Somebody Got Murdered: Looks Like Crime Rate Will Drop Again This Year; Murders, Too

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With the year coming to a close, the citywide crime rate as of Dec. 13 looks like it will drop by about 10 percent, with overall drops in every major crime except assault which rose by 2 percent.

With 440 murders so far this year, there likely will be fewer than 500 homicides for the year. There were 497 homicides to date in 2008. For further context, there were 523 total in 2008, 649 in 2001, not counting 9/11, 1,181 in 1995 and 2,262 in 1990.

One caveat: the NYPD only publishes numbers for what are known as the
"seven major crimes": murder, rape, robbery, felony assault, burglary, grand larceny and auto theft. That limited slice of the crime picture presents the situation in a light most favorable to the department.

In addition, there have been allegations over the years that precinct commanders are under heavy pressure to keep their stats down, and that leads to some tampering with the numbers. A handful of precinct commanders have been disciplined for doing just that. The NYPD says it does constant checking, and the data is accurate, but there's never been an independent audit.


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