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May 17, 2006

Murder in NYC

Michael Blowhard writes:

Dear Blowhards --

A remarkable article by Jo Craven McGinty in the NYTimes takes a look at murders, victims, and murderers in New York City. McGinty asks: Who are the people behind the stats? The story is behind a wall at the Times -- so why not read it here instead?

(By the way, have you ever noticed how many writers at the Times use three names? I was once told by someone who works there that it's a way ambitious Times people have of trying to one-up each other. To a Times person, I guess, using three names doesn't look laughably pretentious. It looks important.)

Some of the facts that caught my eye:

  • From 2003-2005, 1662 murders were committed in New York City. That's considered a small number, by the way.
  • A third of these murders are unsolved.
  • Of the murders that have been solved, 93% were committed by males.
  • Male killers used a gun 2/3 of the time. Female killers were as likely to use a knife as a gun.
  • Very seldom does anyone over the age of 40 murder anyone else.
  • In more than 3/4 of the cases, murderer and victim were of the same race.
  • More than 90% of the killers had criminal records.
  • More than half of the victims had criminal records.
  • When a woman kills a romantic partner, she's likely to kill a current spouse or lover. When a man kills a romantic partner, he's more likely to do so after or when the relationship ends.
  • Five murderers killed a boss.
  • Ten killed a co-worker.
  • NYC's most dangerous borough: Brooklyn.
  • The most dangerous day of the week in NYC: Saturday.
  • NYC's most dangerous time of day: 1 a.m.

What all this boils down to is: If you stick to neighborhoods that aren't crime-ridden and if you keep your nose out of dicey activities, you're very, very unlikely to be murdered. As one official says, "If you are living apart from a life of crime, your risk is negligible." "People will be shocked to see how safe it is to live in New York City," says a criminologist. Stay inside at 1 a.m. on Saturday night, and you're golden.

I found it bewildering, if very New York Timesy, that the text of the article didn't break down the murderers and victims by race. After all, on a normal day the Times is nothing if not race-obsessed. The article did include one telling, if very brief, passage though: "Whites and Asians, who seldom murdered..." An accompanying graphic (not visible online) fills in the blanks: 61% of murderers were black; 28% were Hispanic; 7% were white; and 4% were Asian. Population-wise, NYC is 25% black, 28% Hispanic, 35% white, and 11% Asian.

Steve Sailer enjoys a laugh about how regularly the murderer on the TV franchise "Law and Order" turns out to be white.

Now, back to battling commentspam ...



posted by Michael at May 17, 2006


I was suprised to find out that Brooklyn was the most dangerous. I would have thought it was the Bronx. Unless they are just using totals, and not Murder-Rate.

Of course Brooklyn would be leading then, since it has the largest population.

Posted by: Ian Lewis on May 17, 2006 02:31 PM

The highly unrealistic racial and socioeconomic distribution of the criminals on the Law & Order shows, and other crime shows too, is *not* the result of political correctness, at least not for the most part. It's strictly a matter of money. The viewers of crime shows like the L&O franchise are overwhelmingly white (and predominately female), and they don't particularly like to see an endless parade of nonwhite lumpenproletariat criminals even though that would be far more realistic. Whether it's because the viewers want to see criminals with whom they can identify, or they just find it depressing to see too many minority criminals, I'm not sure. But according to Steve Sailer, crime shows with minority defendants - apparently this was more common during L&O's early seasons - don't get nearly the same ratings as the ones with upscale or middle-class white defendants.

As for the NYC murder statistics, one thing I noticed when I read the Times article a while back was that the incidence of so-called "stranger murders" has increased in recent years. These generally are simple disputes on the street or in public places, usually among members of the underclass, that escalate until someone's taking a dirt nap. I'm not so sure whether stranger murders are increasing in absolute numbers or as a percentage of total murders. Whatever the case, the wider availability of firearms undoubtedly is a major factor. And one consequence of the rise in stranger murders is a decrease in the percentage of murders solved by arrest. It's much more difficult for the police to solve stranger murders than it is to solve murders among family members or acquaintances.

Posted by: Peter on May 17, 2006 03:36 PM

When evaluating such numbers, you must consider the fact that police departments in big cities are put under tremendous pressure to show decreasing crime rates. The decreases in recent years are not simply the police doing a better job. Some of the crime is "disappeared". To find out more about this phenomenon, check out Nicholas Stix's excellent article(s) on such at

Also, yes, minorities commit most of the murders in our country. Such numbers will increase dramatically as the numbers of non-whites and asians grows here. See the ridiculous immigration debate now taking place in our Senate. Numbers such as 60-100 MILLION more LEGAL immigrants in the next 20 years (not counting all the illegals who will come).

Fasten your seat belts!

Posted by: LL on May 17, 2006 04:03 PM

There are all kinds of things that are pretty funny about "Law and Order" (which I love, by the way!). For instance, have you noticed how often the police end up arresting the wrong guy , even indicting him, denying him bail...and then the prosecutor's begin to figure out who the right guy is? The NYPD would never really survive the number of wrongful prosecution lawsuits if it really worked that way. The D.A.'s office winds up being the better detectives. Plus, it seems as if Ass't DA Jack McCoy has now stretched the limits of every law on the books---prosecuting parents for crimes commited by their children, prosecuting gun manufacturers for crimes commited with their weapons, prosecuting doctors for crackpot rememdies that wind up with someone dead...he's the conservative's nightmare of activists courts! He'd have been run out of town on a rail in real-life NYC. But I eat it all up.

Additionally, I don't think the crime most people fear the most (who aren't living a Life of Crime, I mean) is "murder." It's more mugging and rape in a deserted parking garage, or something. That's what people probably think of as "big city" crime, and I don't know that that only happens between people who know each other at 1 am on Saturday.

Posted by: annette on May 18, 2006 10:45 AM

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