Monday, November 22, 2010

NYC: Violent Crime on the Rise

According to the Wall Street Journal (WSJ), New York City's overall crime rate—calculated by totaling seven so-called index crimes: murders, rapes, robberies, felony assaults, burglaries, grand larcenies and auto thefts—dropped 1.26% from a year earlier. The "drop" is attributable to a reduction in property-crime complaints, most notably fewer grand larcenies. However, hidden in the "drop" in crime is the fact that all four violent crimes are projected to show increases at year's end, including 15% hikes in both murders and rape.

Eli Silverman, a professor emeritus at John Jay College of Criminal Justice and co-author of a study challenging the accuracy of the NYPD's statistics, has a different explanation. He told the WSJ the police department is manipulating statistics by downgrading many property crimes to minor offenses that don't show up in the official crime rate. Violent crimes are much harder to downgrade and may be being reported more accurately, he says.

"They've made it [low crime] symbolic for all their achievements," Silverman told the WSJ, "They've made it a selling point for tourism and business….They made it a narrative, a story and they can't deviate from that story. They're stuck in that story."

New York City is the latest major city to reveal and up-tick in violent crime. The sputtering economy has had a dramatic impact on state and local government budgets. The budget crisis has resulted in fewer police officers, early release of prisoners, cuts in programming and fewer employment opportunities. All of this contributes to higher violent crime rates.

Policymakers seem content to balance the budget on the back of public safety cuts. What would John Q. Public pay for the safety and security of his family?

To read more:

No comments:

Post a Comment