Is New York’s Murder, Rape Increase Meaningful Or A Blip?


“So far after two months, the crime rate is down a couple percent,” New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s told the New York Post last week when the tabloid wrote about the jump in Big Apple rapes and murders so far this year. But the Village Voice notes that in the statistics, all crimes are equal. Eighty percent of the crime decrease this year is due to a drop in property crimes like burglaries, larcenies, and car thefts. The overall crime index probably doesn’t resonate with the public as much as the numbers of murders or rapes. Says the Voice: “Many cops will tell you that it’s feasible to downgrade some crimes right off the stat sheet (like making a felony assault into a misdemeanor assault), but not so easy to make a murder go away.”

New York City’s 82 murders (versus 74 last year) and 297 rapes (compared to 247 in ’05) through February 26 could be chalked up to any number of things, including the mild winter. Overall, since 1993, rape is down 35 percent and murder is off by 73 percent. As for this year’s increase: “You get wild fluctuations on such a small base with any increase exaggerated when compared to last year’s record lows,” deputy police commissioner for public information Paul Browne told the Post.


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