Phony Crime Trend: Criminals Wearing N.Y. Yankees Clothing

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Media critic Jack Shafer of Slate has cited another phony crime “trend” story, this one from the New York Times. The Times reported last week on page one that “dozens of men and women who have robbed, beaten, stabbed and shot at their fellow New Yorkers [] while wearing Yankees caps or clothing. ” The evidence? “Since 2000, more than 100 people who have been suspects or persons of interest in connection with serious crimes in New York City wore Yankees apparel at the time of the crimes or at the time of their arrest or arraignment.”

Shafer notes that there have been more than 1 million reported crimes in New York City in the last decade. He says, “It would be a miracle if at least 100 ‘suspects or persons of interest in connection with serious crime’ hadn’t been wearing Yankee garb ‘at the time of the crimes or at the time of their arrest or arraignment.’ ” The Times recruited a criminologist to speculate that criminals dress as Yankees because Jay-Z and other rappers do, and aping those stars makes them “look cool.” Shafer says that if dressing like Jay-Z and other rappers makes you look cool, noncriminals must be doing the same, thereby ifying any “trend” in that direction.

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