Why being murdered is almost impossible in NYC these days

Why It’s Becoming Increasingly Unlikely to Fall Victim to Homicide in NYC Today

As a 74-year-old New Yorker who’s seen it all, I walk the city streets and ride the subway without fear, despite the alarming headlines about rising crime rates. Here’s why:

In my experience, and for most law-abiding citizens in New York, murder is virtually unheard of. The common factors in city homicides—drug dealing, gang involvement, criminal feuds, volatile domestic situations, and prostitution—simply don’t apply to our daily lives. My own research into this year’s murder statistics confirms that the risk for the average person is practically zero.

It’s widely acknowledged that murder disproportionately affects disadvantaged communities and people of color, leaving those outside these groups far less likely to become victims of violent crime. Even with minor increases in crime, the days when innocent people were frequently murdered by strangers are long gone.

Despite the media frenzy over violent incidents like the recent subway shooting, the reality is that murder poses almost no risk to the majority of New Yorkers. In 2023, there were 386 violent deaths, but this number is expected to decrease significantly this year, continuing a downward trend.

Murder is exceedingly rare among New Yorkers who lead ordinary, law-abiding lives. The statistics, when viewed in context, show that the city is much safer for most residents than sensationalist reports suggest. So far this year, there have been only three murders among New Yorkers not involved in high-risk behaviors.

The likelihood of being murdered if you’re not part of a vulnerable group is as slim as being struck on the head by a fish dropped from the sky—a rare event in New York.

Every murder is a tragedy, and every life is valuable. Yet, the NYPD’s count of 55 murders since the beginning of the year marks a significant decrease from the same period in 2023. Interestingly, only about half of these murders received media attention, with many victims being homeless or involved in minor criminal activities, rather than random citizens.

Murders by strangers are exceedingly rare. Most victims knew their attackers, often due to personal disputes. For example, a so-called criminal justice reform advocate is accused of killing and dismembering a lifelong friend, highlighting the personal nature of many of these crimes.

Domestic disputes account for a significant portion of the murders, with several occurring at home, surpassing even gang-related killings in number. Law enforcement struggles to prevent such private violence.

Among the murders this year, only three were gang-related, including the tragic death of a 13-year-old boy in a gang-related shooting. The most publicized murder involved a woman working as an escort, illustrating that victims often have high-risk lifestyles.

However, there have been innocent victims, such as a crossing guard shot while intervening in a fight and a bodega worker killed over a dispute about a cigar. These incidents, though heartbreaking, are rare and underscore that the city is generally safer than perceived.

The rarity of such tragedies reassures us that, despite alarming statistics, New York’s streets are safer than many believe.

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