crimes and misdemeanors

New Yorkers Are Murdering Less and Stealing More

At a Friday night graduation ceremony for new police officers, Michael Bloomberg announced that the number of murders in New York dropped to 414 in 2012 — the lowest homicide rate recorded since the city starting keeping track in 1963. To compare: 2011’s count was 515, and the previous record low was 2009’s 471. (And, as the New York Times notes, the city counted 475 suicides this year, which means that New Yorkers were more likely to kill themselves than they were each other in 2012.) Unsurprisingly, Bloomberg was eager to attribute the decline to his controversial stop-and-frisk policy. “Crime has continued to come down and the fact that when we stop and frisk today, you find fewer guns, that shows you that it’s working,” he said. (As some have pointed out in the past, that theory is debatable.) Either way, with just 3.8 murders per 100,000 residents, New York is officially the United States’ safest city.

Theft was a different story: 15,627 robberies, burglaries, and grand larcenies were recorded this year, which is 33 percent more than 2011’s rate of 11,737. The mayor blamed the increase on the thriving black market for Apple devices. “If you took out thefts of Apple products — not Galaxies, Samsungs — just Apple products, our total crime rate would be lower than it was last year,” he explained. (Later, police commissioner Ray Kelly pointed out that thefts of non-Apple stuff had actually declined.) In an effort to get those 2013 numbers down, the NYPD is encouraging New Yorkers to download the Find My iPhone app, register their Apple stuff, and is “prepared” to offer a serial number-engraving service at some station houses. Bloomberg also recommends putting your phone in the pocket of your “more body-fitting, tighter clothes that you can feel if somebody put their hand in your pocket, not just an outside coat pocket.” Alternately, you can go above and beyond your civic duty by buying a Droid.

New York’s Homicide Rate Hits Record Low