There were a spate of high-profile, headlining-making shootings this fall. While certainly newsworthy, they overshadowed numerous other violent and petty crimes that happen daily and go largely unnoticed, the kind that quietly tear at the social fabric of communities and leave behind widows and orphans.
The police department has done a decent job in a difficult economic year, a time, traditionally, when burglaries and the like rise as people struggle to make ends meet (more on this later). Still, more could be done. For a big city with a reputation for safety, New York should be a whole lot safer.
The recent shooting in Times Square illustrated that clearly.
Closer to home, the stabbing of the artist Susan Woolf in Long Island City raises concern. She was found unconscious in her apartment with multiple stab wounds, bound in packing tape. As of press time, police suspect her boyfriend of the murder.
In East New York, a notoriously dangerous neighborhood to be sure, the police recently killed a man in an all-out early morning shoot up at a club. Likewise, the police fatally shot a young man in Far Rockaway recently.
Neither shootings garnered serious attention - obscured, perhaps, by crime stats that tell a different story. Popular opinion holds that crime goes up in a bad economy. In New York, however – somehow - the opposite has been true.
In 2008, there were 523 murders in the city. This year to date, the city has recorded an 11.5 percent decrease in murders. Also, so far, an 8.1 percent drop in burglary and a whopping 17.5 percent drop in robbery. (Statistics are through the second week of December).
These trends are great, and the police should be commended, but even with those decreases, by the end of the year over 400 people will be murdered, and more than 1,100 people will be raped.
Community groups and elected officials should stand up and thank their local precincts, but also say those figures are still too high.
Collectively, we can and should do better.