Wednesday, 2 January 2019

New York City safest big city in US despite rise in reports of rapes

New York City safest big city in US despite rise in reports of rapes

New York City remained the safest big city in the country in 2018 as the murder rate continued to drop.

 But the number of rapes and hate crimes reported to the police rose sharply, the police said. 

Reported rapes rose 22 percent this year, which some experts attributed to more people reporting attacks as a result of the #MeToo movement.

 Hate crimes rose 5 percent, with larger increases in attacks against black and Jewish people, according to the New York Police Department. 

Overall, murder and other violent crimes decreased, continuing a 28-year trend. 

New York’s murder rate hovered just above 3 per 100,000 people in 2018, well below the three other largest American cities, according to the Brennan Center for Justice. 

(New York’s population is about 8.6 million.) Los Angeles’s murder rate is expected to be slightly over 6 per 100,000, Chicago’s rate just under 20 and Houston’s rate just over 14. Franklin E. Zimring, a law professor and criminologist at the University of California, Berkeley, said the city may find it hard to reduce violent crime much further.

 “At some point, rates of life-threatening violence in the City of New York are going to scrape bottom,” he said.

 “Any police official that says we’re going to try to push it down another 50 next year has been smoking substances that until rather recently were illegal.” 

As of Dec. 30, there were 287 homicides in New York, down five from last year. 

That drop continued a steady decline since 1990, when there were 2,262 murders. 

Robberies in 2018 were also down by nearly 8 percent from the previous year, and shooting incidents decreased by 4 percent. 

The number of people shot fell to 894, from 933. Yet, 1,760 rapes were reported as of Dec. 23, compared to 1,438 at the same time last year.

 The police said the final year-end totals for reported rape and hate crimes would not be released until later this week. 

Experts on sex crimes said the increase in reported rapes does not mean more people were assaulted. 

Some welcomed the rise as a sign that more rape victims were going to the authorities and undergoing the ordeal of having evidence collected.

 “We view it as good news because it means that more people are feeling confident to come forward and report the rape,” said Sonia Ossorio, the president of the National Organization for Women of New York. 

She added: “The clear indication is that more people are reporting their assaults rather than suffering in silence as so many people have done for so long.”

 But Ms. Ossorio said police departments should invest more resources into the divisions that investigate sex crimes. 

“There has been a fundamental shift in our society,” she said. 

“It’s really a call to action, not only to the N.Y.P.D., but to police departments across the country, to up their game.”

 One troubling trend in 2018 was a rise in reported crimes motivated by bigotry. 

As of Dec. 23, hate crimes reported to the police rose 5 percent to 352 incidents. 

Reported crimes targeting black people because of their race increased by 33 percent, while anti-Semitic hate crimes rose 22 percent, the police said. 

The rise in anti-Semitic hate crimes came as the Jewish community was still reeling from the massacre at a synagogue in Pittsburgh, where 11 people were fatally shot. 

New York’s precipitous drop in crime since the early 1990s aligns with a national trend of decreasing violence. 

The precise causes are hard to determine. Criminologists cite a confluence of factors, including more effective policing, improved technology, violence-prevention programs and demographic and social changes.

 “What we can hope for in New York City’s crime future is that year-end crime statistics remain boring,” Mr. Zimring said. 

Experts said the drop in violent crime continued even as the police department has scaled back enforcement of marijuana laws and has ended the practice of stopping and frisking large numbers of young men in high-crime neighborhoods. 

Both policies disproportionately affected black and Hispanic residents. 

“It shows that you can have a city that is dedicated to building a fairer justice system while also maintaining one of the safest big cities in the county,” said Ames Grawert, senior counsel at the at the Brennan Center for Justice.
https://www.evolutionalblogs.com/p/two-2-3-odds.html

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