New York City is on track for its least murderous year on record, reports the New York Daily News. The city experienced a 15 percent dip in murders in the first eight months of 2007 compared with the same period in 2006 – with murders plummeting from 366 to 311 as of Aug. 26. “It’s an outbreak of better behavior,” said criminologist Andrew Karmen of John Jay College of Criminal Justice. At the current rate, the city would reach a year-end total of 476 murders; the count has not dipped below 500 since before 1963 when the city began tracking murders by the number of bodies rather than the number of arrests.
Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly was cautiously optimistic. “We’re encouraged but we don’t want to predict a year-end total with four full months left in 2007,” he said. Major crime is down almost 7 percent this year. Karmen, who wrote the book “New York Murder Mystery,” said the decline was good news but the city should investigate why crime has gone down. “As long as crime continues to go down it seems like nobody cares really to find out why,” he said. “But if it started to go back up – as it has in other cities – we wouldn’t know what to do because we don’t know what works.”