Thursday, September 13, 2007

Being Murdered in NYC -- Your risk is negligible

Via New York Times:

New York Killers, and Those Killed, by Numbers

Published: April 28, 2006

The oldest killer was 88; he murdered his wife. The youngest was 9; she stabbed her friend. The women were more than twice as likely as men to murder a current spouse or lover. But once the romance was over, only the men killed their exes. The deadliest day was on July 10, 2004, when eight people died in separate homicides.

Five people eliminated a boss; 10 others murdered co-workers. Males who killed favored firearms, while women and girls chose knives as often as guns. More homicides occurred in Brooklyn than in any other borough. More happened on Saturday. And roughly a third are unsolved.

At the end of each year, the New York Police Department reports the number of killings — there were 540 in 2005 [579 in 2006]. Typically, much is made of how the number has fallen in recent years — to totals not seen since the early 1960's. But beyond summarizing the overarching trends, the police spend little time compiling the individual details.

The New York Times obtained the basic records for every murder in the city over the last three years, and while the events make for disturbing reading, the numbers can hint at trends, occasionally solve a mystery and in at least some straightforward way answer for the city the questions of who kills and who is killed in the five boroughs.

From 2003 through 2005, 1,662 murders were committed in New York. No information, beyond an occasional physical description, is available on the killers in the unsolved cases.

Of the rest, men and boys were responsible for 93 percent of the murders; they killed with guns about two-thirds of the time; their victims tended to be other men and boys; and in more than half the cases, the killer and the victim knew each other.

The police said they were more interested in disrupting crime patterns. "We're looking for things with operational implications — time of day, day of the week — to see that we deploy officers at the right times and in sufficient numbers," said Michael J. Farrell, deputy commissioner for strategic initiatives.

The offender and victim were of the same race in more than three-quarters of the killings. And according to Mr. Farrell, they often had something else in common: More than 90 percent of the killers had criminal records; and of those who wound up killed, more than half had them.

"If the average New Yorker is concerned about being murdered in a random crime, the odds of that happening are really remote," Mr. Farrell said. "If you are living apart from a life of crime, your risk is negligible."

Photo: "Gathering Evidence" Michael Nagle New York Times
Via New York Sun:

Murder in a Safe City
by Otto Penzler
July 25, 2007

Sorry, America, but you're going to have to change your attitude. Vast numbers of people in the Heartland continue to think of New York City as a terrifying hotbed of crime, but in the latest report, it ranks as the fourth safest large city in the country, behind only San Jose, Honolulu, and El Paso.



Jamie said...

Great post. Most people are terrified of things that will never happen. If they actually looked at the incidence of events and the probabilities involved, they would feel a lot better.

It doesn't help that the media constantly hypes the most violent and salacious of happenings and give you the feel that something a thousand miles away is really next door.

the teach said...

Thanks, jamie, I was hoping there were people out there who would comment and agree that New York City is a safe place. I have relatives upstate NY and they are terrible afraid to come down and go into Manhattan or even the 5 boroughs. That's awful! Thanks for commenting!

AnimeFreak40K said...

I 'vaguely' (and by vaguely, I mean I can point out post/string it started on XD) remember throwing out some comments and such about Reputation, Perception and Media Hype and comparing that facts and records...

...of course my points were about race and this post is about cities. However, I do not think that makes my argument any less valid.

Just because the truth about New York City states that it is one of the safest large cities in the United States, does not mean the poor reputation is entirely unfounded. And a great unliklihood does not equal never either.

I do not know what it is like in NYC. Never been there. Flew over it a few night. I am reasonably interested in going to visit as well.

Oh, and just to let you know, the opposite is true too. The reputation that Washington DC is a fine, upstanding city with little crime and such is, in fact, NOT true. Washington DC has an increadible crime-rate!

Although I do not have the numbers, I would be willing to guess that the numbers are about the same as New York City's numbers. This is significant because Washington DC and it's Metro area are a fraction of the size and population of New York City's.

Yeah...this is why I do NOT work in DC and why I avoid that city like the plague =/

the teach said...

Washington DC has 44.0 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. New York City has 7.5 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. This is info for 2003. Couldn't find more recent info.

What poor reputation does NYC have? It's a great city!!

I know Washington, DC has a high crime rate.

You live outside Washington DC in Maryland or Virginia is life there?

AnimeFreak40K said...

"Washington DC has 44.0 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. New York City has 7.5 murders per 100,000 inhabitants. This is info for 2003. Couldn't find more recent info."

I do not think more recent info may. I remember reading something a little worse in some local papers last year, but the 2003 numbers are MORE than enough to make my point about DC vs. NYC.

"What poor reputation does NYC have? It's a great city!!"

First off, the reason for the article you posted in the first place: People seem to think that NYC is rif with crime, alwlessness and that simply by stepping into the city limits (regardless of location) that odds are, you are going to get raped, mugged murdered or any combination of the above. The article and prior comments obviously paint a completely different picture of course...but that is reputation vs. reality.

I live in Germantown, Maryland. It is about 30 some-odd miles outside of DC. The town is fairly nice (though active) city. It is also fairly safe and tame. In many ways, I am reminded of Cincinnati (where I was born and raised) only more active and with MUCH worse traffic XD.

As for Washington DC, I used to work down there...and I avoid it whenever possible. It is understandable to not like being in the city at night...there were times I did not feel comfortable during the day. Oddly enough, I have not witnessed any criminal activity, but there is a certain atmosphere that exists that is just somehow...well...wrong.

the teach said...

Oh I DO apologize, you're right, NYC's reputation is poor outside the city...the reality is quite different. Give credit to Ed Koch, Rudy Giuliani and now a really great Mayor Bloomberg.

I live 10 miles outside of Manhattan in Queens (a borough of the city). Very suburban, being built up by immigrants (Asian) building multi-dwelling houses. I live very close to the East River North which turns into the Long Island Sound. I like being surrounded by water.

I go into the city often to see a film, or a stage play. To go to the museum. I used to work at the UN and went into Manhattan every day. Wouldn't want to have to do that now.

AnimeFreak40K said...

Its cool. It does bother me that New York has such a poor reputation, and even though it is largely undeserved now, it was not an unwarrented or unearned reputation. I say that because once someone (or something) earns a bad reputation (regardless of the reason or facts behind it), it is difficult to be rid of it. And at one time, New York's reputation as being crime-city was closer to fact than fiction.

I do applaud guys like Ed coch, Rudy Giuliani and now Mr. Bloomberg in their efforts though. New York City is a VERY big place and I am sure it is very difficult to manage. They are better men than I am, that is for sure! ^_^

the teach said...

The ARE good men! Koch is a Democrat and Giuliani and Bloomberg are Republicans. Interesting, eh?

AnimeFreak40K said...


Political party does not mean that a person is good or bad at their job.

I have never concerned myself with political party myself...I am far more concerned about a persons' ability to do the job set before them.