New York City’s murder total is down 26 percent this year, the New York Times reports. Last week, there were no murders at all. If that trend holds, it would be the biggest one-year drop yet. And last year had the fewest murdrers in at least 50 years. Some credit goes to a focus by the police on informal youth gangs known as crews.
The drop comes even as officers are doing only about half as many stop-and-frisks as they did at the beginning of last year. Michael Jacobson, a former city correction commissioner and now a sociology professor at City University of New York, noted that last year's total of 419 murders was down from 2,245 in 1990. “If you asked any criminologist 20 years ago, 'Can it go from 2,200 to 400?' they would have thought you were insane,” he said. “But if it can go from 2,200 to 400, why can't it go from 400 to 200?”