Editorial | Is New York City turning the corner on crime at last?

Photo by Lloyd Mitchell

For the first nine months of 2022, the NYPD reported that major felonies citywide had jumped by 10% or more. Such dramatic increases have led to citywide angst and fueled countless political ads from self-proclaimed “tough on crime” politicians who think they can do better than the incumbents.

But in October, the NYPD saw something that looked like progress — a 5.4% increase in crime. The monthly numbers were still up, but for the first time all year, the percentage increase did not exceed 10%. 

Moreover, this is the third-straight month in which the NYPD reported month-to-month declines in total felonies, from 11,619 crimes reported in July of this year down to 10,930 today. The monthly increases have also dropped since July, from 30.5% then, to 26% in August, to 15.2% in September, to 5.9% in October.

None of this is cause for celebration. But these are indications that the city is beginning to turn the corner on crime at last after more than two years of pandemic upheaval.

Murder rates continue to drop; homicides were down 32.6% in October 2022 compared to the same time a year ago. Shooting incidents also fell 33.6% this past month.

Year-to-date, the NYPD also reported a 14.7% drop in shootings and a 13.9% decrease in murders. Through Oct. 31, 359 homicides occured in the Five Boroughs in 2022; the city’s on pace to end the year with 431 homicides, which (if the trend holds) would represent a 11.7% decline from the 488 murders reported in 2021.

So much for the talk of New York City falling back into “the bad old days” of the early ‘90s, when more than 2,000 people were slain on the streets and all other crimes were rampant.

Credit goes to the NYPD for its continued persistence in beating back crime, and the Adams administration for providing the department support where needed — including organizing proactive, multi-agency operations targeting quality of life issues in high crime areas. 

Credit is also due the city’s violence interrupters and nonprofit community organizations that have worked hard on the ground to divert young people away from criminal elements — particularly through providing social programs that offer safe places for youths to congregate and have a good time.

But the work is far from over.

This all-hands-on-deck approach to fighting crime in New York City is working. Even in this difficult time, we remain the safest city in North America — and we will be even safer in the near future provided we continue this persistent, mutual effort toward fighting crime.