factors that led to crime decline in New York City


New Yorkers for the past two decades have been the beneficiaries of the longest and largest sustained street crime drop ever experienced by a developing world big city. Several common crimes that often spark public fear like bugler, homicide and robbery in less than a generation recorded an 80 percent drop. The homicide rate by 2009 was lower than it had been in 1961.There was also a decrease on the risk of being robbed which compared to the 1990 level reduced by one sixth, while there was also a one sixteen percent decrease on the car theft level.

Although there was a failure by the experts to anticipate the decline, there has been no divergent hypothesis shortages that try to explain the crime drop rate. One explanation that is frequently used is the innovative policing principal. Increased imprisonment is also another explanation that is frequently attribute to drop in crme rate, market for cocaine, crack, tougher gun control laws, the aging of the population, Increase in number of police and strong economy are also other factors (Becker, Gary, 1968).

Particularities that led to a more prolonged and steeper decline in crime rate in New York City include facts like there being an increase in number of police. Since they are regarded as the first line of defense against crime, which makes it necessary for policing to use an approximately 60 billion dollars annually. Studies on the connection between crime and police in the 1970 and 1980’s revealed a negative or insignificant correlation, due to the fact that these studies typically failed to address or account for the main endogeneity issue. The response of the political class to rise in crime was to hire more police, so in this manner there is a direct correlation between the number of police and rates in crime

The rise in the prison population was also another aspects related to crime rate decrease which applies since the 1990’s is mainly reviewed as a period of enormous growth mainly in the number of prison population as exhibited by the expansion of the population behind bars in the mid-1970s which was a contrast to the initial stable imprisonment rates that had been experienced for decades. An approximately two million individuals by 2000 were incarcerated at one point in time; this figure approximately was four times the number imprisoned in 1972.Half of this prison population growth occurred in the 1990s.A number of divergent factors can however be attribute to this increase like rise in sharp incarceration for offenses that were drug related, Increased longer sentences and parole revocations for those convicted with these crimes (David, et. al 1988).

The crack epidemic reduction that begun in 1985 as there was an increase in the market for crack cocaine, the crack cocainesis that was produced by the heating of a powder mixture of baking soda and cocaine. The precipitate that resulted took the form of airy nuggets, when smoked even extremely small quantities of this compound produced a short lived but intense high. Crack cocaine emergency signified a relevant growth since it not only helped with the cocaine sales per dose at a retail price of 5 to 10 dollars and due to the extreme highly related to crack it became vital to the clients. The reduction of this market helped reduce the crime gangs within the city (David,A, 2002).

Legalizing abortion was also another factor that helped with the crime also reduction following the 1973 U.S Supreme Court Roe v. Wade which even though seems like an unlikely crime reduction source in the 1990s, but a body of evidence that is still growing suggests that legalized abortion plays an important role in explaining a two decade later fall of crime rate two premises can be used to explain this underlying theory mainly the there is a recorded reduction exhibited in the unwanted births number and the fact that the unwanted children are at a greater risk of getting involved in crimes(Van Dijk JJM:,2008).

The exhibited strong economy in the 1990s which saw an economic growth that was sustainable. Between 1991 and 2001 there was a recorded 30 percent growth on the GDP per capita this also facilitated a decrease in the yearly unemployment rate from 1991 recorded 6.8 to 2001 recorded 4.8.If other determinants like macroeconomics can be considered vital in the analysis of crime rates then it would be possible to explain the falling crime rates by using the economy. Other economic crime models like the Becker 1968 explanation that state that legitimate improvements in labor market opportunities discourage crime, The relevance of this prediction to crime include direct motivations on financial aspects such as robbery, burglary, and auto theft, but less relevance for assault, homicide and rape cases.

Change in demographics also helped in the reduction of crime this can be explained by reviewing the baby boomers aging which represents a significant change in the demographics. There is a relatively low rate for criminal victimization and offending among the elderly, people over the age of 65 in 2001 had per arrest capita level an approximately one- fiftieth percent as compared to 15-19 year olds. In 1997 by using NCVS data, Perkins reported that those over the age of 65 experienced higher victimization rates for seriously violent crime which were was one-tenth lesser than that of teenagers. This analysis is given that the elderly population level increased during the 1990s, and it shows that an expected demographic driven decline would possibly occur. Their strategies involved enforcement increase on activities they considered a nuisance like using technology and panhandling aggressively to effectively identify common crime hotspots, other implemented changes they implemented included reviewing policing strategies like the community policing where the police tried to align with the community as compared to their usual response to emergency calls (Aebi MF,2004).

The 1980s increase in the use of capital punishment in the United States saw a total number of 117 prisoners put to death that number significantly quadrupled from the 1990s to 478.This methods effectiveness as a deterrent has been a prolonged debate currently other early evidence have argued in favor of this effect. The Ehrlich findings reviewed by many critics have been found to be sensitive and only exhibiting minor changes in their application, other recent studies from the 1990s have incorporated data that have a tendency of having deterrent and divergent series of effects.

Lessons that Zimring identified from the United States crime drop have included facts like most people never realizing things like the city experience exhibited most of the dominant assumptions found in modern America these include presumptions like for the crime rate to decrease first there has to be strategies put in place to address unemployment, poverty, and drug use, majority of the population considering crime as wrong, and that there also has to be majority movement of the minorities out of the city centers, and in addition it entails a necessity for throwing many people in jails which is a misguided concept(Zimring FE: 2012).

He also learnt from the period that just like New York other urban areas can also make giant strides towards addressing their high crime rates without making any major changes in their ethnic and racial profile; they can achieve this without lowering their unemployment and poverty levels which they can achieve without either participating in mass incarceration or winning its war on drugs that occurred throughout the rest of the nation.

He also states that the cities would be much safer and better off, if it could effectively solve its social problems mainly issues like reducing inequalities in income, improve its schools, and improve the worst neighborhoods living conditions. In this aspect he notes that like New York experience most crimes are majorly as a consequence of factors that can be changed without requiring expensive social and structural changes. Communities are not ethnically hardwired and people are not intentionally doomed to commit crimes and socioeconomic or genetic characters are at risk.

In addition he explains that all Americans whether in suburbs or in cities, whether poor or rich, can be considered safe today, by casting an unerring and critical eye on current explanations, he states that recent and long-lasting generated theories fall short of the 1990s crime rate drop. Zimring also learned that economic and imprisonment as independent factors did not have any major roles in the reduction of crime rate as many theorists suggest.

He also learns that there are for future progress there has to be a constant review of the divergent factors that combine to facilitate the crime level decline and according to him the crime rate do not need any structural or social changes and effecting smaller shifts in the necessary policies can make a major difference to the crime rates. There is also a lesson to be learnt from the significant reductions in crime rates like in places like New York where there has been a recorded of crime drop twice this review according to the national average shows that there is still significant room for other cities to replicate this result of successful crime decline.


Becker, Gary (1968) Crime and Punishment: An Economic Approach. Journal of Political Economy, print

David, Henry, Zdenek Dytrych, Zdenek Mate-jcek and Vratislav Schuller.(1988).Born Unwanted: Developmental Effects of Denied Abortion. New York: Springer

David,A, (2002) Review of the Econometric Evidence on the Effect of Capital Punishment, Journal of Socio-Economics Spring/Summer

Zimring FE: (2012)The City that Became Safe: New York’s Lessons for Urban Crime and its Control. London: Oxford University Press; PubMed Abstract | Publisher Full Text

Aebi MF, Lande A: (2008) Crime trends in Western Europe according to official statistics from 1990 to 2007. In The International Crime Drop: New Directions in Research. Edited by van Dijk JJM, Tseloni A, Farrell G. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan

Van Dijk JJM: (2008)The World of Crime. London: Sage.