New York murder rate hits record low despite terror attacks

'You can feel the change'

Andrew Buncombe
New York
Thursday 21 December 2017 16:42 GMT
The city once had a reputation for murder and high crime
The city once had a reputation for murder and high crime (Getty)

Crushed in the subway, barely able to breathe. Somebody is jabbing their elbow in your back. And everyone looks so darned angry.

There are days in America's magical yet maddening largest city, when it feels everyone wants to kill each other.

Yet new statistics show that murders in New York are at a record low. Indeed, the murder rate in densely packed Gotham is the same as it is in Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota.

Data collated by the Associated Press shows that up to December 17 2017, the city of 8.5m million people, a place where homelessness and mental health remain huge challenges and where inequality is stark, recorded 278 killings.

It said that means it is set to end the year with a 14 per cent reduction on last year’s figures and down on the 333 recorded in in 2014, which was the year with the fewest killings since New York began keeping accurate crime statistics in 1963.

Port Authority CCTV footage appears to show moment bomb went off during New York rush hour

“You can feel the change. More people are out walking the streets at night, they’re out talking to their neighbours, they’re not rushing their kids home, you know, with their heads down,” Rashaud Carmichael, 36, a construction worker and father of three, told the news agency. “I’ve lived here all my life. And man, I can tell you, it’s a different world now.”

The statistics stand in sharp contrast to the picture of New York City painted by President Donald Trump on the campaign trail a year ago, when he said murders were up because the city’s liberal mayor, Bill de Blasio, was helping immigrants living here illegally and abandoning a police tactic that involved stopping and frisking huge numbers of predominantly innocent black and Hispanic men.

This year’s death toll included the eight people killed when a man from Uzbekistan allegedly drove a rented truck down a waterfront bicycle bath.

Months earlier, one person was killed and 20 injured after a man drove a vehicle into a crowd of people in Times Square.

No one died in an incident this month when a would-be suicide bomber detonated an explosive in the subway system.

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