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‘Very Positive Trends’: Number of Homicides Drops Significantly in the Big Apple

Published: April 15, 2024
A New York City police officer stands guard at the entrance of the Museum of Modern Art in New York City on March 12, 2022. (Image: KENA BETANCUR/AFP via Getty Images)

According to numbers compiled by AH Datalytics, the number of nonnegligent manslaughters, homicides, in New York City has dropped by 17.1 percent year-over-year through to March 31 and, if the trend continues to the end of this year, it will mean the spike in homicides seen during the COVID-19 pandemic will have almost completely reversed itself.   

AH Datalytics, which, according to its website, “specializes in producing analytical insights that inform organizational decision-making,” says the trend is being seen in a number of American cities. 

“Among the 50 largest U.S. cities, New York’s 2023 homicide rate was fifth-lowest, less than one-tenth that of No. 1 Memphis and about one-fifth that of Dallas, which according to a Gallup poll conducted last summer is thought to be the country’s safest city,” Bloomberg reported. 

Jeff Asher, one of the founders of AH Datalytics told the NY Post, “There’s just a ton of places that you can point to that are showing widespread, very positive trends.”

Among the cities that saw the most improvement across the country was Boston that recorded a whopping 82 percent decrease in homicides, followed by Columbus, Ohio which experienced a 58 percent drop and San Antonio, Texas with a 50 percent drop. 

“Nationally you’re seeing a very similar situation to what you saw in the mid-to-late 90s,” Asher said. “But it’s potentially even larger in terms of the percentage and number of the drops.”

It’s believed that the spike in murders seen over the course of the pandemic was due to two main causes, school closings and civil unrest stemming from the death of George Floyd.

It’s important to note that as homicide rates fell, so did shooting incidents, which saw a 24.7 percent decrease over 2023 and an 18.5 percent decrease year to date. 


‘The police went to sleep’

Dean Dabney, a criminology professor with Georgia State University told the NY Post that “The police went to sleep,” over the course of the pandemic and widespread rioting as a result of the police custody death of George Floyd. 

“The prosecution and the courts went to sleep, and the jails and prisons let people out. So you had an ideal situation for criminals,” Dabney said. 

However, despite the encouraging numbers, New Yorkers remain concerned about crime in the city amidst several high-profile subway murders, what appears to be random punching attacks on unsuspecting women and the killing of a police officer during a recent traffic stop. 

Assault statistics — which are notoriously unreliable due to how many assaults are believed to go unreported — have spiked in New York and continue to rise.

“The punching attacks are not some weird anomaly,” Bloomberg reported. 

According to statistics compiled by the NYPD, in 2023 there were 6,692 felony assaults in the city through to roughly April 7, compared to 6,892 during the same period this year, a three percent increase.

When looking at the 14 year change however, New Yorkers have experienced a staggering 68.7 percent increase in felony assault. 


New York much safer than the 1990s

When compared to the 1990s however, New York is a much, much safer city to live in. 

According to NYPD statistics, in 1990 the city experienced  2,262 homicides, compared to just 391 in 2023, a drop of 82.7 percent.

Incidents of rape drop significantly as well. In 1990 there were 3,126 rapes reported, compared to 1,455 in 2023, a drop of 53.5 percent.

Even felony assaults are down by 36.8 percent compared to 1990.

Overall, when considering all crime types, including burglary and grand larceny, crime is down an astonishing 76 percent compared to 1990. 

However, it may be hard to convince the city’s straphangers that things are getting better, after the state deployed around 1,000 national guardsmen and other law enforcement officers to patrol the city’s subways to combat crime.

Earlier in March, New York Governor Kathy Hochul, announced the initiative, and deployed 250 law enforcement officers and 750 guardsmen to the city’s subways to work with the NYPD to conduct bag checks.

“No one heading to their job or to visit family or go to a doctor appointment should worry that the person sitting next to them possesses a deadly weapon,” Hochul said at the time.

In addition to the increased manpower, Hochul introduced  a new law that will allow judges to ban anyone convicted of a violent transit assault from riding the city’s subway or bus system.

“Let me be very, very clear. These brazen, heinous attacks on our subway system will not be tolerated,” Hochul said at a press conference at the time. “This will not stand — not on my watch.”