Friday, November 23, 2007

City Homicides Still Dropping, to Under 500

“What are you going to do, send cops to every house?” said Peter K. Manning, the
Brooks professor of criminal justice at Northeastern University in Boston. “We know that historically, homicide is the least suppressible crime by police action,” he added. “It is, generally speaking, a private crime, resulting from people who know one another and have relationships that end up in death struggles at home or in semipublic places.”

New York City is on track to have fewer than 500 homicides this year, by far the
lowest number in a 12-month period since reliable Police Department statistics
became available in 1963.

But within the city’s official crime statistics is a figure that may be even more striking: so far, with roughly half the killings analyzed, only 35 were found to be committed by strangers, a microscopic statistic in a city of more than 8.2 million.


If that trend holds up, fewer than 100 homicide victims in New York City this year
will have been strangers to their assailants. The vast majority died in disputes
with friends or acquaintances
, with rival drug gang members or — to a far lesser
degree — with romantic partners, spouses, parents and others.

The low number of killings by strangers belies the common imagery that New Yorkers are vulnerable to arbitrary attacks on the streets, or die in robberies that turn fatal.

In the eyes of some criminologists, the police will be hard pressed to drive the killing rate much lower, since most killings occur now within the four walls of an apartment or the confines of close relationships.

For the rest of this astute New York Times article, go here.

NVDL: This is exactly South Africa's problem. What makes it so hard to solve is that a terrifically high fraction of crimes are perpetrated by South Africans that know each other; thus, in homes. The majority of violence against the vulnerable (women and children) is also perpetrated in homes.

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