Vital City charts


Alex Knorre and Marcos Soler


July 4, 2023

1 History

We start with NYC because for thirty years it has been an example, perhaps, of how police and the criminal justice system can have an effect. starting with Kelly (crime started to decrease in1990-1993 down 15%) and Bratton’s stunning: we can control crime in 19934 (Bratton on 1.1.1994-4.15.1996). Along with other big cities in the US, NYC suffered a stark rise in murders and shootings through the 60s, 70s and 80s, and then starting in the early 90s a precipitous decline. Unlike other cities in US, however, NYC’s decline was steeper and more durable than other places. The City reached historic lows not experienced since the early 1950s in the period from 2017-2019 with fewer than 300 murders and 800 shootings per year (and with fewer than 100,000 major felony offenses).

1.1 The long view: the current 2023 NYC murder rate is lower than any period between 1959 to 2012

In the first half of 2023, New York had an annualized murder rate (adjusted for seasonality) of 4.6 murders per 100,000. It is 21% lower than the rate of 5.8 in the height of the pandemic in 2021.

We provide a historical comparison of the murder rate in New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, Houston, and the United States By murder rate, the United States on average had 1.2 times more murders than NYC. By selected cities, LA has 1.6 times more murders, Chicago had 5.1 times more murders, and Houston had 2.6 times more murders. In 1985, all these four cities had relatively similar rates around 20- 24 murders per 100,000.