New York City’s homicide increase this year–109 through March 28 compared with 89 a year earlier, means that there likely will be about 500 this year the the third-lowest total since 1963, police spokesman Paul Browne tells the Wall Street Journal. The city has cut its police force to 35,000. That’s about 5,000 fewer officers than were on the force when Raymond Kelly became commissioner in 2002. Patrick Lynch, president of the union that represents 22,000 patrol officers, called the trend worrisome. “The lack of uniformed police officers patrolling neighborhoods has emboldened the criminals who once again feel free to carry guns and use them in their crimes,” he said.
Andrew Karmen of John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York urged caution about looking for trends in less than three months of data. “This whole hullabaloo is a little premature,” he said. “Frankly, this has happened before. There have been bad stretches, and each time it happens there are some questions about whether this is the beginning of the end of crime reductions  it’s just way too early to say.”