New York City, NY

Scary NYC Crime Statistics from the 80s vs Crime Rates Today

New York Culture

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Is New York City a dangerous place to live in? If you asked an average Joe back in the 70s or the 80s, the answer would have been "yes" and "h*ll yes." Unfortunately, the city suffered high crime rates in the past and was even dubbed a "Fear City" back then. The beloved NYC subway, which is used by most of us, starting from minimum-wage employees and ending with hot-shot Wall Street investment bankers, was a scary place - people went as far as suggesting to avoid it 40 years ago.

Now, the picture is vastly different. Looking at the crime rates from 1960 to 2019, you can see a swift change in most categories. The population numbers stayed similar: starting from 18 million in the 60s and most of the 70s; down to 17 million in the 80s; back up to 18 million in the next decade; and finally, exceeding 18 and even 19 million starting in 2000s. But if we compare 1989 and 2019, the crime rates have decreased significantly:

- Violent crimes went from 203,042 to 69,764.

- Property crimes were 926,596 in 1989 and only 267,155 in 2019.

- Murder decreased from 2,246 to 558.

- Robbery went down from 103,983 to 18,068.

- Aggravated assaults: the city saw 91,571 in 1989, but only 44,555 in 2019.

- Burglary peaked at
211,130 in 1989, but 2019 saw only 27,600 such cases.

- Larceny was recorded
544,459 times in 1989 and only 226,851 cases were recorded in 2019.

- Vehicle theft decreased from 171,007 to 12,704.

Sadly, rape cases jumped from 5,242 in 1989 to 6,583 in 2019. I wish that weren't the case, and it would be great to see those numbers drop (and ideally even eradicate, but that's wishful thinking). The New York police are also concerned about the 30% spike in the murder statistics in 2020. We'll have to see whether 2021 was any better when the year ends.

But overall, there was a tremendous improvement in the crime rates over the last 50 years, and while NYC isn't crime-free, its citizens are certainly living in a much safer place.

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