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The New York City Murder Rate in 2015

April 2, 2015 Leave a comment

I recently saw a media report that the murder rate in New York City is increasing. I decided to collect some data that might provide part of the basis for this claim. I found a report by the Police Department in the City of New York (NYC_Report). If you look at the first line of the table, the year-to-date increase in the murder rate for 2015 is just over 20 percent compared to 2014. That data clearly raises a red flag that would catch the attention of the media.

This isn’t much data upon which to base a conclusion about the causes of the apparent increase in the murder rate. In particular, there is no evidence presented here about changes in the Stop and Frisk policy of the Police Department (there are reports that the policy has been changed in some fashion). But there is little doubt that this is a developing story that bears watching. The emerging evidence will reveal some information about the value to society of the Stop and Frisk policy.

Mayor Bill de Blasio is known to be a critic of the Stop and Frisk policy that was in place when he was elected. Whatever changes he has implemented will not jeopardize his safety while he is in elected office but there will be an impact, perhaps catastrophically, on the lives of citizens of New York.

Stop-and-Frisk and the New York City Murder Rate

January 9, 2014 Leave a comment

New York City just elected a new mayor who has expressed skepticism about the Stop-and-Frisk policy of the New York City Police Department. There has been some press reporting of this situation and I thought it might be instructive to gather some data just to see what the data might reveal about the Stop-and Frisk policy.

One of the truly amazing innovations brought by the internet to economists with empirical interests is how easy it is to gather data. After a one minute Google search, I found the FBI web site (www.fbi.gov) providing data on U.S. crime rates. Their data collection program, Uniform Crime Reports, contains data on crime rates by city among other things and so I downloaded murder rate statistics for New York City.

One last piece of data was needed for our analysis and that is the date when Stop-and-Frisk was started. Another great innovation, Wikipedia, provides the answer. An article there states that the program started under Mayor David Dinkins during the 1990-1993 time period. With this last piece of data, we can now see what the data might reveal about the effectiveness of the Stop-and-Frisk program. Read more…

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