Facebook Twitter Comments Slate Plus

New York City Set to Have Fewer Murders This Year Than Any Year Since the City Began Keeping Track

New York City police stand on a corner in Times Square on December 12, 2017 in New York City.
New York City police stand on a corner in Times Square on Dec. 12.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Just days from the end of 2017, New York City is set to tally a record low number of murders for the year, and serious crime, more generally, will have declined for the 27th straight year. As of Wednesday, 286 murders had been committed in the city, putting New York on pace to dip below its previous homicide low of 333 in 2014. To give some perspective to how far the murder rate has dropped in the city over the past several decades, the New York Times notes this year’s murder rate is on the verge of being “the lowest since reliable records have been kept,” an unthinkable turnaround from 1990 when there were 2,245 killings in New York City.

Other types of major felony crimes—manslaughter, rape, assault, robbery, burglary, grand larceny, and car thefts—have fallen since last year and, put together, are also likely to close out the year at historic lows. The nearly 95,000 major felony crimes committed so far this year is on pace to best last year’s record low of 101,716. In 1990, by contrast, there were 527,000 major felony crimes recorded in New York City.

“The numbers, when taken together, portray a city of 8.5 million people growing safer even as the police, under Mayor Bill de Blasio, use less deadly force, make fewer arrests and scale back controversial practices like stopping and frisking thousands of people on the streets,” according to the Times. “The continued declines are a boon to Mr. de Blasio, a Democrat elected on promises of police reform — promises that prompted warnings of mayhem to come by his opponents in 2013. But the opposite has happened, putting him on stronger footing as he pivots to a second term with a Police Department transformed to exercise greater restraint as it focuses on building trust in the city’s neighborhoods.”

One more thing

You depend on Slate for sharp, distinctive coverage of the latest developments in politics and culture. Now we need to ask for your support.

Our work is more urgent than ever and is reaching more readers—but online advertising revenues don’t fully cover our costs, and we don’t have print subscribers to help keep us afloat. So we need your help. If you think Slate’s work matters, become a Slate Plus member. You’ll get exclusive members-only content and a suite of great benefits—and you’ll help secure Slate’s future.

Join Slate Plus