe during the past couple of years are often still traumatized (and we are!), one can only imagine the impact on those who weren’t, and who were already often battling their own demons. A lot of this population didn’t have any margin to absorb the additional stress. I’m not sure how long it will take for the impact of the pandemic to work itself off.
And yet, regardless of what happened in the past, I still don’t want to get robbed, raped or stabbed in my neighborhood. Arguing about all these statistics and data won’t solve the problem. Putting criminals in jail and replacing bleeding heart liberal justice reforms with common sense brain will.
In other words, facts don’t mean anything to you. Because of the way you “feel,” you’ll adamantly advocate a specific policy position? Wow.
Excellent article! Evidence is key hereAnd we need to pay attention. The fuller analysis of rapes is clearly needed. And we need to remain vigilant before panicking.
This kind of article is a real public service and especially re-assuring as we get daily news about individual crimes and misdemeanors.
I was in the Duane Reade on Broadway between 102nd and 103rd last night at about 10:10 pm. There was no security guard in the store. As I went to pay for my purchase, 3 men walked right in, helped themselves to several 6 packs of beer – at least 2 under each arm, and walked right back out. There was only one cashier in the store, a young woman who said that security is only in the store from 2pm to 10pm and that the thieves come in every day, morning and night when there is no security. I was frightened for her and for other customers and have alerted my doorman to warn people in my building. I went in today to speak to the manager and he said they report it to the police every day and nothing is done. I asked if Duane Reade upper management knows about this and he said that they do but do nothing about upping the security. So yes, there is rampant crime that is being unaddressed and neither store management nor the police have done anything to protect the staff or the customers. I will never go into that store again and urge others to avoid it as well. Give your business to a store that values its employees and customer.
Thanks for this story. Sounds as if Walgreens is trying to do what Walmart does and use the local police force as their security system, courtesy of the taxpayers. And of course the NYPD doesn’t want to play.
If a store has a shoplifting problem, there are so many solutions: cameras, security people in multiples, using both footage and personal report to ID perps and work with local police to show patterns…but this does require strong management and some investment. Corporate logic may balance a lot of shoplifting against a full time guard pay.. So they try part time inadequate security and a plastic shield. Horrible for the folks that work there. And scary for the shoppers.
These are the times we live in. But I blame Walgreens for making themselves a too easy target. These shoplifting rings are well organized these days. Kids feel it is less dangerous/harmful that dealing drugs to participate- not saying this is a justifiable activity by any means, just that with a no consequences atmosphere, these rings (and maybe individuals too ) will keep taking advantage.
Shoplifting has always existed, even if it’s worse now. I’m not sure what you would propose as a solution – do you know for a fact that the perpetrators were either out on “no bail” from some other charge, or previously convicted of a crime? Should every store have a NYC policeman guarding it? If there were a security guard, what would you propose he or she do in this instance? I agree that these so-called low-level crimes should result in jail time, but unless individuals have a real fear of being arrested, they won’t stop. I’m open to suggestions.
It’s the absolute brazenness of the criminals, the realization that the behavior is not only ignored, but even excused by so many of our progressive council members, that is so frightening for many, particularly women. It’s not just shoplifting. It’s the attitude that the societal construct, of conducting oneself within the confines of the law for the benefit of society, does not apply to some. And this attitude then permeates and spreads, until civilized society breaks down.
I don’t disagree. But what would you propose as a solution to this particular problem?
As much as I appreciate the graphs and all, you can’t discount the actual experience for us who lived here for decades. It is not “perception “, it is actual experience.
As far as the stats are concerned, we all are very well aware that they could be influenced by a number of things – such as downgrading certain crimes, encouraging not to report crimes, etc. Inhabe first- hand experience with those and so do most of my friends.
I think you misunderstand the definitions of perception and experience. Actual experience is supported by actual data (such as graphs). As for perception, well, there’s your comment as an example.
Thank you for this reasonable, data driven article. I’m getting a little tired of anonymous posters shrieking that we re living in a war zone (which aside from being untrue, trivializes the tremendous stress and daily horror for people who ARE living in war zones).
We JUST came out of a global pandemic. Lots of businesses could not make it, so we do have more empty store fronts. Poverty does seem to be on the increase, leading to robberies, but we refuse to build affordable housing. We’ve also refused to pass laws to have mentally ill people taken off the streets and into treatment making them very visible to all of us every day.
We need to come up with solutions that get people into housing and supportive services and we will have safer, cleaner streets.
We need to get creative with our solutions to these issues, because we have never experienced anything like what 2020-2021 brought us.
Thanks for the detailed breakdown. I am wondering how long it will be before individual blocks are hiring their own private security guards to patrol overnight; this was pretty common back in the 80s/early 90s, with visible metal signs making it clear to anyone. Who knows, maybe some blocks are already doing this again?
Love this. And to reiterate a point made by someone else, we are still reeling from the consequences of the pandemic. Times are hard for EVERYONE right now, that includes people who commit crimes (ever ask yourself why a person chooses to commit a crime?). People are desperate right now – not an excuse, just a fact. Not everything is as black and white as “bad person did something bad so he must go away forever”.
Perhaps now the cost of stealing is far cheaper than the cost of a legal job. No consequence and the possibility of lost free benefits. Our system is broke.
Theft sure pays well for Wall Street.
Its a legal business.
No, actually, it’s oft not.
Yes, Wall Street breaks specific laws all the time.
If that is the case, then I suppose the DA should pursue those alleged criminals with the same spirit and vigor he deploys elsewhere.
Have you read the papers? 8% of FT office workers in NYC have returned post pandemic. We are in a uniquely bad spot here. All the jobs that used to cater to that 92% – all the lunchtime businesses, from haircuts to shoeshines, all the food delivery, deli work, dry cleaning, restaurants – all those jobs that commuting office workers paid for, before and after work and at midday- are just not needed right now. Yes, maybe there is more res food and package delivery. But I think it well documented that a lot of “legal jobs” in this city have just evaporated. So yes, high likelihood of an increase in boosting from low security chain stores.
The beauty of this city used to be resilience. One door shuts another opens. Illegal crime shouldn’t be a viable alternative because you lost your job. Stealing and robbery shouldn’t be legitimatized.
I believe the correct statistic is that 8% of workers have returned FIVE DAYS A WEEK. Not great of course, but not quite as bad as the way you phrased it.
Some are desperate, others empowered.
Denial Ain’t Just a River in Egypt.
Crime is down.
You’ve had to utterly mischaracterize this article to make your point. You’ve used a straw man construction, therefore….
Crime is down on the UWS, significantly, since the 1970, 1980s, and even 1990s.
And our goal is to equal the crime level of the 70s, 80s and 90s because……???
I’m so tired of the “it’s not as bad as the 1970/80/90s” logic. Is that our bar? As long as crime isn’t as bad as it was then, we’re good? In the meantime, what do we do, just sit around and wait for it to get to that stage before we do anything?
Yes, that is the logic. Or better yet “it’s not really happening. It’s just a ‘feeling.'” Perhaps we should tell it to Michelle Goh’s aunt, who had to remain behind to clean out her apartment? Unfortunately there seem to be a lot of people (or maybe they are just the same ones repeating themselves ad nauseum) saying to ignore the crime reports. It’s just a “perception.”
Funny how calls to keep one’s head about them and to favor facts over feelings and perceptions and data over anecdotes when contemplating appropriate action to take gets converted to “ignore crime” by some of the more hysterical among us.
” In the meantime, what do we do, just sit around and wait for it to get to that stage before we do anything?”
No. And no one is advocating that.
Anyone remember Epic Security? One of the collective UWS security firms. They went away, but should come back.
There’s no argument about the value of hard crime, and other, sound data.. There is an argument about whether, today’s crime data is fully reported and/or recorded . Many citizen-victims ask “why bother” because nothing is done. And, as negative, many police persons also ask “why bother” since so many crimes have no consequences and so many criminals are released without bail and repeat the same crimes.. That’s what I see. You?
As a former UWS resident( from 1961- 2017) and NYPD Police officer (worked in the 20/24 Pct during 80’s & 90’s). I can attest to those who make light of the uptick in recent crimes, until you are a victim of crime you will continue to feel this way, indifferent to crime victims. Crime has only increased a small amount, when will some people learn that this is unacceptable.
The no-bail laws and the liberal policies of the Manhattan Da will increase the severity and violence of crime. Who elects these officer holders?
Some New Yorkers need to wake up and stop this insanity.
“I can attest to those who make light of the uptick in recent crimes, until you are a victim of crime you will continue to feel this way,”
Not aware of people making light of the recent uptick in crimes on the UWS.
There is no a priori police enforcement. Few months ago a fire at the pizzeria next to the McDonald’s at 72nd brought cops and firemen, I was walking my dog about midnight. Right there on the block was a local heroin addict passed in front of Starbucks, several guys smoking weed on the corner, another guy playing amplified guitar and begging, and, of course, delivery guys on motorcycles (not e-bikes) with no plates riding on the sidewalk. Cops left as soon the fire was under control. Didn’t, as far as I can see, say even a word to any of these creeps. Been here 40+ years> Yes, it was worse in the late 80’s esp up in the 90’s on Amsterdam with cops actually on the payroll of drug dealers which I am given to understand is no longer the case, but the end result is the same: Increasing chaos.
You’ve never seen someone passed out on the sidewalk before?
What did you expect the cops to do about someone smoking week? It’s been effectively legal since 2013.
That McDonald’s has a problem, gun violence. But I don’t see you complaining about that.
YOU LIBERAL UWS’ERS DON’T KNOW ANYTHING B/C U DON’T WANT TO BLAME THE LIBERAL DA’S, NO CASH BAIL SO COPS AREN’T ARRESTING OR GOING AFTER CRIMINALS IN A WAY THAT WOULD DISPROVE YOUR BS
CRIME IS RAMPANT COMPARED TO NY A FEW YEARS AGO BEFORE COVID
EVERY DAY A STABBING, ASSAULT, MURDER IN THE SUBWAYS
EVERY CVS, DUANE READE,WHOLE FOODS, ETC ARE BEING ROBBED OF THOUSANDS/DAY
KEEP VOTING 4 DEMOCRATS LIKE ERIC ADAMS KATHY HOCHUL NOT TO MENTION
DI’BLASIO THE WORST MAYOR EVER IN THE COUNTRY THAT EXACERBATED THE WHOLE LOOTING OF EVERY STORE IN THE CITY AND TURNED HIS BACK ON THE FINEST NYPD
Are the caps suppose to signify sarcasm?
The police (NYPD) ignored looting, that’s on them.
I wonder how much crime is not being reflected in the numbers because people seem less inclined to report them now out of a sense that it feels useless to do so. I personally know two people that have been the victims of random street crimes recently who didn’t go through the process of reporting the crimes to police because they felt that the assailant would likely not be caught and if they were, they would be set free without consequence. The other thing the crimes stats cannot account for is what seems to be a general consensus that the city “feels” less safe than it did even ten years ago. I hear this not only from longtime residents but also from friends who visit annually.
What mystifies me is that people who say we were safe under Giuliani say we’re not safe today.
The bottom line is we are safer now than at any time under Giuliani. 20% less crime, with 500,000 more people.
And while some people don’t report crimes there’s one that always gets reported, murder. In Giuliani’s best year than number was about 200 more than the number we’re headed for this year.
So it is “feelings,” and that is in no small measure a result of the unremitting yellow journalism coming from the Rupert Murdoch empire. There’s a political agenda at work here and Rupert’s minions are pursuing it with a vengeance.
Well into Rudy’s second term, there were crack dealers on my corner.
They haven’t returned. To be clear, they mostly avoided violence, but that meant the NYPD addressed other concern corners areas on the UWS.
The statistics tell some of the story and what people perceive also tells some of the story. Yes crime is technically much lower than it was under Giuliani, but also our elected officials are fine with allowing disorder/chaos and allowing the higher perception of crime because it chases away people with families and long term ties out of NYC, which is what elected officials and business elites want. Unmarried out of state transplants who live here 1-3 years then go somewhere else while jacking up rents are the most desirable kind of tenant. Eric Adams winning was the “common sense” crowd’s last stand in NYC, a candidate who’s Kathryn Garcia + Maya Wiley (using 2021 primary candidates) can easily win.