NYC Crime Up or Down, Depending on How Strangulation is Counted


Major crime in New York City has risen in 2011 but less than 1 percent, says the New York Times. Mayor Michael Bloomberg says the number of felonies has gone down. His logic was rooted in a state law that created strangulation as a new class of crime. The law, which went into effect in late 2010, offered three definitions of strangulation (none resulting in a person's death); first- and second-degree strangulation were felonies, and third-degree strangulation was a misdemeanor. The city's theory is that many crimes now classified as second-degree strangulations would have been treated as misdemeanors or less before the new law took effect.

If those crimes were excluded from the 2011 felony total, overall crime would have fallen by 1.2 percent, Bloomberg said. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly cited criminologist Franklin Zimring of the University of California at Berkeley, whose recent book, “The City That Became Safe,” looks closely at the reduction in crime in New York City since 1991. “He says the reduction of crime in New York City is a Guinness Book of World Records reduction, not seen anywhere,” Kelly said. “He says — he's a very definite voice in the business — that the reason for the dramatic, the Guinness Book of Records reduction over two decades, is police work. It's as simple as that, as direct as that.”

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