Division of Criminal Justice Services

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Contact: John Caher, Press Office
New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services
(518) 457-8415 or (518) 225-5240 – cell

For immediate release: Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Crime down dramatically in New York State

Study of 10 year trend shows double-digit drop in crime

New York State has experienced double-digit decreases in both crime volume – the total amount of crime – and crime rate – crimes per capita – over the past decade, according to a report released today by the Division of Criminal Justice Services.

The report, Crime in New York State: 2009 Preliminary Data, tracks “index” crime from 2000 through 2009 and reveals that the rate of crimes per 100,000 residents has declined 26 percent while the volume of crime dropped 23 percent. The “index” crimes of murder, forcible rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft are used by DCJS and the FBI as indicators of overall crime trends.

“As I have said repeatedly, there is no more basic function of government than the protection of its citizenry, and we will never shirk from that responsibility, regardless of our fiscal difficulties,” Governor David A. Paterson said. “We have gained tremendous ground in the fight against crime, and I have no intention of giving back an inch.”

Sean M. Byrne, acting commissioner of DCJS, added: “New York State is a safer place to live, work, raise our families and run our businesses thanks to the efforts of our extraordinary law enforcement personnel. The data reflected in our report are very encouraging, but what pleases me most is that there were 136,619 fewer index crimes  reported in 2009 than in 2000 – which means there were at least 136,619 fewer victims of crime, even as the state’s population increased by a half million.”

Here are some highlights from the report:

  • While the overall rate of index crime dropped 26 percent, the rate of violent crimes declined 30 percent while property crimes decreased 24 percent.
  • The highest volume of violent crime over the past 10 years occurred in New York City, but the city reported a 39 percent drop in violent crime since 2000 as every category of violent crime decreased.
  • The proportion of crime reported in New York City and outside the city has shifted markedly. In 1990, New York City accounted for 63 percent of the statewide crime and the rest of the state accounted for 37 percent. Ten years ago, New York and the rest of the state each reported roughly half the statewide index crime; last year, New York City reported 43 percent of the statewide crime and the remainder of the state reported 58 percent.
  • Over the last 10 years, there has been a general increase in the use of firearms in violent crimes outside of New York City (violent-crime-by-firearm data are not available for New York City).  So, while there were fewer violent crimes, more of the violent crimes involved use of a firearm.

The complete report, which also includes a county-by-county comparison of crime rate, is available on the DCJS website.