This past Monday, New York City experienced an odd but pleasant set of statistics according to police reports. There were no stabbings, slashings or shootings in the city on that day, something Deputy Commissioner Paul Browne and other officials were at a loss to recall ever happening before.
The Commissioner described it as a nice way to start the week though no one was able to explain why the day ended with three zeroes in the statistics columns. A day like this really symbolizes the phrase “no news is good news.”
The city is on course to end the year with just over 400 murders total. While that may seem like a lot, it’s the lowest total since 1960, according to Tom Reppetto, a NYPD historian and author of “American Police, 1945-2012.”
He says in 1990, the city reported 2,245 murders. People were afraid to step outside. Babies slept in bathtubs to avoid getting hit by stray bullets. Some preschools even staged drills on what to do if shots were heard. The progress that has been made is phenomenal and due in large part to the programs the police have implemented according to Reppetto.
Crime in the city is up 3 percent overall which is mostly due to an increase in grand larceny. Police attribute that number to the increase in thefts of smart phones, tablets and other devices. Amazingly, murders are down 23 percent from 472 last year to 366 now. Even the number of shootings has dropped from 1,674 last year to just 1,514 this year. That averages about 5 each day. Compare that to 1994 when the police instituted Compstat to track crime statistics. Then 4,967 people were shot or about 14 each day.
A policy of ‘stop and frisk’ has caused criminals to think differently. Carrying a gun carries stiffer penalties than carrying a knife does.
Though no shootings were logged on Monday, one 16-year-old walked into Bronx Lebanon Hospital that evening with a gunshot wound. Police determined it was accidentally self-inflicted.
The streak of non-violence finally came to an end Tuesday morning at 11:20 when a man was shot in Brooklyn. It was the first shooting since Sunday at 10:25 p.m. when a man was shot in the head in Bedford-Stuyvesant. The city looks forward to more and longer streaks of zero statistics.