Reported violent crime rose in New York City this year even though overall crime was down 1.4 percent through last Sunday, reports the Wall Street Journal, which says the city’s police department is under unprecedented pressure to justify its crime figures. Pending year-end numbers, murder, rape, robbery and felony assault remain higher than last year. While burglaries also spiked, other property crimes such as grand larceny and vehicle theft declined.
Reported rapes are up 15 percent this year and robberies have risen by 5.1 percent. Felony assaults are up 0.7 percent; shooting incidents climbed 3.6 percent. Through Wednesday, there were 526 homicides, a 13.4 percent increase from last year’s record low of 465 on the same date, police said. By the end of 2009, the city had recorded 471 murders in total, also a record low and the eighth year in a row that there were under 600 murders. This week, the city began posting data on citywide misdemeanor-crime complaints dating back 10 years, partly in response to claims that withholding such statistics indicated it had something to hide. A Wall Street Journal analysis of those numbers, assisted by professors on both sides of the statistics debate, found there were no obvious trends to indicate that serious crimes were being downgraded into misdemeanors.