Crime in New York City

The crime rate in New York City is lower than it’s been in generations:

New York City finished 2016 tied for its second lowest number of homicides in the modern era of record keeping, driving the city’s rate for each 100,000 residents to the lowest level among major U.S. cities except San Diego.

NYPD figures show 335 killings last year, down from 352 in 2015. The fewest killings were in 2014, with 333; 2013 also recorded 335 homicides. The 2016 number is preliminary and might be adjusted upward if certain cases are reclassified as homicides.

Total shootings, defined as discharge of a gun in which someone is injured, totaled 998, down from more than 1,100 in the prior year.

Since hitting a record high of 2,245 homicides in 1989, New York City killings have declined markedly and are comparable to what the city experienced in the 1960s, when record keeping differed from the CompStat method initiated in 1994 by then-commissioner William Bratton.

And it could be even lower if other states had stronger gun laws:

A gun-trafficking ring in Virginia brought more than 200 legally purchased guns up the I-95 corridor to New York, where they unwittingly sold them to an undercover detective, according to an indictment unsealed on Wednesday.

The indictment of 627 counts charged 24 people, some of whom have violent criminal records and ties to the Bloods street gang, with conspiracy and illegal weapons sale and possession. In all, the authorities recovered 217 guns, including 41 assault weapons like AK-47s, AR-15s and a Thompson submachine gun.

In a phone call in September, Antwan Walker, of Highland Springs, Va., said it was to buy guns in Virginia.

“There is no limits to how many guns I can go buy from the store, you know what I mean?” he said.

But we have to allow such people to buy an almost unlimited number of guns because FREEDOM.

Guns and murder

I missed this article when it came out which ranks countries by guns per capita. The US is number one by a lot. Here are the top ten (data from here which got it from a UN survey–the rates are per 100 people)

United States 88.8
Yemen 54.8
Switzerland 45.7
Finland 45.3
Serbia 37.8
Cyprus 36.4
Saudi Arabia 35
Iraq 34.2
Uruguay 31.8
Sweden 31.6

It’s a weird mix: free and unfree, stable and unstable. One thing to consider is that the US is even further ahead in number of weapons–the US has an estimated 270 million guns, while the next country is India with 46 million. The US owns an astounding 35-50% of the world’s guns. These top gun countries are not near the top in murder rates (from here, as a comparison the rate in the US is 4.8 per 100,000):

Honduras 91.6
El Salvador 69.2
Côte d’Ivoire 56.9
Jamaica 52.2
Burundi 50.7
Venezuela 45.1
Belize 41.4
U.S. Virgin Islands 39.2
Guatemala 38.5
Saint Kitts and Nevis 38.2

A few things to consider: first the murder rates here are astounding, the rate in Honduras is almost 20 times that of the US which is one of the highest for developed countries, second, according to the definition, this does not include death in conflicts which means countries like Iraq and Yemen look much better than they should with their murder rates of 2 and 4.2.

I don’t have much to say about this, it’s just data to consider.

Crime in the US and Trayvon Martin

Crime in the US has been going down for the last 20 years (from the FBI here):

including murder:

The rates of 2010 were: 49% of the rate in 1991 for murder; 53% of the rate in 1991 for all violent crime; 57% of the rate in 1991 for all property crime. These are pretty major reductions, although y0u might not see that on the news.

Still, it’s important to remember that the numbers are still very large: there were an estimated 1.2 million violent crimes and 14,748 murders (or nonnegligent manslaughter) in the US in 2010.

What does that have to do with Trayvon Martin? It helps to answer why this case has become a big deal, as opposed to, for example, this case.

The first part is that there are just too many murders in the US for all of them to become national news. This means that a case has to have a twist for it to get attention and part of that is random. The twist here is that we know who the killer is and he hasn’t been charged with any crime (if the killing was done by a hunter, it probably would not become well-known). That got it on the national news and then it took hold (this is the random part).

Another part is how common this type of thing is for blacks. Blacks are much more likely to be suspected of a crime, which makes them identify with it–they think it could easily be them. And this is where the racism comes in. It’s hard to say if racism was the reason for this incident, but it is responsible for many incidents and that means this case can be used to talk about the issue.

%d bloggers like this: