Friday, November 23, 2007

I Love New York

New York City's homicide rate is now below (way below) 500 for the past year -- most of those committed by someone known to the victim:

New York City is on track to have fewer than 500 homicides this year, by far the lowest number in a 12-month period since reliable Police Department statistics became available in 1963.

But within the city’s official crime statistics is a figure that may be even more striking: so far, with roughly half the killings analyzed, only 35 were found to be committed by strangers, a microscopic statistic in a city of more than 8.2 million.

If that trend holds up, fewer than 100 homicide victims in New York City this year will have been strangers to their assailants. The vast majority died in disputes with friends or acquaintances, with rival drug gang members or — to a far lesser degree — with romantic partners, spouses, parents and others.

The low number of killings by strangers belies the common imagery that New Yorkers are vulnerable to arbitrary attacks on the streets, or die in robberies that turn fatal.

In the eyes of some criminologists, the police will be hard pressed to drive the killing rate much lower, since most killings occur now within the four walls of an apartment or the confines of close relationships.

Matthew Yglesias brings up another interesting point:
Giuliani and his supporters would tend to argue that certain apparent black marks on his administration's record -- Amadou Diallo, Patrick Dorismond, Rudy's generally horrible relationship with the African-American community -- were all just part of the price you had to pay for his super-effective anti-crime measures. But then Bloomberg came into office, kept much of the same policy framework in place, but went out of his way to try to be a bridge-builder who got along with all sorts of people. And the [proof] is in the pudding -- this works just fine. Nothing about sound crime control policy required Giuliani to be acting like a jerk or a madman, he just did that stuff because that's who he is.

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