The New York Times
There were days upon days in New York City when not a single person was murdered in 2009. Two such stretches, in February and March, lasted nearly a week each.
There were some pockets of the city where homicide was a singular occurrence: 12 of the city’s 77 police precincts, in locations as varied as Hamilton Heights, in Upper Manhattan, and Park Slope, Brooklyn, had logged one each through Sunday.
The story line of murder in New York is one that has been undergoing constant revision since 1963, when the Police Department began tracking homicides in a way that officials now deem reliable. (Before then, homicides were not counted until they were solved.) There have been rises — the number peaked at 2,245 in 1990 — and subsequent falls. But there have never been as few homicides as this year.
The city is on track, for the second time in three years, to have the fewest homicides in a 12-month period since the current record keeping system began. As of Sunday, there had been 461; the record low was in 2007, when there were 496 for the entire year.
The toll has gone down despite predictions that it would rise in a bad economy — a notion rejected by the city’s police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly. But challenges persist: With the city facing a $4.1 billion budget deficit, the police force — which has been reduced by 6,000 officers since 2001 — may have to shrink further.
“The mantra of ‘do more with less’ is certainly a very important principle in the Police Department,” Mr. Kelly said. “And these numbers show it.”
The decline in homicides is happening not only in New York. According to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s uniform crime report for the first half of 2009, homicides fell 10 percent nationwide compared with the same period in 2008. But New York showed a 19 percent decline, the report said, and the city’s homicide rate of 6 per 100,000 people was far lower than those of New Orleans, Chicago or Baltimore.
In the first half of 2009, homicides fell in Los Angeles by 29.8 percent, in Atlanta by 14 percent, in Chicago by 11.8 percent, in Philadelphia by 11.2 percent and in Boston by 10.3 percent. They rose in Detroit by 11.6 percent, in Baltimore by 9.5 percent and in New Orleans by 3.2 percent.
Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?
Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.
If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.
Wednesday, December 30, 2009
The New York Times