Here's a fascinating statistic, and one I find quite heartening as resident of New York City (I think I probably need to log a few more years before I can label myself a genuine New Yorker.)
New York City is on track to have fewer than 500 homicides
As an aside, I think this gives more credence to a suspicion I've had since the late '90s: that the current low murder rates in this country -- particularly in New York City -- probably make the whole concept of the TV police procedural
unrealistic. Can the two detectives at Law & Order
really have one murder case to solve once a week? And all three series? Or what about the old NYPD Blue
? The structure of the show was based on murders right and left for just the single precinct.
But back to the stats. So far they've analyzed about half the murders in the city. And of those only 35 were committed by strangers. That is in a city of over 8 million people. All the rest are by acquaintances of one sort or another -- intimates, business or gang rivals, parents and children, etc.
Death at the hands of people we know has always been an understated factor in the mental picture of crime. But this does suggest that in New York City at least the sort of anonymous death by violence that bulks largest in our fears of crime has fallen to almost microscopic proportions.