Is New York safe? Violence, perception and reality

A teenage girl who worked as a cashier at a fast food restaurant was shot to death in Manhattan. A woman died after she was pushed onto the subway tracks in Times Square. An 11-month-old baby was injured by a stray bullet in the Bronx. Two police officers were killed in Harlem.

A series of high-profile acts of violence in New York City have unleashed jitters, becoming a mounting trauma for the fledgling administration of Mayor Eric Adams.

Although January was tragic for the city, statistics indicate that New York remains as safe or safer than it was a decade ago, when former Mayor Michael Bloomberg called it the “safest city in America.”

New York City recorded 28 murders in January, one less than the average for that month in the previous 10 years.

Last year, as violence spiked across the country, the total was 488 — up from a record low of 292 in 2017 — but far fewer than in the early 1990s, when the city averaged more than 2,000 homicides a year. anus. In 2011, New York recorded 515 murders.

“In New York, you can look at the situation from two angles,” said crime analyst Jeff Archer. “It is important to know that it is not at its worst historical point, but you also have to understand that it has worsened significantly in recent years.”

The number of people who have been injured by firearms in New York rose during the pandemic and remains stubbornly high.

But its murder rate — 5.5 per 100,000 people last year — remains lower than the next six most populous cities in the country, FBI and police data show. It has also been lower than that of many small cities, such as Jacksonville, Florida; Fort Worth, Texas; and Tulsa, Okla.

Adams, a former police captain who has made fighting crime a central part of his campaign, says he is not only fighting crime, but also a fear and perception that it is getting out of control.

Studies indicate that people often have a poor understanding of crime trends and often assume the worst, Asher said.

Adams says he wants to deploy police throughout the city so residents and tourists alike feel safe. He has also given disproportionate attention to his old department in his first month in office, attending roll calls, backing officers in the wake of the recent spate of violence and mandating new crime-fighting strategies.

“Being safe is also feeling safe. Nobody wants to hear statistics when they don’t feel safe,” he told NY1 television last week.

In New York, 2022 kicked off with a series of arbitrary crimes that make people more nervous.

Kristal Bayron-Nieves, the 19-year-old cashier who was killed on January 9 during a robbery at a Burger King in East Harlem, had moved with her family to New York in search of a better life after Hurricane Maria devastated Puerto Rico. Rich in 2017.

Michelle Go, the 40-year-old woman who was pushed onto the subway tracks on January 15 at the Times Square station, worked for the consulting firm Deloitte and as a volunteer helping homeless and at-risk families.

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The 11-month-old girl was hospitalized in critical condition after being hit in the cheek by a stray bullet while with her mother in a parked car on January 19, days before her first birthday.

The slain police officers, Jason Rivera, 22, and Wilbert Mora, 27, had joined the department in hopes of bridging persistent gaps between police and immigrant communities, like the ones they both grew up in.

President Joe Biden is scheduled to visit New York on Thursday to discuss ways to reduce gun violence — though it’s not the only place grappling with the problem.

Los Angeles, the nation’s second-largest city, reported 397 murders in 2021, its highest since 2007. Chicago had 797 homicides last year, the highest number since 1996. Philadelphia set a record with 562.

Fort Worth, Texas, a city 10 times smaller than New York, went from 69 murders in 2019 to 118 last year. Oklahoma City recorded 91 homicides last year, its highest number since 2012.

Jacksonville, Florida, bucked the trend, going from 140 murders in 2020 to 108 last year, but its murder rate of 11.4 per 100,000 people either way was twice New York’s.

Either way, recent violence has brought New York to a crossroads, with elected officials rushing to show they’re tough on crime, less than two years after authorities headed in the direction after the murder. of George Floyd in Minneapolis sparked a wave of protests for racial justice across the country.

Elected as a progressive reformer, new Manhattan prosecutor Alvin Bragg has come under siege after instructing his staff not to prosecute some minor crimes like prostitution and some instances of resisting arrest. After a disagreement with Police Commissioner Keechant Sewell, Bragg apologized, emphasizing that his office did not evade serious cases, such as gun violence and assaults on police officers.

Bail reforms that were implemented in the state two years ago to limit pre-trial detention have become a headache for politicians and police unions.

Adams addressed bail reform in an anti-crime blueprint, proposing that judges be empowered to take into account a defendant’s criminal record and possible dangerousness when setting bail.

Republican US Rep. Tom Suozzi, who ran for governor against incumbent state governor Kathy Hochul, asked him to reverse the reforms, as did six other Republican state representatives. US Rep. Lee Zeldin, a Republican who is also running for governor, even linked the bail law to the burning of an artificial Christmas tree outside the Fox News building in Manhattan.

The reforms include eliminating bail for nonviolent crimes and appearance dates in lieu of misdemeanor arrests.

Hochul has said she is willing to discuss changes to the law if the data indicates the reform is linked to rising crime.

Democratic Assemblyman Carl Heastie, who pushed through bail reform, said he was frustrated that politicians “blame reform every morning.”

“I think it’s unfortunate to link the rise in gun violence to just bail,” he said. “If that is the case, why do we have problems with firearms throughout the country?”

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