Tag Archives: 2009

NYC homicides on pace to set record-low number

Crime continues to fall in New York City, the mayor and the commissioner of the NYPD said this month, and they boasted about how New York is still the safest big city in the country, according to new data from the FBI’s Crime in the United States, the Uniform Crime Report from 2008.

Criminologists often say that the murder rate is the best indicator when forecasting overall crime. If this is the case, then New York City is doing quite well this year (that is, if you can ever say that when you’re talking about murders). The city is on pace in to hit a record-low number of homicides in 2009—while the number stood at 325 as of Sept. 18, the NYPD projects it will rise to 457 by year’s end. While still a lot, the number is the lowest in nearly 50 years since the police department began keeping the data in 1962. The previous low was 497 in 2007.

The high was in 1990, at the height of the crack cocaine epidemic, when there were 2,245 homicides. That year was also in the midst of a hard-hitting economic downturn in the city, and unemployment was on the rise. Perhaps that’s why some criminologists are thankful about this year’s numbers, but still nervous about what is to come. The city is again in a recession in 2009 and unemployment jumped to 10.3 percent last month, hitting double digits for the first time in 16 years. The unemployment rate is not expected to hit its peak for at least another year.

One also begins to wonder about crime statistics kept by the city—especially in a year when the mayor is up for re-election.

While we should all be happy about crime being lower, it is interesting to note that the NYPD’s rate of the number of homicides solved in a year, compared to number of murders in that year, stands at about 70 percent, which is the same as it was about 15 years ago. So can the mayor and the NYPD really take so much credit? (Not to make light of this all, but I’m assuming that topping the list of unsolved homicides is the very first murder recorded in New York City from 400 years ago.)

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Filed under Criminal Justice, NYC

Into the New Year

It is 2009. Frightening how fast time moves sometimes. And it only seems to go faster. I have this theory on why time seems to move faster and faster the older we get. Let’s call it the “Fraction of Age” theory, just for fun. The theory is, as follows: When you are seven years old, you experience one year as 1/7 of the time you are alive. But when you 14 years old, you experience one year as 1/14 of the time you are alive. And as such, when you are 26, one year is about 1/26 of the time you are alive. So each year that goes by, you think, “Wow this year went by so quickly — seems faster than last year.” And, according to my theory, it has, at least in terms of your life experience as measured in years. One-seventh is a much larger (in terms of time, “longer”) fraction than 1/14, which is larger (longer) than 1/16 and so on. Think about it. Time accelerates. Speaking of time, have you seen The Curious Case of Benjamin Button? Just was nominated for 13 Academy Awards. I wonder if my theory would apply to Mr. Button… but have the opposite effect? He is born as an old man, and ages backward, getting younger over his lifetime. So, for him, does each consecutive year seem longer than the last year. Of course, one could argue that if we’re talking about life experience — years spent alive — he would be no different than any of us, he just physically ages younger. And then I remind myself it’s just a movie. But a good one. I recommend it (if you don’t mind slow movies — it clocks in at about two hours and 45 minutes).

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Filed under Time