By Bob Tannenhauser
The NYPD announced the citywide crime statistics for the month of July, 2023, showing a decrease in five of the seven major crime categories compared to the same period in 2022.
According to the announcement, the first seven months of 2023 showed the same decrease in five of the seven major crime categories throughout New York City. Murder and rape incidents declined by 11.2% and 10.9%, respectively, with robbery, burglary, and grand larceny also showing declines.
Compiling crime stats requires checking several sites. According to data released on the NYPD crime stats site, felony assaults and grand larceny auto incidents increased by 5.5% and 18.3%, respectively, for the year through July 30, 2023. In addition to the seven major crime categories, we have included data for petit larceny and misdemeanor assaults.
|YTD 7/30/23||YTD 7/30/22||% Change|
We then examined the data for the same period for the Upper West Side, precincts 20, 24 and Central Park, to determine if there were notable differences from citywide trends. The year-to-date (July 30) statistics for the UWS are consolidated and presented below.
|Upper West Side||YTD 7/30/23||YTD 7/30/22||% Change|
Four of the seven major crimes show decreases in incidents. There have been three murders on the UWS, compared to two the previous year. Incidents of rape, robbery, burglary, and grand larceny declined, while felony assaults and grand larceny auto increased. As with the citywide chart, we have included in the UWS precincts chart the data for petit larceny and misdemeanor assaults.
The data does not necessarily correlate with the public’s perception of whether crime is increasing or decreasing — or their own safety, according to experts. We reported last September on Crime on the Upper West Side Over the Decades, and again last October on NYC and Upper West Side Crime in the 21st Century. Both pieces suggest, as Dr. Neil Gross, a professor of sociology at Colby College, wrote in a New York Times editorial, “Fear doesn’t respond well to data.”
Ginia Bellafante pointed out in her Big City column in the Times, that it may be “the random acts of violence that make people believe that they are not safe….the question of how bad crime actually is versus how bad it is perceived to be is complicated by the occurrence of rare but terrifying incidents….These sensational moments, compounded by history and…the notion that if some acts of violence are random they can randomly happen to you — turn the walls of reason porous and flood us with emotion.”
Dr. Gross suggests that fear of crime may, paradoxically, make public safety worse. For one thing, it induces people to buy guns. “The solution to all this is not to keep insisting that crime isn’t as bad as people think,” Dr. Gross concluded. “[W]hile over-the-top fears may not be justified in most cases, the public safety situation in the United States does warrant concern.”
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