For the first time in 20 years, New York City might record an overall rise in crime, reports the Village Voice. Although the homicide rate continues to drop—it’s down 16 percent so far this year—a series of other crime indicators shows the opposite. The citywide crime rate, which is based on seven felony categories: murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, grand larceny, and auto theft. That number is up by just more than 4 percent compared with 2011, and it’s up more than 5 percent compared to 2010, which suggests the upward trend has held steady for two years.
In West Harlem, 125th Street has become a front line for tensions between gangs in two large public housing developments. There is a history of clashes between rival groups from the development going back decades, but for a good period of the new century, there had been a truce. Over the past two years, that truce has been replaced by a renewed series of fights, punctuated at times by gunfire. Derrick Haynes, a longtime community activist, described incidents that started as name-calling among kids and led to rock and bottle skirmishes, followed by fistfights, beatings, slashing, and, eventually, gunfire. This year, crime in the 26th Precinct is up by 4.5 percent, but there has been a 26 percent jump in assaults, partly fueled by the public housing clashes. Now, community leaders are trying to come up with methods to deal with the violence. “It is worse, consistently worse,” says Sarah Martin, a tenant council president. “It’s an increase in gang activity. There are a lot more gangs. There’s nothing for kids to do with their time.”