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By Matthew Howe
New York City gets a bad rap from a lot of folk in the gun-rights community. Not just in terms of their gun control policies, — which are as bad as anyone out there thinks — but in terms of how dirty and dangerous the city is. But is it? Not really. New York City, 2015, is a clean, relatively safe city full of great shops and amazing restaurants. But there’s a catch . . . The 2014 murder rate for NYC was 4.0 per 100,000 population. That’s slightly below the national average of 4.8 per 100,000.

The catch — and it’s a double-edged sword, to pile on some more metaphors — is that despite an overall lower-than-average murder rate, there are still many neighborhoods in NYC one would be unwise to set foot in. Especially after dark.

While the murder rate overall in NYC is low, in certain neighborhoods it is terribly high. I recently took a precinct-by-precinct look at murder rates in NYC for 2014. The results were fascinating.

About a third of population of the city live in precincts where the murder rate is higher than the city average of 4.0 per 100,000. Some of them are slightly higher, some a lot more so. The 73rd precinct, for example, has a murder rate of 20 per 100,000, five times that of the city as a whole and four times the national average.

But, when you factor out the precincts that have murder rates higher than the national average (representing 36% of the population,) you’ll find the rest of New York City has a murder rate of 1.5 per 100,000. Those are European-level numbers in most of New York City.

How does this relate to gun control? 

NYC has the strictest gun control in the nation. You need a permit to buy a long gun, and anything semi-auto that can hold more than five rounds is verboten. Handguns? Very hard. Carry permit? Better make a large donation to a city council candidate and hope he or she wins.

Yet despite these controls, there are still precincts — plenty of them in fact — with murder rates far above the national average. This instantly invalidates any of the attempts that have been made to link gun control to lower homicide rates. Studies like a recent one by David Hemenway which only looked at state-level data. And, of course, only examined “gun deaths.” And, of course of course, lumped gun accidents, gun murders and gun suicides together.

What the data actually tells us is what we’ve always known; that murder is a local problem, concentrated in exceedingly dangerous neighborhoods, often in heavily gun-controlled cities.  And while NYC’s below-average precinct murder rate is nice, if you journey north two counties to Putnam County, where gun laws are much looser, they had a murder rate over the last three years of precisely zero.

The second thing we can learn from NYC comes by examining the city’s past. When I first began to visit the city in the early 1980s, it was a dangerous place. I’m in the film industry, and the facilities I often had to visit were near Times Square. Walking through Times Square at night to drop off film was simply terrifying. The city was a hellhole with a murder rate which peaked in the 1990s at 14.5 per 100,000. That’s more than three times higher than is today.

Then, in 1994 Rudy Giuliani was elected mayor, mainly on an anti-crime platform. Crime fell, radically (it also fell nationwide, though it fell by a larger degree in NYC). By the time he left office, the 1994 murder rate of 13.2 per 100,000 had fallen to 4.7 per 100,000.

Now, did Giuliani (no friend of the Second Amendment) enact strict new gun controls on law-abiding citizens during his tenure? No. He didn’t have to. It already existed. Giuliani got the crime rate down not by practicing gun control, but by practicing criminal control. He employed the “broken windows” theory, whereby anyone caught committing a crime, whether it be jumping a turnstile or selling pot, was to be arrested.

Well, what do you know? A lot of those guys committing minor offenses like jumping turnstiles turned out to be wanted felons who were then taken off the streets. The crime rate plummeted. Stephen Dubner and Steven Levitt, the authors of Freakonomics, will tell you that the drop in crime was the result of abortion, widely legalized in the mid to late 70s, limiting the number of criminal types coming of age in the 90s. While this theory is in dispute, it’s still is another method of criminal control, not gun control.

So what can New York City teach us about gun control? 

A simple and valuable lesson; there is no connection between gun control and public safety. None at all. And New York City, the most heavily gun-controlled city in America, proves it.

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68 Responses to Contest Entry: What We Can Learn From New York City

  1. New York city is one of the safest big cities on the country, if not in the world. There are some gritty neighborhoods that are not quite as safe as, say, Murray Hill, and there are neighborhoods that are as dangerous as any Third World hellhole. All in all, if a visitor stays out of the troubled areas, there would not be a problem.

    But it needs to be understood that New York City is built around crime. The City has 35,000 cops and 50,000 total law enforcement personnel. Many buildings have layered security. Street lights are everywhere, and they are bright. And many New Yorkers who remember the bad old days of Abe Beame and David Dinkins know that the whole damn thing can unravel in a single pro-crime administration, like the one they have now.

    • “And many New Yorkers who remember the bad old days of Abe Beame and David Dinkins know that the whole damn thing can unravel in a single pro-crime administration, like the one they have now.”

      Ralph, NYC will unravel in about 3 days if terrorists with rifles cut the high tension lines feeding the city…

      • Wouldn’t take terrorists, just another idiot in Cleveland flipping the wrong switch and the damage taking more than a day to repair.

      • Why would the need rifles to cut high tensions lines? Cool accessories to their outfits? A good way to get caught?

        You know, even the 14.4KV lines around your neighborhood aren’t insulated. A cable with two weights on it and a little muscle, boom goes the transformer.

    • BASIC DICTATORSHIP 101 REV.

      1)THE major first step is the Gaining control by whatever means available of ALL means of communication, i.e. the news media and every other means of private and public communication;

      2) That while also taking promptly total control in/of all areas of banking, finance, commerce, etc.; (See #5, below, please)

      3) While also seeking to totally DIVIDE AND CONQUER this a very basic Rule for success in establishing control in an adversarial endeavor be it in War on the BATTLEFIELD or in the ‘POLITICAL WARFARE TRENCHES’ in the TARGETING OF THE NATION’S ENTIRE/TOTAL POPULATION . . . and anyone that is ‘awake’ is seeing that accomplished daily; this ‘tool’ being applied exponentially by government in general and now in particular in our United States of America today: citizen against citizen, neighbor against neighbor, that by courts and the government at both the national, state, county, city and town level; this tool so candidly stated by an appointee of the Alien Occupier: “Crisis offers Opportunity” and thus the fermenting of civil commotion in every available area is being utilized as simply yet another of the satanic tools being put in play**.

      4) But most certainly of greatest importance is implementing by every means available the Totally disarming of the general population as Hitler’s National Socialist did especially targeting the Jews; Marks & Stalin’s Communist and as sought by the UN and those of the National Socialist/Communist/liberals; especially those currently in power in our nation’s government; their sole purpose is to facilitate the allowing only the ‘government’ to be armed thus establishing total dependence on the government by those of the population who are ‘law abiding’ out of fear or for whatever reason, while seeking to convey what is actually a totally false sense of safety and well being.

      5. And always find someone else to blame for any and all problems, etc, and THEN take every means necessary to vilify and then purge/slaughter THEM ONE AND ALL.

      AND, WE MUST NOT FORGET . . .

      6, Total destruction of the target nation’s economy is MANDATORY hence . . . DESTRUCTION FINANCE 101 THE DIVERSION —
      Remember the old shell game where the huckster had three walnut shells and one pea and you were enticed to concentrate on his hand movements of the walnut shells so that you could point out the location of the pea; this while his pick pocket cohorts were working the spectators? Well friend you have been had yet again
      Note:

      This course of action/instruction approved by Hussein, Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Hun Sen, Kim Jong-II, Chairman Mao, Chavez, Castro, Mussolini, as well as all others of similar ilk including the Illegal Alien Occupant of our White House!

      James A Wyatt Jr – Son of The Gunsmith, J.A.’Red”Wyatt 1902-1964, WYATT CUSTOM RIFLES
      Kosciusko, MS H.S. Class of 1956; Mississippi State Univ. Class of 1961
      All Hours On Site Target Risk Investigations – 8 States – 1962-1997
      IN JEHOVAH GOD WE TRUST;
      all else is highly suspect.

      TRUTH AND REALITY IN PRESENT DAY AMERICA; A ONCE GREAT NATION THE WE, ON OUR WATCH, ALLOWED TO BE TAKEN OVER BY PERVERTED DEMONCRATS, MUSLIMS, COMMUNIST, GANGS OF THUGS, CHICAGO SPAWNED GANGSTERS, ROGUE POLITICIANS, PAGAN LAWYERS, HEATHENS; ONE AND ALL SATAN’S TOTALLY DEDICATED DISCIPLES.

  2. Growing up in NY near the city during those times were interesting. I got hassled in bad neighborhoods, sure. There’s no better way to learn the art of talking your way out of trouble.

    • I live on Long Island now but I grew up in the City and came of age in the 1970s. It was bad but that’s a relative thing and it never really bothered me. I never had any trouble. Not once. But then, I was 6’3″, 200 pounds, shoulder length hair. There are easier looking prey.

      But my most valuable asset, and I still have it, was situational awareness. Where to stand or not stand on a subway platform; what streets to avoid; look around to see who’s who and where; and always have an escape route – if you don’t know, go a different way. And I still do it in the relatively safe neighborhood I live in today. I probably always will.

      I contrast that with what I see today and I can’t understand how people survive without being taken advantage of or just walking in front of a cement truck. They are so locked into their ear buds and devices they are oblivious to anything outside the narrow tunnel of air from their face to their touch screen.

    • The only way to be sure. From orbit.

      Obumer is giving the Islamists in Iran the tools and as NYC has more Jews resident than ANY other metro area in the world it’s a good bet that the mullahs have a mushroom cloud planned for cesspool hive.

  3. why focus on murders? it’s such a variable dependent item that it’s useless. why not use the number of people who are shot? that’s a much more accurate matrix of crime that can show how violent or peaceful a city is, and is not dependent on variables like: quality of trauma care, time from discovery to medical care provided, numbers of ambulances / trained EMT’s, ability of the shooter to hit intended target, etc. low murder rates, to me, are a better indication of the level of trauma care than any indicator of the levels of violence.

    • You know, as often as I’ve heard all of the pieces in what you wrote mentioned, somehow I’d never put 2 and 2 together before.

    • I think the total number of people assaulted/attacked would be more useful.

      Whether shot or stabbed or bludgeoned with a hammer, total violent attacks are really the number we are interested in reducing.

      Dealing only in gunshot attacks ignores the displacement towards other methods of criminal violence that occur when guns are not available.

  4. N.Y.C. has neighborhoods that the police will not go near—–crime stats are low because if you are dead, you cannot make a report, thanks to the last few mayors——-times square and other areas have become better because an outside entity bought it up, and donated xmas lites for better protection—–from what I understand–

  5. “But there’s a catch . . .”

    Not all NY (but not just NYC) is TOO full of the TOLERANT. They have too many people there willing to sh_t-away America. They have too many people on-the-dole, either welfare, or prisoner-family welfare.

    NYC is TOO full of the TOLERANT. Too tolerant of global-warming nuts, when NYC is steam-heated 24/7/365, its lights are on 24/7/365, its trains run ~ 24/7/365, its subways and tunnels are ventilated 24/7/365. Their food/gas/incidentals/rock-salt AND EVERY F-ING OTHER THING USED THERE is bused, trained/ piped or trucked in, and the waste is barged/trucked and trained/piped or trucked out. Whatever trash that doesn’t wind up on Staten Island is barged-out and sunk-at-sea (sometimes after traveling around the tip of FL: http://www.nytimes.com/1987/07/11/nyregion/trash-barge-to-end-trip-in-brooklyn.html).

    It is a pissant little state that has a population that is TOO TOLERANT, (oh BS) THAT LIKES to live on top of each other (in those above stated conditions) and the close-living makes them feel like everyone needs to give up a little more of their rights/privileges etc. so that everyone can continue to get ‘get along’ because they can’t imagine what a seething mess they would be if the hustle and bustle failed to distract the indigenous day-to-day. It is a pissant little state that has a population that wants to dictate to the rest of us (as though they are smarter or know better) what or how America should be run.

    FUNY, nobody asked you for an excuse for what you are, and nobody’s interested in the sales pitch.

    • P.S. – What we can learn from NY, is that a small problem left untreated feels entitled and sets a new bar for the minimum definition of what’s a “problem”.

    • As someone who lives upstate, I have a particular dislike for NYC as a political entity. They (plus Long Island and Westchester) have more than half the state’s population. Election corruption is rampant. And these areas are hotbeds of liberalism. So they get to dominate upstate politically. Which is why we’re stuck with Cuomo and all those downstate RINOs.

      Upstate is a different world. He good news is, a lot of folk up here just ignore the gun laws.

    • Well, “Tolerant” is the image they like to have of themselves, but the reality is more complicated.

      Take a close look at the years when NYC’s crime rate plummeted faster than the national average, then look at the crime rate in neighbouring New Jersey. You will find that Jersey’s crime rate dropped much *slower* than the national average. Yet Jersey has liberal politics very similar to New York’s, what gives?

      Gentrification gives. What New York managed to do was not *solve* the problem, but *move* it, at least a significant fraction of it,out of their jurisdiction. Rising real estate prices were a main driving factor, but “broken windows policing” did more than just what this author indicates. It also created a climate of harassment towards poor, shall we say ‘ criminal inclined ‘ communities, providing not-so-subtle encouragement to move elsewhere.

      The point being, all the “Coexist”, Kumbayah, ‘ Let’s have a drum circle ‘ stuff never extended to letting certain people live in their neighborhoods, when push came to shove.

    • Actually, New York isn’t even in the top 50% of welfare state recipient adjusted for population. And it certainly doesn’t have a lot of prisoner welfare – the incarceration rate is less than half that of places like Texas and Arizona.

  6. I thought the last reported murder rate in the U.S. was 3.95/100k not 4.8/100k. Has the 2014 numbers been released?

  7. If the present warming trend continues, and I’m sure it will, New York will be under water before we know it!

    Have faith!

    • Sea levels have been rising since the last glacial period, by amounts orders of magnitude greater than current observations. Manhattan is an island that is sinking. And there is no current warming trend. New York is safe from the threat of sea level rising.

      Whether or not that is a good thing is a matter left to the reader’s determination.

      • In case you’re wrong Chip. Let’s build a huge seawall all around NYC to save it for future generations. And to be really safe we could put science observation towers every 100 feet or so on the wall with spotlight so the science types can observe the rising sea level even at night.

        And since the oceans are full of apex predators each of those manned monitoring towers should have heavy weapons to protect the scientists.

        With only a little effort NYC will be safe and secure.

  8. New York has been showered with absolutely insane amounts of wealth, confiscated by debasement from the rest of the country, over the past 4 decades. Since definitionally not everyone can live like millionaires/billionaires off of looting other millionaires/billionaires in other parts of the country, none of what happens in New York has much carryover relevance to other places at all. Just as no matter whether one likes the Vatican or not, there is no way every Catholic church could replicate the one in Rome.

    One highly crime-relevant development enabled by the massive amounts of loot, is a level of gentrification almost entirely unparalleled outside of…. The Vatican City. The “safe” neighborhoods are “safe”, because it costs $5+ million to buy an Andy Gump there. And once you have $5+ million, the cost/benefit of engaging in violent street crime is very different than if you’re destitute. You’re on the Fed’s side, and the Fed is a better thief than you’ll ever be anyway.

    Then there’s the amount of police present billions upon billions of dollars can buy you, both of the conventional, public variety; and of the private one. Again something that is not transferable to the places where the loot is coming from; no matter how much Bloomberg may think noone needs guns, since anything you’d use them for the bodyguards can do.

    The whole “broken windows” spiel “may” have had something to do with it, but is just as (actually more) likely nothing more than an excuse to harass minorities and the poor while playing to progressive drones who are too stupid to know the difference anyway. What is undeniably special about New York, is the acceleration in wealth transfers headed there since the late 70s as a result of completely unpegging the dollar from gold. And since obviously not everyone, everywhere, can live solely off of debasing someone elses wealth, developments there really don’t have much universal significance at all.

    • I”d love to see you tarred and rolled in twenty dollar bills and then let out in East Harlem or Bed Stuy.

      it would be amusing to watch you run screaming through the streets screaming “please don’t hurt me, for years I have been spouting marxist garbage in support of your moral right to murder me, but please don’t hurt me!”

      • The one thing Marx was right about is that the rich are rich by taking advantage of the other classes and keeping them in their place.

        • ALL GROUPS TAKE ADVANTAGE OF OTHER GROUPS.

          In Marxism THE LEADERS take advantage of everyone else.

          Shove your Marxist BS.

  9. Meanwhile, progun states have higher murder & suicide rates than NY, CA, NJ, HI, IL and guns from progun states get smuggled into safe states due to these same progun states have lax laws and their refusal to enforce laws against gun crime and smuggling.

    • Oh, look. It’s Willy “stormfront” lunchmeat. The guy that says 98 % of gun owners in America have committed murder.

      Anybody want to take him at his word and give up their evil guns?

      • It also has the whitest population and among the lowest ‘public assistance’ rates. Correlation?
        According to NYPD/FBI crime data. black and Hispanic males account for over 90% of the violent crime in NYC including over 90% of the murders. I don’t recall the precise number but a substantial majority of the murder victims in the city are black and Hispanic males.

    • “Stormfront Willy” must have gotten lazy with his copy and paste nonsense. That is about the lamest troll attempt I’ve seen from him.

      • Sixpack7,

        I agree this troll post is only a 2/10 and you get that for just posting. Wily really needs to up his game and do less copy past.

    • For the benefit of people who actually have an open mind:

      This data comes from the FBI’s Crime in the United States for 2013, Table 5, Crime in the United States, By State: https://www.fbi.gov/about-us/cjis/ucr/crime-in-the-u.s/2013/crime-in-the-u.s.-2013/tables/5tabledatadecpdf/table_5_crime_in_the_united_states_by_state_2013.xls

      Rates of murder and nonnegligent manslaughter (per 100,000)

      The anti-gun states mentioned:
      —————————————
      New York – 3.3
      California – 4.6
      New Jersey – 4.5
      Hawaii – 1.5
      Illinois – 5.5

      Some gun friendly states:
      ——————————–
      Alaska – 4.6
      Idaho – 1.7
      Montana – 2.2
      New Hampshire – 1.7
      Vermont – 1.6
      Wyoming – 2.9

      There are, of course, gun friendly states that are worse than some of the anti-gun states. Arizona is not great at 5.4, but that’s still better than Illinois. I’d like to note that “never met gun control it didn’t love” California and Constitutional Carry Alaska have identical homicide rates. Apparently death is the lagniappe in Louisiana these days, because out of the actual states, they’re the “killing people on purpose” champs at 10.8. However, the absolute winners in the table are DC, at 15.9, and Puerto Rico, at 24.4. However, both of those are anti-gunner paradises, so those examples run the other way.

      The tools do not commit the crimes. There are all sorts of factors that go into whether there will be a lot of crime or not a lot of crime in a given area, and gun laws, frankly, and just really not that relevant. Given that, the approach I favor is the respect of individual liberty, and restrictive gun laws run very much counter to that.

      • Alaska is a special case. The 24 hour darkness in winter drives a lot of people just a little loco. That, and the native Alaskans don’t handle alcohol very well. That’s a recipe for murder, whether by gun, harpoon or knife.

        • Well, the real question is:
          If you called 911 @ 11:30pm and said you we’re going next door to kill you neighbor’s whole family with a harpoon, waited 3 minutes…
          You’re neighbor would still be the one responding to the problem. And, would likely need a gun, or else he/she wouldn’t be making any 911 calls. Or, on the 911 call, you’d hear heavy breathing from a small child and Capt. Ahab stomping around in the background.

      • On the complete other end of the spectrum of Willy_Lunchmeat:

        Clearly expressed ideas, provided statistics with source citation, observed proper grammar and mechanics.

        Final Grade: A+

        (Please come back and talk to Willy more often.)

  10. Ok joe since you always call us a ” little pissant” state and there are only 3 bigger states ,I’ll guess yours.

    Texas , NO. Almost everyone I’v met from TX, has been very nice and polite . If it wasn’t for their small deer and baiting style of hunting would consider retiring there ourselves .

    Calf. NO. As liberal as NY.

    So that leaves FLA. which just this year bumped us out of third place . Congrats Joe!

  11. It would be interesting to see the racial and income makeup of the high crime areas versus the low crime areas. I can just about guess how that would turn out.
    I will say that the vast majority of times the rural and suburban areas have less crime than the urban areas.
    Both the gun grabbers and the gun nuts go on about various states being safer or more dangerous. I would submit it is more of a geographical, cultural, and racial area affecting crime along with the local interpretation of laws and enforcement. City laws within a state can vary wide as well.Upstate NY is a different place than NYC.

  12. NY exports the majority of it’s enshrined criminals.
    Check the stats on where Riker-family’s live, and you will find a predominance moved there “to be closer to their incarcerated family member” and a predominance of those are on public assisstance.

  13. “Tragic acts of violence like the Sandy Hook shooting in Newtown, CT or the slaying of 15-year old Hadiya Pendleton in Chicago, IL redirect political and public attention towards gun violence. (…) Statistics like these and images of innocent victims fuel the notion that violence is both pervasive and random. If gun violence can happen in an elementary school classroom or to an innocent adolescent girl standing in a public park with her friends, it can happen anywhere or to anyone. Yet tragic as these events and statistics are, gun violence is far from random. Gun violence is highly concentrated among particular segments of the population and in particular places.” – Andrew Papachristos

  14. NYC SWATifyed its police force after 9/12 because cops can keep planes (taking off from JFK) from hitting buildings. It was an wxpensive proposition and to justify rhe cost they want(ed) to import GITMO terrorists to their prison system and try them in their courts, because they believe they deserve a “fair trial” and where else could you get a fair trial (as a terroristic bastard) than firmly ensconced in one of the ground zeroes of 9/11.
    STUPIDSTUPIDSTUPIDSTUPIDSTUPIDSTUPID

  15. I live in NYC.
    I take the subway 3-4x/ week, round trip.

    EVERY 2nd-3rd trip there is some scary MF in a subway car, and everybody either moves to the other end of the car, OR GETS OUT AT THE NEXT STOP after they got in and change cars…

    I live on a half decent block, 1/4 mile from a major ghetto (that is slowly being “gentrified”). If you are not white nor live in the ghetto you do NOT walk around in that neighborhood.

    • You’re looking for potential enemies in front of you while you got an evil blue house of liberal (D) crap monkey on your back a_ _ -raping you, and he keeps blowing in your eat and trying to get you to carry him over to us.
      Poop to that.

      • I live in NY for family reasons and will leave when that is appropriate. PHUCK you and your BS. I am hard right ON ALL ISSUES including slapping the shite of foul mouthed morons like you.

  16. The only problem with NYC is that is where the bulk of the population and that means that the majority of laws are made for the city with no regard to the rest of the state. Up-state has no problems with so called “Assault Weapons” but the we have to deal with the safe act bs because of the politicians have to look good for the cancerous city state.

    • You say that like guns are the only beef we have with liberals and the evil blue house of (D). Guns are not even the tip of the tip of the iceberg, and the liberal positions are a move off (from) center. And center is left of Right, where you left us. Save the smarter/better minds/big ideas for your strangub_tion episodes and leave us out of it. History has already proven too many times where that sh_t leads. Your not entitled to just throw the dice again because maybe liberalism, socialism, communism, might work this time.

      • There are alot of things that should be done with regards with NYC, such as making NYC its own state and separating it from up state. They can keep the title New York and I’m sure that up-state wont have a problem with New Amsterdam.

  17. As inconvenient as the truth is for those who would take away our right to bear arms, a couple of minutes spent using Google to look at Census Bureau and FBI statistics quickly gives anyone a completely different picture of the truth about shootings in America. The truth is that young black males, aged 17-25 are shooting and killing one another at an alarming rate in our country. The same young black males also shoot blacks in general at an alarming rate. They comprise a relatively small segment of blacks as a whole, and blacks make up about 13% of our population in America. Most of these shootings take place in mostly black neighborhoods in large cities.

    If you take murders by young black males out of the equation, and look at murders by everyone else in the U.S., we have an astoundingly LOW murder rate. I mean, we make places like Iceland and Sweden look like dens of crime.

    Yes, it’s politically correct, but it’s the truth. Looking at the truth, and putting aside our Constitutional rights for a moment, it thus makes no sense whatsoever, to try to “solve” this problem by restricting the rights of someone in, say Grand Rapids, Minnesota, to buy and possess firearms. Outside of predominately black neighborhoods in large cities, America has an infinitesimally small gun crime problem.

  18. Grew up in the North Bronx in a “civil service” neighborhood called Woodlawn. More than half the male head of household were NYPD or FDNY. Very, very little crime in that neighborhood and very, very little enforcement of the Sullivan Act. I wonder if there’s a connection? I understand Woodlawn is still a safe haven.

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