Who would have believed it? For those who remember the soaring crime rate in New York City in the 1980’s, it might come as something of a surprise, but the numbers are in. According to research based upon figures from the FBI and the Bureau of Justice Statistics, crime in New York City declined by 54% over the past twenty years. And statewide, the drop in crime from 1990 to 2012 was 62%, which was the result largely to a drop in NYC of 74% during the same period.
While robberies, homicide, auto theft, burglaries and some other crimes were down, the report we read did not show the relative rates of domestic violence, sex crimes, and some other offenses. Nevertheless, the general statistics certainly represent good news for New Yorkers.
There is, of course, a fair amount of disagreement over the reason(s) for the drop in crime. Some point to an increase in the number of police officers. Others might look to economic factors, and still others will say that additional issues are involved. Our best guess is that there are at least a few factors at work here.
Having said that, we should also tell you that while crime in the City is down, we have seen over the past several years numerous reports which raise an alarm over what some view as an increasing pattern of police brutality in New York. As in the case of crime reduction, the reason for the level and number of police brutality claims is not all that clear. Those who have expressed an opinion tend to blame poor hiring practices at the NYPD, inadequate training, a culture of brutality, a lack of accountability, and a refusal at higher levels to address any but the most blatant cases.
Wherever the analysis leads you, our suggestion is that the NYPD should receive at least a decent share of the credit for the reduction in crime. On the other hand, no matter how good the Department is doing on crime overall, that issue is irrelevant to the serious problem of police brutality in New York City.
George Vomvolakis Law Offices
275 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016