Confronting criminals slows murders in NYC
Derick Scott in front of "Save our Streets Crown Heights" in Brooklyn, a sign keeping track of how many days have gone by without a shooting.
January 7th, 2013
06:00 AM ET

Confronting criminals slows murders in NYC

By Steve Kastenbaum, CNN

Follow on Twitter: @SkastenbaumCNN

Editor's Note: Listen to the full story in our player above, and join the conversation in our comments section below.

(CNN) – New York ended 2012 with a historic low murder rate – 414 killings in all. It's the lowest the figure has been since police started keeping track in 1963.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg gives much of the credit to a combination of police tactics and some of the toughest gun laws in the country.

However, there is much more going on than stringent policing.

[3:02] "If you stake out a piece of territory like SOS has, basically a two square mile grid, we can suppress shootings here. We can lower the number of shootings here and the outreach team here has done that,” said Alan James, program manager at Save Our Streets Crown Heights, a community based project fighting gun violence in one Brooklyn neighborhood.

Over the past few years shootings in Crown Heights have dropped 40% thanks in part to the case workers at SOS Crown Heights.

[3:22] “They actually are making direct contact with the small number of people in the neighborhood who actually do the shootings. Only a small number of people have a huge impact with this kind of behavior,” said James.

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soundoff (68 Responses)
  1. Steven Jarris

    If there were no criminals we wouldn't have any need for criminal lawyers... whether they be in NYC or Flagstaff, AZ. Thanks for sharing this information. I appreciate it.

    January 11, 2013 at 10:57 am | Report abuse |
  2. Andy

    Translation: "Whites have returned to black neighborhoods and now the murder rate is a record low"

    January 8, 2013 at 12:24 pm | Report abuse |
    • Rob K

      The criminals moved to Chicago. I knew it.

      January 9, 2013 at 7:16 am | Report abuse |
  3. gager

    The reason according to the mayor was tough gun laws. This is nonsense. The mayor is a cartoon.

    January 8, 2013 at 4:44 am | Report abuse |
    • skastenbaumcnn

      Actually, as I stated at the very beginning of the story and as the mayor stated in his speech at the police department graduation, he said much of the credit is due to police officers and stringent enforcement of anti-gun violence tactics.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:02 am | Report abuse |
  4. U.S. Marine

    Why is Mayor Bloomberg lying to New Yorkers? Why is Mayor Bloomberg wasting billions of dollars?

    Why are New Yorkers OK with this?

    January 8, 2013 at 3:56 am | Report abuse |
  5. the_dude

    What a crock

    January 8, 2013 at 1:45 am | Report abuse |
  6. bribarian

    No surprise JewBerg was throwing in some politics to his irrelevant stats, which are no doubt made up.

    January 8, 2013 at 1:32 am | Report abuse |
    • Mtheumer

      And where are you stats...troll!

      January 8, 2013 at 1:54 am | Report abuse |
    • skastenbaumcnn

      Why do trolls always try to get a rise out of people by injecting racism and antisemitism? Predictable and boring at this point.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:05 am | Report abuse |
  7. Penny Wright

    Violent crime nationwide is at its lowest level in 50 years.

    January 8, 2013 at 1:16 am | Report abuse |
  8. Tony

    The crime rate has gone down here for the same reason idiots have been crowing about how much healthier New Yorkers are these days -in 1990 the average rent in Manhattan for a one bedroom apartment was $800 and in 2012 it was $3418. Poor people can't afford to live here any more and rich people can afford better food, heath care, gyms etc and are much, much better at robbing people and getting away with it. That's it. Period.

    January 8, 2013 at 1:08 am | Report abuse |
    • Mtheumer

      Because all of NY is Manhattan right?

      January 8, 2013 at 1:55 am | Report abuse |
    • theemptyone1

      That means all the nice people are still murdering 400+ a year. White collar crooks make the streets safer, but more people end up on the streets and the cycle returns.

      January 8, 2013 at 1:59 am | Report abuse |
    • Robyn

      The average income in NYC (all buroughs and adjusted for inflation)–has *not* risen significantly. The wealth inequality–usually a leading indicator of a high crime rate–has actually grown (as it has everywhere). So the lower homicide rate is actually quite curious, particularly when you consider that it's the lowest *number* ever recorded–and New York's population has never been higher.

      You can check out the data on average income in NY by using the graphs in the NY Times' "Average Salaries in New York City" post from about a year ago, and adjusting those number with an inflation calculator, FYI. Best quick method I found. But it's also a trueism that wages have been stagnant for everyone but the wealthy for almost 30 years.

      January 8, 2013 at 2:49 am | Report abuse |
  9. Roger

    Violent crime has been falling since the ban on leaded gasoline, nation, no, worldwide. Lead in young bodies and minds is not good.

    January 8, 2013 at 12:56 am | Report abuse |
  10. Miked

    Big soda cup size ban = lower sugar consumption in the population = lower death and crime rate in the city

    January 8, 2013 at 12:40 am | Report abuse |
    • Yankeehater

      Yes and Chicago has even more stringent gun laws and has a much higher crime rate. Mayor Moonberg should stick to the facts and leave opinions to those with a brain

      January 8, 2013 at 1:57 am | Report abuse |
      • skastenbaumcnn

        Which is what professor O'Donnell was trying to point out, that other cities with similar gun laws and police tactics haven't been able to replicate NYC's stats. He thinks local economics play a bigger roll in the lowering murder rate than anything else.

        January 8, 2013 at 10:08 am | Report abuse |
  11. John Wayne

    Psst, here is a hint. LEAVE THAT RAT HOLE INFESTED CITY. I did so I don't care about NYC crime because i was so fed up with weak politicians and lack of any care of keeping the city clean and graffiti clean. NYC is a lot cleaner than it used to be but if you ever watch the warriors and the filthy subway system that wasn't a prop that's exactly what the subway systems and surrounding blighted neighborhoods used to look like. Leave that rat race and go to the country, you will be glad you did.

    January 8, 2013 at 12:32 am | Report abuse |
    • JohnS

      So, the crime rate plummets after you move out – – were you that busy while you lived there? 🙂

      January 8, 2013 at 2:12 am | Report abuse |
    • Romana

      We're glad you did too.

      January 11, 2013 at 2:30 pm | Report abuse |
  12. I blame Obama

    damn it Obama is doing good things for this country and making us look like we are caring individuals instead of a rowdy buch of hillbillies with guns. how will we ever get our bad boy image back, even the GOP is giving up. I'm going to find a rock and crawl back under it again until the sun goes down.

    January 7, 2013 at 11:59 pm | Report abuse |
    • ben

      hellllllllo dummy. Murder rates are down all over the country with LESS gun control than we've had in ages. Since the 'assault weapon' ban, crime is DOWN. But hey, don't let facts get in the way of your political hackery.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:28 am | Report abuse |
      • Mtheumer

        And where is your "facts" on this?

        January 8, 2013 at 1:56 am | Report abuse |
    • theemptyone1

      Still hillbillies with guns after decades of black and hispanic gang gun crime? Man, talk about bigotry!

      January 8, 2013 at 2:01 am | Report abuse |
  13. Joe Mauro

    a lot has to do with the fact that in nyc many murders are listed as another crime or not reported at all,missing persons ,unsolved cases etc

    January 7, 2013 at 11:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • Jack

      And you get these facts from... where exactly besides your imagination?

      January 8, 2013 at 12:02 am | Report abuse |
  14. Bart

    The entire United States as a whole posted the lowest murder rate since 1963. Why single out NYC?

    January 7, 2013 at 11:11 pm | Report abuse |
    • skastenbaumcnn

      Because other larger cities like New York with similar conditions have not been able to replicate the type of drop NYC has experienced. Policy makers have been trying to figure out for years what New York is doing that other cities aren't. There are many theories. Economics seem to be a big factor. Washington DC has seen recent drops in murder and crime rates. Coincidentally, property values have gone up and so have average salaries in most neighborhoods in DC.

      January 8, 2013 at 10:11 am | Report abuse |
  15. Joe

    Its because all the ricans and haitians had to move back to thier open sewers. They would have to mug thirty people a day just to pay rent .

    January 7, 2013 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
  16. newengland2

    It is worst news to NRA!

    January 7, 2013 at 11:00 pm | Report abuse |
    • ben

      Why? It proves their point. More guns equals less crime. SInce the assault weapon ban expired crime is wayyyy down.

      January 8, 2013 at 12:29 am | Report abuse |
  17. Barton

    Crime actually started to go down when Chief Ward under Dinkins took the Police Union to court to force them to get out of their vehicles and walk beats like the olde days and also to live in the city instead of always being strangers who live in NJ or the burbs. I remember their argument was that it was too dangerous for their men to work the Streets and not just the Avenues in their cars. The kids in NYC grew up watching their family members either die, be hospitalized or incarcerated because of crack. If you want to see violence try and sell some crack to a teenager today in Harlem or Brooklyn. It did not take grown-ups or policemen to make them feel that way. Just life. They no longer stop and frisk like Rudy had them do and the people have come to trust the policemen and the policemen no longer look at every minority like they are pieces of trash, but that is the general trend across the land. The lines of hatred and bigotry are being erased. Thank God!

    January 7, 2013 at 10:45 pm | Report abuse |
    • NYC expat

      They don't stop and frisk like they used to? Stop and frisks are higher than ever...for better or for worse.

      January 7, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • empresstrudy

      Over 2,000 murders a year under Dave Dinkins.

      January 7, 2013 at 11:17 pm | Report abuse |
      • DaVuVuZeLa

        Over 2,000 murders a year under Ed Koch as well....

        January 8, 2013 at 12:20 am | Report abuse |
    • Mase

      the only reply with any validity is this one. How can you say what precipitates a reduction in violence if you don't know the history of the community you speak of? The work of the Dinkins administration coupled with the works of groups like Love Yourself, Stop the Violence and the Respect Yourself Organization helped get this murder rate down years ago. Decades even.

      January 8, 2013 at 6:07 pm | Report abuse |
  18. x3zy

    Here we go. I knew Bloomberg would give credit to the drop in crime in the city as a part of strict gun laws and his hatred of firearms. That man must have a calluses from patting himself on the back so much. Chicago has strict gun laws but still has a very high murder rate. The big difference in both cities is the presence of police officers in high crime areas and better trained gang units.

    January 7, 2013 at 10:28 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chooch0253

      Right here we go. We knew brain dead fools that are not in favor of stricter gun control laws would claim that these policies have nothing to do with the drop in murders in NYC..............................like you just did..

      January 7, 2013 at 10:55 pm | Report abuse |
      • Nah

        chooch: "We knew brain dead fools that are not in favor of stricter gun control laws would claim that these policies have nothing to do with the drop in murders in NYC..............................like you just did.."

        We knew brain dead fools who want gun control would claim that a single instance of lowered - not low - crime would be proof positive that gun control works. Why? Because post hoc fallacies and illogical data sampling are your forte.

        January 7, 2013 at 11:05 pm | Report abuse |
        • Jack

          Except it's not a "single instance"... look at Australia. Look at almost anywhere in Europe. Or even California, which has stricter gun laws and less gun violence. The proof is everywhere. And it doesn't mean we want to take your guns. It just means we want some reasonable restrictions on them.

          January 8, 2013 at 12:04 am | Report abuse |
        • ben

          LOL at Jack. Way to mention california! You do realize that in Cali, like just about everywhere else...as legal gun ownership increases, violent crime decreases. http://www.outsidethebeltway.com/california-gun-sales-up-gun-violence-down/. The fact is the urban areas with the tightest gun control laws, have the worse crime. PERIOD.

          January 8, 2013 at 12:34 am | Report abuse |
        • theemptyone1

          Jack, those countries have a lot of personal violent crime, that's why so many are still trying to move here. I lived in Europe, you can't leave your car alone in many places and you get robbed if you aren't super vigilant. Also, the violence by immigrants like rape and rape gangs is a huge problem, but in some places like Britain, you can be prosecuted for saying the wrong thing, so even the police were afraid to go after the Paki rape gangs for fear of being accused of racism. So for over ten years, Brit girls were being systematically lured, trapped and raped, pimped and sometimes murdered. In one case, a girl was murdered and the Pakis who ran a kabob FF store ground her up and put in the the meat, no kidding. Search it online, the story is probably still out there.

          January 8, 2013 at 2:07 am | Report abuse |
      • x3zy

        Brain dead? Tight gun control works? I am sorry but you seem to be the one who suffers from brain death. Connecticut had the forth toughest gun laws in the state. Even a partial ban on assault weapons. Didn't work too well did it? The assault weapons ban was introduced in 1994. After 5 years, it still didn't stop two snot-nosed kids in Columbine from getting assault weapons and killing a bunch of people. The United Kingdom passed laws making it a crime to have any firearm above a .22 single shot rifle or a 12 gauge single shot rifle after the massacre of children in Scotland in 1996. In Cumbria, England in 2010 a man went on a murder spree with a single shot bolt action .22 rifle and a single shot 12 gauge shot gun and murdered 13 before killing himself. Didn't really work too well. You can be like Bloomberg if you wish. The man thinks banning sugary drinks in stores will stop the rise of fat people in our country. I just don't look at inanimate objects and blame them for the problems of human beings. I choose to look at the humans themselves or the society around them for the problems that plague them.

        January 8, 2013 at 12:33 am | Report abuse |
  19. Rob

    And in the first 7 days of this year NYC has had 4 or 5 murders.
    Starting off with a real kick.

    January 7, 2013 at 9:55 pm | Report abuse |
    • Knows Math

      Let's see. 52 weeks times 5 = 260 murders a year. MUCH better than 414 last year.

      January 7, 2013 at 10:09 pm | Report abuse |
      • Jack

        Don't expect these bozo's to know how to count... or to accept facts at all for that matter. They see what they want to see.

        January 8, 2013 at 12:06 am | Report abuse |
  20. areve

    These are the reasons:
    1. better police procedures developed under Guiliani
    2. crack is no longer pervasive
    3. people are less likely to accept crime as they were in the 70s- people call the cops now when sh*t goes down
    4. many slums of the 70s and 80s have been gentrified and are filled will wealthy young hipsters sipping lattes instead of 40s

    January 7, 2013 at 9:50 pm | Report abuse |
    • Mike D

      The fact that in Bed-Stuy you can find some white bearded hipster sipping a starbucks definitely contributes to the drop in crime. Fact is a lot of high crime areas are now prized real-estate.

      January 7, 2013 at 10:12 pm | Report abuse |
  21. Mike D

    Someone already said it but massive increases in abortions, contraceptives (teen pregnancy is way down), and better social safety nets have lead to a drop in murder and violent crime nationwide.

    January 7, 2013 at 9:47 pm | Report abuse |
    • areve

      Abortions are about the same rate in all urban areas. The difference is NY has A LOT of cops enforcing quality of life crimes which lead to bigger things. There are lots of abortions in Camden and Compton, but they still have crime issues

      January 7, 2013 at 9:53 pm | Report abuse |
  22. Miked

    It's amazing what excessive sugar drinks can do to a population.

    January 7, 2013 at 9:44 pm | Report abuse |
    • Miked

      Ever since big soda drinks was banned in NY, the crime rate is falling drastically down.

      January 7, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  23. LIbertyGuy

    Sorry to say all but the number one reason for lower crime rates of any kind is due to abortion and not gun laws or police work. Don't believe me look it up. Best explanation of this comes from Freakanomics.

    January 7, 2013 at 4:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • areve

      That's been bunked many times over. If it was the case why hasn't the crime rate in other cities decreased too? Plus the rate dropped dramatically after new enforcement was put into place. If it was because of abortion it would have steadily decreased.

      January 7, 2013 at 9:45 pm | Report abuse |
  24. John Harris

    One of the constant assumptions about New Yorkers was that a crime could happen in front of them and "Nobody Saw Nothin'!" was the response because people were more afraid of the criminals who lived close by, had friends, might get out on bail or acquitted altogether. Making sure a criminal knows that someone will witness his/her acts and isn't too afraid to testify is a far greater deterrent than Mayor Bloomberg's delusion that criminals care about laws. Making sure the laws against violent crime don't go unenforced because witnesses are afraid is the deterrent.

    January 7, 2013 at 4:46 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chooch0253

      Sure thing, Stricter gun control laws have nothing to do with the decrease of murders in NYC.. BTW have you paid your dues to the NRA this month?

      January 7, 2013 at 10:59 pm | Report abuse |
  25. Truth/Facts

    Crime has gone down nationwide and violent (murder, rape, etc.) have ALL gone down nationwide for the fifth straight year. So I would take this information about why NY crime is down with a grain of salt. NY is lucky/blessed that violent crime has gone down but it's not due to their police tactis and gun laws. It's a nationwide trend according to the FBI. http://www.fbi.gov/news/stories/2012/june/crimes_061112/crimes_061112

    January 7, 2013 at 4:21 pm | Report abuse |
    • skastenbaumcnn

      @Truth/Facts Steve Kastenbaum here, the reporter who put together this story. True, but crime has dropped here at a much greater rate than in just about every other major city in the US. Many policy makers are looking for the answers as to why it happened.

      January 7, 2013 at 4:35 pm | Report abuse |
      • yankeehater

        Ever wonder if NYC's ever exploding cost of living has something to do with it? Tough to afford an apartment when the cost is as high as NYC's. Also when most criminals do not have any way to generate credit, (hard to substantiate income w/out legal earnings), they cannot get approved for an apartment. There are many factors which have led to NYC's greater than national average drop in crime, Cost of living, which is also present throughout the North East, draconian/ anti american policing (Frisk w/out probably cause), which while effective is as freedom limiting as it gets.
        So the next time someone wants to single out guns comparre and contrast NYC with two other cest pools, Chicago + DC, both have more onerus laws and much higher gun violence rates per capita.

        January 8, 2013 at 3:02 am | Report abuse |
    • TheMovieFan

      From that link, the murder rate in the Northeast decreased the most at -6.1%.

      The rest of the regions:

      Midwest: + 0.6%
      South: -2.4%
      West: -0.1%

      January 7, 2013 at 9:58 pm | Report abuse |
    • Chooch0253

      Since you seem to know so much.. or want others to think you do, If the tactics being employed and stricter gun control laws play no factor in the decrease in murders in NYC, why not tell us what are the factors instead of posting a link to "trends"? You must know what the factors are if you can boldly claim police tactics and stricter control laws are not factors.

      January 7, 2013 at 11:03 pm | Report abuse |
  26. Derrick, Atlanta

    Could it be stop-and-frisk? I think it's great that crime has gone down in the boroughs, but isn't there a way to do it without racial profiling? It's a libertarians nightmare.

    January 7, 2013 at 4:02 pm | Report abuse |
  27. Charlie

    "Small number of people" == gangs. Deport the gang members or lock 'em up. Now we only have to worry about the crazies with the guns.

    January 7, 2013 at 3:54 pm | Report abuse |
  28. Oh


    What happened to let the police do it? Run away?


    January 7, 2013 at 3:33 pm | Report abuse |
  29. Juan

    Wait...you're saying it's not anti-gun laws? Gasp...

    January 7, 2013 at 3:31 pm | Report abuse |
  30. Vee

    No kidding. Bunch of morons.

    January 7, 2013 at 3:20 pm | Report abuse |