Expensive, Gentrified, and the Safest Big City in the US


It will precipitate endless argument on just what caused such a massive, consistent decline (broken windows policing, the end of the crack wars, etc), but New York looks set to again break its own record for lowest number of homicides since the city started (accurately) recording them back in 1963. Imagine, all this improvement despite those hideously violent video games set in "Liberty City," despite our supposedly coarsened culture.

The New York Times has details:

The story line of murder in New York is one that has been undergoing constant revision since 1963, when the Police Department began tracking homicides in a way that officials now deem reliable. (Before then, homicides were not counted until they were solved.) There have been rises — the number peaked at 2,245 in 1990 — and subsequent falls. But there have never been as few homicides as this year.

The city is on track, for the second time in three years, to have the fewest homicides in a 12-month period since the current record keeping system began. As of Sunday, there had been 461; the record low was in 2007, when there were 496 for the entire year.

The toll has gone down despite predictions that it would rise in a bad economy — a notion rejected by the city's police commissioner, Raymond W. Kelly. But challenges persist: With the city facing a $4.1 billion budget deficit, the police force — which has been reduced by 6,000 officers since 2001 — may have to shrink further.

And as a result, Bushwick and Bed-Stuy are overflowing with hipsters on fixed-gear bikes, wearing ironic little mustaches, bitching and moaning about the horrid gentrification of Brooklyn, the so-called Disneyfication of Times Square, and how New York used to be so cool, so authentic when you could see Television at Max's Kansas City for fifty cents and get stabbed in the neck for wandering into Crown Heights dressed like Elvis Costello. Yeah, those were the days.

Reason science correspondent Ron Bailey on "broken windows" here.