New York City is on pace to set a record in 2012 — its lowest murder rate in nearly 50 years.
Data from the New York Police Department found that 414 people in New York City were victims of homicide in 2012, a drop of 18.5 percent from last year when 515 people were murdered. Barring any dramatic rise in murders in the final week of year, the city will find its lowest rate since the early 1960s, The Huffington Post noted.
If 414 homicide still seem to be a lot, consider that, at the peak of the city’s crime wave in 1990, 2,245 people were murdered in New York City.
The low murder rate in New York City led to a headline last week that more people actually died of suicide in the city than homicide in 2012, which Gothamist noted is incredible considering the city already has a lower suicide rate than the rest of the country.
Though New York City’s low murder rate is seen as a positive development for the city, it comes at the expense of a police crackdown that has drawn criticism from many. The city has adopted a tough stop-and-frisk policy, questioning people at random and searching their possessions. Many critics have called this unconstitutional, adding that the policy focuses heavily on minorities.
There were fewer stop-and-frisks this year, as the NYPD reported that the number dropped by about 30 percent.
And overall crime hasn’t followed the murder rate’s decline in New York City either. The Wall Street Journal reports that each of the city’s five boroughs saw crime rise in 2012, the first time it has gone up in each of the five in 20 years.