Over the past two decades, New York City's crime rate reduction is twice the national average and has lasted twice as long, Universityof California Berkeley law Prof. Franklin Zimring tells the Wall Street Journal. Zimring did research focused on homicide, robbery, and auto theft as reported by police from 1990 to 2009. He compared these numbers to independent sources to verify or discount the sizable decline in each crime. The professor says he confirmed the accuracy in the drop in robberies reported by police. Zimring, who is writing a book called “The City That Became Safe: New York and the Future of Crime Control,” says changes in policing policies “are the only obvious candidates to take credit” for what he called the city's “Guinness Book of World Records' crime drop.” The impact police had on homicide and rape were less pronounced, and the cops had a very limited role in lowering grand larcenies and assaults, he says.
Meanwhile, critics of New York police crime statistics want to revive the sort of audit done in 1997 by former state Comptroller Carl McCall. Those pushing for review cite allegations from police officer Adrian Schoolcraft, who went public last year with secretly taped recording that showed that some police supervisors in his Bedford-Stuyvesant precinct may have been downgrading crime complaints or refusing to take them at all.