Mainstream news reports have recently noted that New York’s murder rate has jumped 20% in the first quarter of 2010.
Apparently this is a surprise, but it’s also a foreboding statistic which is particularly stark news for someone (like me) who is soon to embark on a work-sponsored secondment from London to the Empire State in the next few months.
For years the figures have shown that NY’s murder rate has declined steadily, but Michael Bloomberg, the city’s current Mayor, has just admitted that the recent uptick in homicides is “worrisome” as dramatic budget cuts mean there are now less cops on the streets. "We have fewer police officers than we did before...more cops always helps," Bloomberg chirped insightfully.
When you scratch the surface of the statistics, it brings the story even closer to home for me as the back data shows that most murders occur in June and July (exactly when I’m due to be there), with males aged between 25-34 making up the vast majority (more than 75%) of all corpses. Fabulous!
OK, so I’m fanning the flames a bit as I currently live in South West London (an area renowned for its love of gun-and-knife), and I also come from the hardy North East of England, so I’m not exactly suggesting that I’m going to land in NY like a wide-eyed kid from the sticks on his first trip ‘abroad’. However, I’ve got to admit that I’m now sizing up my pending assignment with a little more adrenaline and trepidation than when I was initially given the opportunity to go Stateside.
Being an indefatigable optimist, the reassuring fact to come out of this otherwise ominous tale is that statistics show that New York remains America’s safest big city, and that only 15% of the Big Apple’s murders have occurred in Manhattan, where I’ll be based. I guess that means everything’s going to be hunky dory after all. Now where did I put my oversized street map and I ‘heart’ NY cap and T-shirt?