The rise in violent crime has many people searching for causes. The issue is particularly important in New York City, where recent reports indicate a disturbing rise in a number of violent crimes. They include the following: Murder – Up by 8.3% over last year.…
The NYPD reports that violent crime, including rapes and felony assaults, are on the increase in some of the wealthier neighborhoods in Manhattan. The figures focus on the first quarter of 2013, and while some of the numbers may disturbing to some, other figures indicate that certain areas are actually experiencing a decrease in the crime rate. Here are some of the statistics released by the Department:
- Rapes were up in Chelsea, Gramercy Park, SoHo, TriBeCa and Midtown South;
- Felony assaults were up in Chelsea by 61.5%;
- The West Village saw a 175% increase in felony assaults;
- Grand larceny in the 6th Precinct (West Village) was up by over 36%;
- Gramercy Park grand larceny was up by more than 28%.
Overall, the Manhattan South area (which includes all these precincts) showed a modest increase in crime – only about 6%. Interestingly, the large increases in many of the wealthier neighborhoods were offset to a certain degree by decreases in crime in some unlikely places. You might be surprised at these statistics, since they involve some of the more traditionally crime-addled areas in the city. Looking at murder, rape, felony assault, burglary, robbery, grand larceny and auto theft, here are the year to date comparisons:
- In Chinatown, the year to date total for all the categories was down (compared with the same period last year) by over 15%;
- In the East Village, the decline was 6.25%;
- The Lower East Side saw a reduction in these crimes of 5.46%; and
- Midtown North showed a decrease of almost 4%.
While much has been made of the increase in violent crime during the first quarter or so of 2013, it is, in fact, a trend that began last year. In that regard, while homicides decreased to a record low at the end of 2012, the number of felony assaults and rapes had increased. This is, of course, an area where you can find sunlight or gloom, depending upon which figures you look at. On the bright side, shootings in the first quarter dropped 24% city-wide.
The unusual aspect of the reports for the current quarter suggest that there may be a shift in the location of many violent crimes, from less affluent, to more affluent areas. But as with any statistics such as these, we’ll have to wait to see if they represent a trend, or simply a short-term anomaly.
George Vomvolakis Law Offices
275 Madison Avenue
New York, NY 10016