crime, or lack thereof
Just 286 people have been murdered in New York City in 2017, putting the Big Apple on track to have its lowest number of homicides since good recordkeeping began, The New York Times reports. The number represents an astonishing plunge from the 2,245 murders reported in 1990, with many officials at a loss to explain definitively why overall crime has declined steadily for 27 straight years. Law professor Franklin E. Zimring described the city's historically low crime rates as "utterly mysterious."
Other major felonies — including murder, rape, and grand larceny — are down to 94,806 this year, compared to the previous low of 101,716 in 2016. "We don't know when we've exhausted the possibilities of urban crime decline, and we won't know unless and until New York scrapes bottom," added Zimring.
Curiously, reports of rape have risen in the final months of 2017, although they are overall down by one from last year. In addition to the police ramping up efforts to respond to domestic violence, officials credited the #MeToo movement for encouraging victims to report crimes. "Through August, rape was down in New York City 7 percent compared with last year, but a small increase in September was followed by spikes in October and November," the Times writes, noting that it "first published accusations against [Harvey] Weinstein on Oct. 5."
"There is no denying that the arc is truly exceptional in the unbroken streak of declining crime," said the city's former police commissioner, William Bratton. Read more about why crime is so low at The New York Times.