New York City fact of the day

New York City passed a day without a single report of a person being shot, stabbed or subject to other sorts of violent crime for the first time in recent memory, police said today.

The rare day occurred on Monday, near the end of a year when the city’s murder rate is on target to hit its lowest point since 1960, according to New York Police Department chief spokesman Paul Browne.

Mr Browne said it was “first time in memory” the city’s police force had experienced such a peaceful day.

While crime is up 3 per cent overall, including a 9 per cent surge in grand larceny police attribute to a rash of smart phone thefts, murder is down 23 percent over last year, the NYPD said.

The story is here.


Finally a good news. Hopefully you have more days like this.

I'm glad and much. In my city which is news would be quite the opposite. I live in the quietest place in the world, Jaén (Spain).

Next mission: get the Tranvía to operate.

That when the Junta arrange all its deficiencies and after testing your implementation underway will not ruin the citizens of Jaén.

It's great news that our greatest city is civilized once again. The story of how America's most sophisticated elites let it slip into barbarism in the 1960s and 1970s is a shameful one that is too seldom retold.

Stop-and-frisk turns black Brooklynites into Palestinians.

Poor, inner-city minority communities are disproportionately harmed by high crime rates. Thus, they also stand to benefit greatly from programs that reduce crime.

Too often these debates are taken over by people who do not want to solve problems but simply want to cry racism no matter what the situation. If a black neighborhood is poor, that's because of racism. If a neighborhood gets wealthier, that's gentrification, which is also racist. If there is high crime, that's caused by racism. But any attempt to increase enforcement is also attacked as racist.

I understand the history of discrimination in America, and I don't want to belittle that, but at some point we are going to have to actually start having a real debate that can lead to problems being solved and people's lives getting better.

Here is the thing. MILLIONS of people smoke pot. The only way to DESTROY your life with pot is to be put in prison. Then a potential earner is a near-permanent burden simply because they were peacefully self-medicating against a toxic environment.

Things like stop-and-frisk are an admission that cops are worthless for stopping actual violence.

Are you objecting to pot being illegal or to stop-n-frisks in general? That's two different things.

What if they found an illegal gun during and locked him away for that?

"Things like stop-and-frisk are an admission that cops are worthless for stopping actual violence."

Huh? This whole debate was occasioned by the drop in violent crime in NYC. Thus, a far simpler interpretation would be that cops ARE stopping actual violence through policies like stop-and-frisk. Feel free to argue against that if you want.

Or feel free to keep blowing smoke about marijuana, which has little to do with the current discussion of violent crime.

I was, but I can be more on the nose for you:
“It’s encouraging to see street stops decline for the second quarter in a row,” said Donna Lieberman, executive director of the NYCLU. “The drop in stop-and-frisks coupled with the drop in gun violence contradicts the NYPD’s narrative that stopping and frisking every person of color in sight is necessary to reduce crime in New York City.

As long as there is any positive correlation between X and crime, going after X and putting them in jail will reduce your crime stats.

However, since violence happens in prison, not even counting the violence you've done (accosting, arresting and imprisoning non-violent people) you haven't even reduced net violence.

It's very similar to the TSA argument that if you've killed more people by pushing them to drive than could have possibly died in terrorist plots then your stop-and-frisk in the airports has perpetrated far more violence than it has stopped (which would be zero anyway).

Wow, I had no idea that NYPD's narrative to justify their program is "stopping and frisking every person of color in sight is necessary to reduce crime in New York City"! I had never heard about the fact that they are publicly making a blatantly racist argument (to a majority non-white population, one might add). One would think that the media would be all over that story.

Silliness aside, a single year-on-year reduction in the stop-and-frisk rate doesn't show much of anything. Suppose a police install a speed camera at a particular location. In the first year of operation, 2000 speeding tickets were issued. In the second year, only 1000 tickets were issued, and yet the average speed of motorists also went down. Does the concomitant decline in tickets issued and motorist speed prove that the speed camera was ineffective?

Longer term trends, particularly comparing periods before and after the policy, are much more important to this argument.

Disregard the nutty ACLU. Just consider the data.

"Too often these debates are taken over by people who do not want to solve problems but simply want to cry racism no matter what the situation. "

This is the textbook definition of the term "weasel word." Who are these people? How often is "too often?"

Any time that cries of racism replace serious debate, that is too often. And my point was not really about implicating some imagined group of people, but a particular kind of argument. Sorry if I expressed it in a weaselly way.

A couple of commenters responded to this story by saying that "black Brooklynites" are turned into "Palestinians" and that New York City has practiced "ethnic cleansing". To me, these over-the-top claims do nothing but distract from the real issues at hand. It is not hard to find similar sentiments expressed in mainstream sources and by people who are in positions of power.

> "What am I getting arrested for?"
> "For being a fucking mutt"

I don't know why idiots think this is racism! Seems like they just don't know the proper way that a professional police force ought to address fucking mutts.

If stop and frisk is such a wonderful boon for poor inner-city minority communities, then they just might support it themselves. But only ~25% of Blacks approve of the policy in NYC. I guess the ~70% opposed are just benighted though, and need other people to decide and do what's best for them.

The interesting question is why so many ICMCs are so opposed to Stop-in-Frisk. Given that they are such disproportionate beneficiaries. It seems a simple choice to me - you can be stopped by policemen or by muggers. You can be frisked or you can be raped and/or murdered.

The first explanation might be that s'n'f is inherently demeaning. I can see that. Or that anything Whites want is inherently bad and to be opposed. That would be foolish but not unexpected. If not either, what? It is not as if being stopped and searched is a crime calling out to heaven.

How much of this achievement in crime reduction is NYC-specific and how much merely reflecting the largely downward trend in violent crime in USA as a whole? The national homicide rate in 2009 is down to about the same levels as in 1960.

It's an interesting criminology study though; how a nation could achieve this.

It's more of an interesting criminology study to figure out how the criminologists were utterly wrong about everything. Does anyone listen to them anymore? Note, maybe this is an object lesson for economists, how to engineer your own irrelevance.

Maybe the crime rate is reverting to the norm.

Uh, demographics? Most crime (and almost all violent crime) is committed by young people, and as the baby boomers aged crime has dropped right along. Not that complicated.

Also the Freakonomics guys pointed out places with higher than average numbers of abortions performed have lower than average violent crime rates 15-25 years later. Imagine that.

Well there are problems with this. For one thing, White people don't commit many murders. Especially in New York:

95.1% of all murder victims and 95.9% of all shooting victims in New York City are black or Hispanic. And 90.2 percent of those arrested for murder and 96.7 percent of those arrested for shooting someone are black or Hispanic.

So as White Baby Boomers age, the murder rate should be more or less unaffected. Is the African-American and Hispanic community aging? I am inclined to think not, but I don't know. At least not to the same degree for A-As and the Hispanic community is disproportionately young because old people don't usually immigrate.

But there has been a demographic shift. So many young Black men are in prison. Which means they are not mugging people in New York.

This happened in every city across America.

Your fairy tales are always fascinating.

What will Law & Order dooooooooo?

Make up shit. What do you mean?

How much of the improvement in NYC is attributable to ethnic cleansing?

How about zero, since that's the amount of "ethnic cleansing" there has been in New York?

Black + Hispanics make up 50% with another 11% of Asians.

Which ethnicity exactly was cleansed away?

It's the 1200 handguns per year taken by the TSA which prevented not only 1200 hijackings per year, but probably a thousand or so guns going into NYC.

It's totally worth getting your balls zapped by radiation each and every time you want to fly.

Less fear of getting slapped with a surprise child-support order?

Just because my balls make jokes in the security line to ease the tension doesn't mean they are terrorists.

My balls have legitimate policy concerns and might do a little paint-balling in the woods but woud never resort to violence against civilians.

A lot in Manhattan. At night, Lower Manhattan now looks like one vast set for a Kate Hudson rom-com movie.

What did it look like before?

kate hudson in a tyler perry movie. she was the lead romantic interest.

Lots of Native Americans.

And before that...saber-toothed cats.

We replaced one kind of Indian with another?

"What did it look like before?"

Taxi Driver

Sweet. I got online from across the pond, Google detected a US IP combined with a browser UI in Spanish and instantly displayed a flashy banner saying, "Your arrest record is online!"

What would a constant-dollar grand larceny look like today? My guess is the 'grand' threshold was on the order of a reasonable used car at the time it was enacted ($1000 or $2000 or so?). That would be at least $5000 today. A stolen, or mislaid, smartphone is hardly a grand larceny.

New York:
"Grand larceny consists of stealing property with a value exceeding $1000; or stealing a public record, secret scientific material, firearm, credit or debit card, ammonia, telephone with service, or motor vehicle or religious item with value exceeding $100; or stealing from the person of another or by extortion or from an ATM. The degree of grand larceny is increased if the theft was from an ATM, through extortion involving fear, or involved a value exceeding the thresholds of $3,000, $50,000, or $1,000,000."

What a weird list of items in the definition grand larceny. Secret scientific material? Like an unpublished draft of an economics paper, or does the law consider economics not to be a science? And why the special treatment for ammonia?

Ammonia is used for refrigeration, and a plant would have a bunch of 100lb bottles in stock. They aren't expensive, but someone stealing them and either purposely or inadvertently venting it in a building would create quite the scene. There is probably some story behind it, probably someone stole a bottle, took it somewhere in a building, then cracked the valve to see what was in it. A puff will send you running blind, so the bottle would vent clearing the building and maybe the block. Not a large dollar sum stolen, but the likelihood of an expensive emergency response.


You need to steal $1,000 of (most) secular property for it to count as grand larceny but only $100 of religious material?

Call the ACLU.

Smartphones over $1000? I don't think so. Maybe they are talking wholesale cases of them.

"...or stealing a public record, secret scientific material, firearm, credit or debit card, ammonia, telephone with service, or motor vehicle or religious item with value exceeding $100"

I think that would mean a telephone with service only has to have a value exceeding $100, which would arguably include some stupid phones too.

Boy, Apple products are really getting pricey!

Likely self reported. Read a police blotter sometime you'd be amazed at the folks that carry thousands in cash in their purses and vehicles along with multitudes of expensive electronics and designer clothes. Ya sure...

Hey, that insurance claim isn't going to defraud itself, you know.

The drug war locks up a lot of young people who would never harm anyone, but also a fair percentage of people who would otherwise go on to become violent criminals. I believe it's also put more boots on the ground, which I think everyone acknowledges leads to less crime.

Is it possible that the proliferation of "cool cops" TV shows has reduced crime with a ~10 year or so lag?

What about all of the young people who would not have been criminals had they not been thrown into the system for non-violent drug offenses?

I knew a lot of people in college who were drug dealers, pot, coke, pills. These people are now doctors, lawyers, MBAs. I'm guessing their trajectory would have been much different had they been slinging from a street corner rather than a dorm room.

Sorry but virtually no one gets thrown in prison for non-violent drug offenses. Or at least one such offense. It is actually very hard to get thrown in prison at all. We turn to Wikipedia:

41% percent of convicted and unconvicted jail inmates in 2002 had a current or prior violent offense; 46% were nonviolent recidivists. [23]
From 2000 to 2008, the state prison population increased by 159,200 prisoners, and violent offenders accounted for 60% of this increase. The number of drug offenders in state prisons declined by 12,400 over this period.

So two out of five have a history of violent crime (or are accused of same). Nearly half are non-violent recidivists. The rise in prison numbers is mainly due to more violent criminals being locked up. No one in prison is there for a one-off non-violent drug offense. You have to work hard to be behind bars in the US.

You may know a lot of people who dealt drugs in college. Great. Now they are doctors, lawyers and so on - positions where their sociopathy allows them to do greater harm at a lesser risk of arrest than if you had turned them in when they showed how sociopathic they were in college. Hardly an improvement for society as a whole.

Drugs should be illegal because some small percentage of people who use drugs become violent criminals?

No, I'm suggesting that the stricter enforcement of drug laws might have contributed to reducing the rate of violent crime, with a lag.

I would suggest that drug laws themselves may have exacerbated organized, violent criminal activity.

Interestingly, the criminologists still don't know why crime has fallen so steadily since 1990 in NYC. There is certainly no smoking gun, pun intended.

NYC crime continues to drop, in the meanwhile crime has plateaued in the rest of the country.

A good book on the subject is "The City that Became Safe". Executive summary: we don't know.

Then I guess we can expect Bloomberg to stop sticking his nose in other states' business, then...

More of a bottoming out than a plateauing.

Statistical noise, significant news.

"The number of guns taken off the street by the NYPD has dropped during the Bloomberg era despite a 600 percent increase in stop-and-frisks"

Maybe the folks are leaving the gun and taking the canole, and yet...

"An analysis of NYPD data found that, while cops stopped and frisked a record number of people last year, 1,821 people were victims of gunfire. That level of gunplay was virtually the same as the 1,892 shootings during Bloomberg and Kelly’s first year in office, albeit with five times fewer stops."

Re: No reported homicides.

This just means they haven't discovered the bodies yet.

Perzacktly. Wonder what NYC's statistics are for dismemberment ff. homicide, makes concealment a little easier as long as care is taken to reduce unsightly spattering. Reports of dismemberment ff. homicide seem to've picked up a bit in recent years, at least a slight rash in reported instances in the US, Canada, and elsewhere earlier in the year. How about a new advent of cannibalism underway? several cases made headlines earlier in the year, too. A new take on Roald Dahl's "Lamb to the Slaughter": don't just eat the murder weapon, eat the victim, too! (I never saw "Little Shop of Horrors" or "Eating Raoul", but I am enjoying De Quincey's essays on murder, courtesy of OUP). Are restaurant regulators in NYC staying on their toes?

The Economist's take:
"We ought to follow Bill and Ted's advice to be excellent to one another, even while recognising that when excellence happens, we won't necessarily know exactly why."

In terms of almost social measurements outside of single motherhood, the rates have been declining all across the nation and most cities for the past 20 - 30 years. Name it, teen pregancy, drug use, violent crime, and abortion rates. (The US murder has fallen to near historicals lows of1950s and early 1960s) Nobody seems to quite believe it anywhere and accept it is a truth. This is seriously an underrated improvement the last several decades yet nobody has quite named a convincing argument why this is exactly happening. (My guess is aging demographics if first and foremost but lots of other reasons.)

Question what would David Brooks and conservatives write about without single motherhood to blame poverty on? This is a fair blog post!

Does "teen pregnancy" mean a 13 year old crack ho? Or a 19 year old respectable married woman?

how much of this is another humdrum demographic story?

Almost all of it

Evidence of a great stagnation in criminality?

I can already hear Ray Liotta (as Henry Hill),quoting, "Nowdays, it just does not pay to be Goodfella. In 1978 we hijacked $6,000,000 at an airport and now with ******* credit cards the airports planes are only carrying $500,000 in cash. All the ****** pay phones are discontinued so Paulie has to pay twice as many people to make his phonecalls. And the Feds can warrants to get your Verizon bill to review every ******* that called at all hours of the days. Screw electronics as anybody with a credit card can by a TV for $200 on whatever Black Friday is. Then the rackets crashed because Wal Mart is so ******* big that Corporate America can tell Paulie ***** YOU! Broke governors are legalizing everything with Casinos opening up in every state and consumers get get free porn all hours of the day.

And now they are legalization marijuana. Where in the **** can a Goodfella earn a living!

There's always incandescent light bulbs and high flow toilets and shower heads.

Know any dealers? Have $. Will pay.

Time to check the vacants...

What about the theories about video games and ubiquitous free pornography diverting the attentions of young men age 16-30 (which is basically the group that commits all the crime)?

Has this ever been seriously studied?

I was going to study it. But, you know, Game of Thrones season 2 came out...

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