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Despite Difference in Gun Laws, Overall Crime Down in NYC But Up in UK
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29 Apr 2018 07:32 PM EST

By Laura Tucker, Staff writer; Image; New York Police Department (Image Source: Public Domain)


The big cities in the US, such as Chicago and Los Angeles, but specifically New York City, have a certain reputation for being high crime areas. But it turns out crime is actually on a downward trend in the Big Apple, yet it's interestingly up in the UK.

And this isn't what we would assume after following the news. It seems like every other week there's another mass shooting with people shouting from the rooftops of the need for better gun laws, making comparisons to other countries who have gun laws and who don't have the same frequent mass shootings that the US has.

Because of this, it's easy to think that crime is up, just as the mass shootings are. But there were 345 mass shootings (defined as four or more people killed) in the US just in 2017. It was the deadliest year of mass shootings in modern history. But in the first quarter of 2018 crime is actually down in New York City.

There were 7,430 crimes in March 2017 and 7,136 one year later, a drop of 4%. The first quarter of this year had 21,413 crimes reported, 921 fewer than 2017, a drop of 4.1%. Additionally, there were 212 fewer robberies, 275 fewer grand larcenies, and 78 fewer grand larceny autos. However, there was an increase of 76 rapes, but perhaps that statistic was helped with the #MeToo movement at play. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio suggests we have NYC's finest and communities to thank for that. "We had a record-breaking year last year thanks to the hard-working women and men in blue," he said. "Neighborhood policing is a game-changer. Crime goes down when New Yorkers work side by side with police officers with the shared goal of maintaining our title as the safety big city in the country."

But these stats get far more interesting. Not only is crime on the rise in the UK, but London had more murders than New York City in February and March this year, 37 London homicides to NYC's 32. They had a 23% surge in stabbings in 2017. 

The UK has very strict gun laws. "Machine guns, pepper spray, semi-automatic and pump-action rifles, and any firearm that has a barrel less than 30 centimeters in length are prohibited."

In Ireland it's even more strict. There was a school shooting in 1996 that saw handguns banned. It was the UK's first and only school shooting. They had a spree killing in June of 2010 in Cumbria, England, that killed 12 people. Before the school shooting there had only been one mass shooting in the history of Great Britain. 

London Mayor Sadiq Khan is calling for an increase in targeted stop-and-search after four men were killed in knife attacks. This is similar to NYC's stop-and-frisk. Donald Trump tweeted in 2013, "If Stop & Frisk is struck down by the pandering NYC politicians, increases in crime & eventual terrorist attacks will be on them."

Three years later The Washington Post found no correlation between an increase in crime and the decline of stop-and-frisk searches. The news site reported, "There was a brief uptick last year at the same time as a further drop in the stop-and-frisk count, but in four of the past five years, levels of crime fell alongside the number of stop-and-frisks."

To further go against Trump's beliefs, he made a connection between crime and illegal immigration a cornerstone of of his campaign and has continued to do so throughout his term as president as well.

But the stats don't back that up. A 36-year study shows that the majority of American cities with growing immigrant populations have actually seen crime rates fall.

Since 1980, the immigrant population in Rochester, New York, has grown 19%, yet violent crime is down a whopping 37%. Assaults dropped 35%, robberies 41%, and the murder rate just 1 percent.

In 70% of the 200 metropolitan areas studied crime rates either stayed the same or fell between 1980 and 2016 as the immigrant population increased. The 10 places with the largest increases in immigrant population all had lower crime rates.

This all must mean that mass shootings still make up a small portion of the total crime. While the genre of mass shootings is certainly increasing, other crimes are down. And it's not connected to anything that has to do with immigration.

It's unknown at this point why London's crime rate is rising, but we know the answer isn't for them to loosen their gun laws. If they did, they would certainly see a rise in mass shootings to go with their other crimes. And if the US passed similar tougher gun laws, its crime rate would go down further as well.

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