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Thread: Crime in New York City

  1. #31


  2. #32


    May 24, 2004

    Mayor: NYC still the nation’s ’safest big city’

    Associated Press

    ALBANY, N.Y. -- Violent crime in New York City took another dip in 2003, joining other large cities in outpacing the country as a whole, officials said Monday.

    Serious crimes -- murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault -- fell 5.8 percent compared with 2002. The average decrease for cities with more than 1 million inhabitants was 6.5 percent, compared to 3.2 percent nationwide, according to newly released FBI crime statistics.

    At City Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the decrease helped push the city down eight spots in per capita rankings of 230 cities with more than a 100,000 population -- to No. 211, just after Port St. Lucie, Fla. The city had the lowest per capita crime rate among the 10 most populous cities in 2003, he said.

    The numbers mean the city "retained its title as the safest big city in the country," Bloomberg said.

    The city's crime rate fell 4.5 percent last year -- the 10th consecutive year of decline.

    The city spends more than $5 billion a year on Police Department-related expenses, including pensions, the mayor said. The force, with about 36,000 officers, is the nation's largest.

    "If you want to be safe, it costs a lot of money," he said.

    Copyright 2004 Newsday, Inc.

  3. #33
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    Garden City, LI



    New York Surpasses Eight More Cities in National FBI Report

    New York City Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly today announced that the FBI's annual Uniform Crime Reports for 2003 ranks New York City even lower in overall crime than it ranked in 2002. According to FBI statistics, the City experienced a 5.8% drop in overall crime – nearly 12 times greater than the national average drop of 0.5%. Moreover, New York City ranked 211th out of 230 cities across the nation on the total crime index; in 2002, the city ranked 203rd. New York City represents 25.7% of the national decrease in crime for calendar year 2003; since 2001, New York City represents 49.6% of the national decrease in crime.

    “New York City has not only retained its title as the safest big city in the country, it has defied the odds and become even safer,” Mayor Bloomberg said. “The men and women of the Police Department, have done an incredible job implementing successful anti-crime initiatives and are doing it with fewer officers as well as the increased responsibilities of counter-terrorism. From Operation Clean Sweep, the quality-of-life enforcement program which we announced in the first days of our administration, to Operation Spotlight, where we have focused the resources of the courts to make sure persistent misdemeanants serve meaningful sentences, we have kept driving crime down and making the streets safer for the people of this great City.”

    “Thanks to the outstanding efforts of the men and women of this Department, we have made New York City the safest it's been in decades,” Commissioner Kelly said. “I want to commend them for their commitment to keep crime down to record levels. It is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the New York City Police Department that our City enjoys its status as the safest big city in the country.”

    The FBI's total crime index ranks cities of 100,000 people or more by the number of crimes per 100,000 people. For 2003, the total crime index in New York City was 2921.8 crimes per 100,000 people. Out of the 230 cities which are ranked, New York City now ranks 211th, between Port St. Lucie, Florida, and Fremont, California – a drop of eight from last year. Out of the nations 10 largest cities, New York City ranked 10th with the fewest overall crimes on the total crime index, and had the steepest drop of any of the 10 largest cities. Out of the nation’s 25 largest cities, New York ranked 24th, just behind San Jose, California.

    Year End 2003/City/Rate

    1 Dallas 9244.2
    2 Detroit 8683.4
    3 Phoenix 7654.8
    4 San Antonio 7548.7
    5 Houston 7056.5
    6 Las Vegas 5783.3
    7 Philadelphia 5450.2
    8 Los Angeles 4819.2
    9 San Diego 4237.6
    10 New York 2921.8

  4. #34


    May 25, 2004

    Crime Declines, but Union and Mayor Spar Over Data


    The decline of overall serious crime in New York City, along with several other large cities, outpaced the crime rate in the nation as a whole in 2003, according to a Police Department analysis of F.B.I. statistics, prompting Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg yesterday to renew his boast that New York is the safest large city in the country.

    Mr. Bloomberg, flanked by Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly, said the city's crime decline, as recorded by the F.B.I., put New York close to the bottom of the list of cities across the country with more than 100,000 inhabitants - 211th of 230, dropping eight positions below its position in 2002. Among the cities with a population of more than one million, the city ranks 24th out of 25.

    "That means there's only 19 cities in the entire country of 100,000 population or more than have fewer crimes per capita," he said. "We are now between Port St. Lucie, Fla., and Fremont, Calif., two great metropolises who also enjoy low crime, and we wish them all the best."

    The F.B.I. data, released on Sunday, is based on uniform crime reports provided by police departments around the country. The New York City Police Department compared the F.B.I. figures for New York with other cities' to produce the ranking, a police official said.

    Overall felony crime - murder, rape, robbery, assault, grand larceny, auto theft and burglary - dropped 5.8 percent, nearly a dozen times the national average drop of 0.5 percent for all cities, Mr. Bloomberg said, despite a smaller force and the department's new counterterrorism responsibilities.

    The reported crime declines in New York City represent 25.7 percent of the national decrease for 2003, and since 2001, the city's crime decline has accounted for 49.6 percent of the national decrease, Mr. Bloomberg said.

    Mr. Kelly credited the work of rank-and-file officers and Operation Impact, a department program that floods small problem areas with Police Academy recruits accompanied by more experienced officers.

    The police union, the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association, has charged that precinct commanders feel such intense pressure to drive down crime that they "cook the books," reducing the severity of crimes on paper to avoid recording them among the seven crimes reported to the F.B.I.

    A union spokesman, Albert O'Leary, said yesterday that the average police precinct had declined by 70 officers in recent years, increasing the pressure on commanders. The department's overall head count has declined by more than 4,000 officers since its peak in October 2000.

    Mr. Bloomberg bristled at a reporter's question about the union's accusations.

    "Let's get serious, it's an insult to the people in this city," Mr. Bloomberg said, adding, "These are F.B.I. numbers; do you really think someone is going to falsify these numbers?" He added that the department's statistics are audited.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  5. #35
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    New York City


    If only the rest of this country were so competant at fighting crime.

  6. #36


    May 26, 2004

    As Police Extend Use of DNA, a Smudge Could Trap a Thief


    A criminalist at the New York City forensic lab takes samples from a dusted fingerprint on a piece of wood that is evidence in a murder case.

    Cotton-swabs with blood samples on them sit in the New York City forensic lab. The samples are tested for their DNA content which can help determine who was present at a crime scene.

    If New Yorkers whose homes are burglarized despair of ever seeing justice — much less their stereos and jewelry — they have good reason. Less than 20 percent of property crimes in the city are ever solved. That is partly because evidence and witnesses are hard to come by, and partly because the bulk of the manpower and money is devoted to catching violent criminals. DNA testing, for example, is routinely done only in homicides, rapes and the most serious assaults.

    But in an attempt to reverse that statistic, the chief medical examiner's office plans to open a new lab to test hundreds of DNA samples a day from nearly every crime scene, including burglarized homes and stolen cars. Because many property crimes do not yield blood, semen or saliva, the lab will use DNA samples previously considered too minuscule to collect, like skin cells left in a smudged fingerprint or a ski mask, and match them against databases of convicted felons, suspects and DNA profiles from crime scenes and rape kits.

    The prospect delights both the police and prosecutors, offering for the first time a powerful tool to catch criminals so elusive that many New Yorkers do not even bother to report burglaries. And if, as many criminologists believe, perpetrators tend to progress from nonviolent to violent crimes, the tests could contribute significantly to public safety.

    "It extends to a whole universe of crimes that other technology can't touch," said Dr. Charles S. Hirsch, the chief medical examiner. "And we know there are crossover criminals, that burglars become rapists. The impact has a big ripple effect."

    With the high-sensitivity lab, as it is called, forensic scientists will be able to get a profile from a mere 6 cells' worth of genetic material, instead of the approximately 150 cells needed for conventional DNA testing. That is even smaller than most samples used in Britain, which pioneered the use of this technology in criminal casework in 1999 and typically uses 30 to 50 cells.

    There are as yet no national standards for tests on such small samples, called low copy number DNA analysis, and their admissibility in court has not been widely tested. But using DNA to solve property crimes is an idea that is catching on: conventional samples of DNA taken from burglaries in Miami, for example, have yielded a high number of matches in the database, officials said.

    While the technology is not new, the new lab's scope is unprecedented in this country; if all goes according to plan, the New York lab will use robots to test 800 DNA samples a day.

    "It's a first for North America; it's a first outside of England," said Ray Wickenheiser, the author of an early paper on the use of DNA from what forensic scientists call "handled objects" to solve a murder for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, and now director of the Acadiana Crime Lab in Louisiana. "By setting this up in North America, in a much stiffer legal climate, it's very proactive."

    But others caution that the method is vulnerable to contamination or mistaken conclusions. "You get spurious results," said Lawrence Kobilinsky, a professor of forensic science at John Jay College of Criminal Justice. "You have to interpret everything very carefully."

    He continued, "Low copy number has been looked at very carefully by the F.B.I., and I think that in general their attitude is, this is not ready for prime time." A spokeswoman for the F.B.I. crime lab in Quantico, Va., declined to comment on the method, other than to say that the agency is considering ways to enhance the sensitivity of current DNA methods.

    The city's forensic scientists counter that they have done extensive work to validate their techniques. They have broken into one another's apartments and stolen the boss's car, scraped skin cells from clothing with a razor blade, spent long hours in the lab and presented their research for peer review at conferences, where it earns high marks from experts like Joseph E. Warren, a forensic biologist at the University of North Texas Health Science Center, and Mr. Wickenheiser, a senior auditor for one of the two groups in the country that accredit forensic labs.

    In part, the scientists' confidence has grown out of the World Trade Center attack. Although the new lab was in the planning stages before Sept. 11, the labor of identifying 8,553 remains from that disaster has honed the staff's ability to handle a high volume of tiny, degraded or contaminated DNA samples. "The World Trade Center drove a lot of this," said Robert Shaler, director of the forensic biology department of the medical examiner's office.

    Some of the high-sensitivity lab equipment is already in place, in temporary rented quarters at Bellevue Hospital Center, where scientists say low copy analysis will be under way by the end of the year. Ultimately, the high-sensitivity lab will be housed in a new, $267 million forensic biology building near Bellevue scheduled to be finished in November 2006. At full capacity, it will cost an estimated $4.4 million a year to operate, said Thomas Brondolo, deputy commissioner of the chief medical examiner's office.

    In a $185,000 pilot program financed by the National Institute of Justice, the Police Department has already begun to collect samples from a small number of break-ins, albeit only from conventional sources like saliva left on a cigarette butt. The first set of results is expected in a few weeks. In a similar program, the Miami-Dade Police Department has gotten hits on more than 50 percent of its DNA submissions from burglaries, said Willard Stuver, supervisor of the DNA testing program there.

    Dr. Shaler said he expects only 10 to 20 percent of the low copy samples in New York to yield usable genetic profiles. "This is not highly efficient testing," he said. "It's all dependent on things like whether the subject washed their hands."

    Yet, Dr. Shaler said, even such a small percentage could significantly reduce property crimes because thieves are so often recurrent offenders. And, he said, if DNA evidence induces more suspects to plead guilty, the lab will reduce trial costs.

    Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said: "It's the type of thing you find the money for if it works. It would be tremendously cost-effective. It's really tough to make a burglary arrest."

    Experts disagree as to the admissibility of low copy analysis as courtroom evidence. Mechthild Prinz, an assistant director in charge of the new lab, said that because the samples will be destroyed in testing, there will be no way to allow defense lawyers to conduct their own tests. Then there is secondary transfer: for example, a thief robs a house after shaking hands with a friend and leaves the friend's DNA signature at the scene.

    Those considerations, some experts said, are likely to affect the weight jurors give to the test results more than their admissibility. Lisa Friel, chief of the Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit of the Manhattan district attorney's office, said the tests can be used, among other things, to exclude the innocent, and can also help solve violent crimes, such as a rape where the suspect wears a condom. She said the fact that a sample is used up in testing does not disqualify the results in court.

    "If it's a choice between that or people who saw somebody fleeing, I'd rather have DNA evidence," Ms. Friel said.

    DNA collected from handled objects has already been used to help solve crimes in New York, she said, giving the example of a suspect identified by DNA taken from the bridge of his glasses, which he had left at the scene. The suspect, John Ramos, pleaded guilty to burglary and attempted rape last week and was sentenced to 20 years in prison.

    Low copy analysis presents significant challenges, beginning with the crime scene itself. Investigators must try to swab areas that only the suspect would have touched, like a discarded tool or a jewelry box. In some cases, victims will be asked to provide "elimination samples" of their own DNA. "Let's face it," said Mark Dale, the director of the Police Department's crime lab,, "this is invisible evidence."

    Because of the sample's small size, preventing contamination is a high priority. The high-sensitivity lab is a series of rooms connected by antiseptic glass cabinets or evidence pass-throughs. Test tubes will be irradiated to destroy stray chromosomes (sterilization guards against only bacteria). Legal releases are being drawn up so that DNA elimination samples can be taken from the housecleaning staff.

    The DNA will be amplified, or copied, in cycles, just as it is in conventional testing. While conventional testing generally calls for 28 cycles, low copy testing will require at least 32 cycles, Dr. Prinz said. With each cycle, the DNA can lose fidelity, just like a photocopy of a photocopy, a major reason that low copy is considered less reliable.

    If the lab succeeds, it is likely to go a long way toward setting new evidence standards for the country.

    "Ultimately, the proof is going to be in the product," said Mr. Wickenheiser. "When they show what they can do, and people look at it and say, `Gosh, we ought to be doing that.' "

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  7. #37


    June 24, 2004

    A Surge in Sensational Crimes Stokes Fears, Even as Statistics Show a Safer City


    The list, considered as a whole, is certainly unnerving.

    The body of Sarah Fox, a 21-year-old Juilliard student, is found in Inwood Hill Park. Stacy-Ann Sappleton, a Canadian bride-to-be, is found dead in a garbage bin in Queens. A business school executive is shot as he walks into a Queens subway station during the evening rush hour. A diamond district merchant is killed assassination-style on a busy Midtown avenue. A man being sought in the stabbing of his grandmother and the sexual assault of another woman is finally caught when he pushes a man onto the subway tracks at Columbus Circle. A quick-thinking policewoman shoots and kills Jose Rodriguez-DeJesus after he stabs three strangers in an afternoon rampage near Herald Square.

    And that was just May.

    June had just begun when Monica Meadows, a model, was shot in the shoulder as her subway car pulled into the Times Square station. Days later, the body of a homeless woman was found stuffed into a trunk sitting in a vacant lot in the East Village. Then a man was stabbed to death in front of tourists at the entrance to the Circle Line. In East New York, two young attackers bludgeoned a homeless man and left him to die in a church courtyard. And just Tuesday evening, a man was shot to death on a half-full subway car in Chelsea as terrified riders scattered.

    Yet the numbers show clearly that, so far, there is no such thing as the New York summer crime wave of 2004 - killings remain among the lowest in decades and have continued to decline this year. Specifically, during the 28-day period that ended June 13, there were 39 murders, down almost 5 percent from the 41 in the same period last year, according to police figures. In fact, if the murder rate remains unchanged, New York will have the lowest homicide total at the end of the year since the city began systematically recording murders in 1962, the police said.

    Similarly, robberies during the 28-day period were down almost 10 percent, to 1,784 from 1,979 last year, and felony assaults were down 5.7 percent, to 1,434 this year from 1,542 last year. Over all, violent crime was down 5.9 percent compared to that period last year.

    Yet like buses that get inexplicably bunched together on their crosstown route, there have been an unusual number of sensational crimes, one after the other, since the weather turned warmer. One expert called them "nightmare crimes" - the type that hits people viscerally and lodges in their consciousness.

    Perhaps the fact that the city is getting so safe, one expert suggested, is giving the crimes that do occur an undue share of attention. And more than one New Yorker interviewed yesterday blamed the media for exaggerating the violence. But many others said they, too, had taken note of these brazen acts.

    "I have been noticing more crimes happening," said Julie Cormier, 28, who lives in Kips Bay in Manhattan and was leaving the subway station yesterday on her way to work. "I thought I was just paying more attention," she said.

    However sensational some of the crimes may be, the police continued to emphasize what they have been saying since the middle 1990's: Crime is down all over New York.

    "The fact is that the incidence of crime remains relatively low," said Paul W. Browne, deputy commissioner of public information for the department. "But the way it's covered you wouldn't necessarily know that." While crime has decreased, Mr. Browne said, newspapers and television news devote the same amount of space and time to covering it.

    But there is perception, and there is reality, and the two rarely match. A crime in a crowded, public place, or an unsolved killing, apparently by a complete stranger, is enough to stiffen the gaits of tourists and commuters.

    "I would understand if people reading the newspapers thought that the city was not as safe as the numbers show," said Eugene O'Donnell, a former police officer and a professor of police studies at the John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan. "These are people's worst nightmare kind of crimes. You're on the subway minding your own business and then the next stop, somebody's robbed you or somebody's shot you or you're dead."

    The subway crimes seem to resonate the most, and were most on the minds of New Yorkers who were interviewed yesterday, even though homicides underground have declined sharply in the last 13 years. There were just 4 killings in the subway system in 2003, compared with 26 in 1990.

    "Most people don't become fearful from statistics," said Andrew Karmen, a professor of sociology at John Jay. "They become fearful from actual events that touch their lives. I can say, and the police can say, and the mayor can say that the violence underground is way, way down compared to what it used to be, but if somebody was on that subway car when the gunfire began or knew somebody who was shot at, that makes more difference than abstract statistical graphs. That's what influences fear level."

    One reason these crimes stand out may simply be that the city is so safe. Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani and his successor, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, have constantly reminded New Yorkers that the city is at the safest it has been in decades. Recently, Mayor Bloomberg announced that, according to a crime report by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, New York ranks 211th out of 230 cities on the total crime index, right next to Port St. Lucie, Fla.

    Every silver lining has a cloud. Fifteen years ago, crimes that would have been big news in Port St. Lucie might have hardly made the police blotter here. But now each crime looms larger when placed against the backdrop of what Mayor Bloomberg has called "the safest big city in the country."

    A look back at newspaper articles from the same period 15 years ago shows the difference.

    In May and June of 1989, the city was smoldering with fresh rage about the rape and beating of a jogger in Central Park, who was just coming out of a coma. But while the front pages were filled with stories of public outrage, the back pages were quietly reporting one startling crime after another.

    A teenager was shot and killed while sitting in a McDonald's in Manhattan. A man driving on the Long Island Expressway was wounded by a stray bullet. In addition to the reports about a man who attacked subway passengers with a knife and a metal pipe, there were eight people shot in the subway during the period, one fatally, and one man stabbed to death on a platform in front of dozens of witnesses.

    "I remember in the 80's, I remember people fighting and getting cut up on the subway all the time," said Brian Townsend, 49, a lifelong New Yorker who was in Washington Square Park yesterday. "You might be hearing about it more," he said, "but now things are more like isolated incidents."

    And while crime cycles rise and fall, the nature of crime, at least, does not change. On the first day of May 1989, newspapers reported the discovery of the body of a 19-year-old woman. She had been strangled and her body was found in Fort Tryon Park, less than a mile from the place where Sarah Fox's body would be found 15 years later.

    Anthony Ramirez and Colin Moynihan contributed reporting for this article.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  8. #38


    July 12, 2004

    11 Die in Spate of Homicides Reminiscent of Bloodier Days


    A weekend rash of 11 killings that evoked the bloody days of decades past included a shooting yesterday that sounded like a relic from those times: a man killed for his gold chain.

    The victim, Erik A. Cortes, 24, was shot on Columbia Street on the Lower East Side shortly after midnight yesterday. Mr. Cortes became the 10th homicide in the city beginning Friday night, the police said. It was followed later yesterday morning by a fatal stabbing of an unidentified man in Prospect Heights, Brooklyn.

    "The rash of homicides over the weekend is exceptional because of record low crime in New York," Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly said yesterday in a prepared statement.

    Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg, speaking yesterday after a street-naming ceremony in Queens, acknowledged the weekend's violence. "There are too many guns on the street.'' The mayor said that guns had one purpose: to kill.

    The spike in killings comes as the city's overall homicide rate remains below levels of a year ago. Through July 4, there were 273 killings in the city in 2004, down from 307 for the same period in 2003.

    The Lower East Side, where Mr. Cortes died yesterday, was where he was reared, growing up to become a dialysis technician in the Bronx and living with his mother in Yonkers, his aunt said. He had saved for some time for his white gold chain, with a cross and diamonds.

    "He was struggling not to give up the chain; he put up a fight," said his aunt, Candida Rosario. "Maybe if he would give it up, it wouldn't have happened. But he worked hard for what he earned."

    The police said he was leaning up against a car when two men approached and one shot him.

    His friend, Alex Ortiz, 24, was at a nearby playground at the time, and said yesterday: "He didn't have problems with anyone. He was in the wrong place at the wrong time. It was just for the chain."

    Since 8:45 p.m. Friday, when two men were shot, one fatally, in the Bronx, there were eight killings in Brooklyn, one in Queens, and the shooting of Mr. Cortes in Manhattan, the police said.

    In one of the shooting cases, two men died, but the second will be ruled a suicide and is not counted among the 11 victims, the police said.

    At about 6 p.m. Saturday, a 17-year-old man fatally wounded Andrew Gummo, 22, on 63rd Road in Rego Park, Queens, and then fled into a subway station, the police said. When officers chased him, he left the station and shot himself in the head in an alley off Saunders Street, the police said.

    The gunman was identified as Norris Anderson of 63rd Road.

    The last homicide occurred at about 7 a.m. yesterday, when a man was discovered with a stab wound to the stomach in front of 547 Classon Avenue, Prospect Heights, the police said. He died almost six hours later at Woodhull Hospital.

    He was not immediately identified yesterday, and the police did not suggest a motive.

    Marc Santora and Oren Yaniv contributed reporting for this article.

    Copyright 2004 The New York Times Company

  9. #39


    I sure hope NYC can keep crime rates down. These random crimes are the ones that scare me most.

  10. #40
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Most of them are usually gang related or people who knew eachother for the most par... Murder crime towards strangers rarely happens. You are more likely to die in a car accident then by a crime from someone you don't know or you might know (I watch the crime channels... they are good :wink: ).

  11. #41


    I wonder exactly what set off the crime rate this weekend. It wasn't particularly hot, and it's been nice for the past few weekends, so it's not like people have been cooped up.

  12. #42
    Forum Veteran krulltime's Avatar
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    Hundreds Of Extra Cops Hit The Streets To Stem Surge In Violence

    JULY 14TH, 2004

    Hundreds of additional police are hitting the streets after a deadly weekend in the nation's safest big city.

    Police Commissioner Ray Kelly ordered the crackdown to help stop the recent increase of violent crime.

    Officers from all bureaus will be assigned to overnight shifts in crime-plagued areas of Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Bronx. Kelly ordered the move after 11 people were killed in a three-day span.

    The extra show of force is expected to last at least two weeks.

    Despite the recent surge in violence, murders in the city are once again down significantly for the year.

    Copyright © 2004 NY1 News.

  13. #43


    Why are they neglecting Queens? Haven't quite a few of the recent shootings taken place there?

  14. #44


    I wonder exactly what set off the crime rate this weekend. It wasn't particularly hot, and it's been nice for the past few weekends, so it's not like people have been cooped up.
    Merely coincidence.

  15. #45


    Quote Originally Posted by Whitewash
    Does anyone know where I could find statistics that compare various crime rates of the different boroughs of NYC?
    Quote Originally Posted by TLOZ Link5
    The NYPD's Compstat archives can be downloaded here:

    Also, this Website provides New York's crime statistics for 2002. The 2003 statistics, save for murder and GTA which both rose very slightly, were all lower.

    Murders are down by a lot this year, though. In all honesty, you're more likely to be a victim of any sort of crime -- particularly petty crime -- in London or Paris, than you are in New York. I can't tell you about Stockholm, but the best advice I can give is to just have common sense where and when needed and you'll be fine.

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