NEW YORK – Even after two terrorist attacks, and a driver’s deadly rampage through Times Square, New York City is on track to smash the modern era low for homicides in a year.
By Means Of Dec. 17, the city of 8.5 million people, once America’s murder capital, had recorded 278 homicides. Which puts it on pace to the end of this year, with murders, a decrease of 14 percent compared to last year, and well below the 333 in 2014, that was the year with the fewest homicides since the city began keeping accurate crime statistics in 1963.
These numbers mean a person has the chance to be put to death in a well packaged, various New York City this year were about the same as last year in Wyoming, Montana and South Dakota.
Crime has been dropping for many years in New York, but in 2017 saw significant decreases even in places like Brooklyn’s 75th Police District, once among america’s most violent places.
“You can feel the change. More people are walking in the streets of the night, they talk with their neighbors, they are not rushing to their children at home, you know, with their heads down,” said Rashaud Carmichael, 36, a construction worker and father of three children who lives in the area. “I live here all my life. And man, I can tell you, it’s a different world now.”
There were 126 homicides in the district in 1993. Last year, there were 23. This year, through Dec. 17 there are 11.
The statistics are in sharp contrast with the image of New York City, painted by President Donald Trump of the campaign of a year ago, when he said murders because the city’s liberal mayor was coddling immigrants here illegally, and the withdrawal of a police tactic that involved stopping and frisking huge numbers of mostly innocent black and Latino men.
“Look what you’ve done in this city,” Police Commissioner James O’neill said in an interview with The Associated Press. “These are real numbers. I don’t think that is something that can be ignored.”
New York death toll was exacerbated this year a Halloween attack by a man from Uzbekistan, who drove a rented truck along a waterfront bike bath, killing eight people.
Months earlier, a driver, police said to have smoked marijuana laced with PCP, mowed down pedestrians in Times Square, striking 21 people and kill them. No one died this month as a candidate suicide bomber an explosive device detonated in the underground system.
In the 75th District, the residents are still more worried about gangs and drug dealing than terrorism.
“The crime is still for us. I still see and I still feel,” said Jessica Franco, 31, who started the Civic Association of Cypress Hills. “But I think that the neighbors must also understand their power to help change and their responsibility to engage with the police to help the better.”
Some criminologists say a movement away from the heavy-handed policing may have helped drive crime down.
For years, the department of the police dealt with crime hot spots by flooding them with extra officers and the arrest of large numbers of people for mostly petty crimes. Violent crime did fall, but it kept falling as the police moved in the direction of an approach of building community relationships and focus more on serious crimes. Arrests are down about 7 percent this year.
Chief of the Patrol of Terence Monahan said there were other tactical changes. The department dumped specialised units within the area and most of the officers in general command. The more ordered cars, so officials with the foot messages far from stations were not spending half of their tours to walk to their jobs. Officers are assigned to smaller areas. And the created close co-ordination officers, who spend time tackling issues like cars blocking driveways.
“We’re not going to arrest our way out of the problems here,” said Sgt. Timothy Cecchini on a recent patrol by the 75th Precinct. “But now, we get the space to think about how our jobs and really tackle the problems of people and talk with them.”
In the course of a recent afternoon, he shook hands with a bouncer in a bar under an elevated subway line and checked on a nervous ex-con who needed help with his sick dog, but was suspicious of the police.
Some people in a public housing swung to Cecchini as he drove by. The others gave him the finger.
Brooklyn native Barry Riggins, 49, said he has not seen a softer side of the division yet. He said that he has been arrested five or six times— but only once, when he deserved it.
“I can honestly say: I am your normal black man,” he said. “I’m more afraid of the police than people in my area.”
The gains in New York have not yet been replicated in some other big cities.
Baltimore is on track to be the deadliest year on record with more than 275 murders. Chicago cracked 600 last month for the second time.
Researchers who study crime patterns give the NYPD some credit but also attribute his success to other factors, such as a flood of the wealthier people in the city and a high employment rate.
“Policing plays a role, there is no doubt about that. But without the huge demand and the capital for expansion, I think it would be a different story,” said Richard Rosenfeld, a criminal justice professor at the University of St. Louis (Missouri).
Associated Press writer David James Jeans contributed to this report.