Is the NYC crime rate on the rise?

Moving guides - December 17, 2019

Last week, New Yorkers heard devastating news regarding a crime committed against a young woman in upper Manhattan. Many prominent New York news outlets have been attempting to use this story to shape a narrative to support that crime is a growing issue in the city. Some are even proposing that crime in this city is on the rise. But, is the NYC crime rate really on the uptick?

Is the NYC crime rate really on the rise?

This question is challenging because there exists a lot of nuance in understanding how the crime rate has shifted in this city over time.

From the 60s, into the 90s, New York City had a growing murder rate. In 1963, there were 548 murders in the city. This statistic grew until 1990, when the city had a record record high 2,245 murders in a single year.

This era in New York City was known for its dangers. The city had the reputation of being an unsafe place to live, and even visit. There were rules to follow, like not going into the park after dark, locking all windows and doors.

With decreased citywide unemployment, added policing and computerized crime tracking systems, the city was able to bring this stat down in the 1990s, and then into the new millennium. Since 1990, crime has steadily been decreasing, dropping to an all time low in 2018, and in the start of 2019.

According to the NYPD, all crime criteria is down an astounding percent. Between 1990 and 2018, Murder is down 87%, Rape is down 42%, Robbery, 87%. Though of course these numbers are only indicative of reported crimes. Lots of crime goes unreported.

NYPD Crime Statistics 1990-Present

So, why is anyone worried? And more importantly, should anyone be worried?

While it is clear that crime is down in relation to this city’s history, many news outlets have become inflammatory regarding these statistics. What has alarmed some of these sensational news outlets is that in the past few months, crime has been rising, when considering the drop last year. In 2019, murder has gone up 9.4% since last year. 2019 is the first year since 2016, that has seen over 300 murders committed throughout the city. Robberies are up 1.9% from last year. AMNY also writes, “All other categories — including rape, burglary, grand larceny and auto theft — are down for the year. Transit crime has declined 3.7% for the year, but housing crime is up 5.4%. Total shooting incidents have also risen by 3.4%.”

So is NYC really safe?

Nonetheless, apparently crime in NYC is 28% less than the national average, which makes NYC safer than 22% of the cities in the United States. Furthermore, despite the upward shift in crime since 2018, the city is still incredibly safe– safer than it has been for 50 years. Therefore even if NYC crime rate has risen in some regards, the city is still incredibly safe.

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