The Science Survey

New York City’s Drop in Crime Rates

New+York+City+has+seen+a+steady+decrease+in+crime+rates+for+nearly+three+decades.
New York City has seen a steady decrease in crime rates for nearly three decades.

New York City has seen a steady decrease in crime rates for nearly three decades.

Hollie Park

Hollie Park

New York City has seen a steady decrease in crime rates for nearly three decades.

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New York City is one of the largest cities in the world with a population of over 8.5 million of people. As a result, keeping the streets of New York City safe seems like a Herculean task for the New York Police Department. However, they have had much success as New York City officials report that 2017 had the lowest recorded crime rate since the 1950s, making it the twenty-seventh straight year of decline.

New York City is famous for being a bustling metropolitan, which is often seen as being dangerous. Recent statistics dispel this myth. As of December 24, 2017, there have been only 284 homicides for a city with a population of almost nine million people, making the chances of being murdered 0.0033 percent – far less than the chance of being struck by lightning. Compared to the 329 homicides the previous year, 2017 experienced a 13.7% drop and it is projected to drop even further in the coming years.

Social initiative programs put in place by NYC officials and enforced by the NYPD  have shifted their focus onto individual neighborhoods such as Morningside Heights rather than on boroughs or districts, which helps explain the decline in crime. According to CNN, “Of the city’s seventy-seven precincts, fifty-one have operated under this model since 2015, and recorded crimes have decreased at faster rates there.”

“NYC officials report that 2017 had the lowest recorded crime rate since the 1950s, making it the 27th straight year of decline.”

The reasoning behind this strategy and its remarkable efficiency is that police officers get to familiarize themselves with a specific neighborhood, know when and where something is out of place, and assist those who have become familiar faces. They maintain ‘sector integrity,’ meaning that the officers generally stay within their assigned sectors unless there is a precinct-wide emergency. It functions with the cooperation of the sector officers, known as NCOS, or neighborhood coordination officers.

Christina Pan ’19, who lives in Bayside, Queens and has experienced the benefits from this system said, “I know that I can always access some sort of help, whether it is from the NYPD or from a local business owner.” According to nyc.gov, “The NCOs serve as liaisons between the police and the community, but also as key crime-fighters and problem-solvers in the sector,” even attending community meetings and visiting schools. Integral programs such as these have led to record breaking lows becoming increasingly common year after year, making New York City one of the safest cities in the United States.

Though the future is hopeful, there is still work to be done. For example, reports of rape have decreased by only one case since 2016. In efforts to tackle this issue, an all-female volunteer task force called ‘Pervbusters’ has dedicated itself to detecting sexual harassment on NYC subways, which have proven to be a haven for sexual predators due to the crowded and hectic nature of subway cars. Though small, task force members have made occasional arrests and prevented a number of attacks.

If the city stays on track as it is predicted to, New Yorkers will be truly safe on their streets.

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New York City’s Drop in Crime Rates