September Saturdays around 10 p.m. were the most likely moments for a murder in New York City in recent years, says the New York Times. An annual summer spike in killings is one of several findings in an analysis of homicide trends. Information detailing homicides from 2003 to 2008 was compiled mainly from open-records requests with the New York Police Department. A searchable database of details on homicides in the city during those years is available at nytimes.com/nyregion.
From 2003 to 2008, the number of women killed each year by strangers was in the single digits. Last year, as few as eight women died at the hands of strangers. Each year the percentage of people killed by firearms hovers around 60 percent. Of all the trends to emerge, summer as the season for the most killings was among the most enduring. In New York, the trend goes back well before the years covered in the database – at least as far as 1981, according to an analysis of reports by the city medical examiner's office done by criminologist Steven Messner of the State University of New York at Albany. The trend occurs in other cities, in places like Chicago, Boston and Newark.