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NCJRS Abstract

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NCJ Number: 76707 Find in a Library
Title: Open City - The Bad Guys Are Winning the War on Crime
Journal: New York  Volume:14  Issue:3  Dated:(January 19, 1981)  Pages:20-26
Author(s): N Pileggi
Date Published: 1981
Page Count: 7
Format: Article
Language: English
Country: United States of America
Annotation: This article examines the problem of crime in New York City in terms of incidence, police response, and proposed legislation.
Abstract: New York is now an open city for criminals. The sheer number of crimes committed has overwhelmed a police department whose manpower has been cut by one-third since 1970. Murders, the most reliably reported crime jumped from 390 in 1960 to 1,117 in 1970 and to 1,787 in 1980, representing a 60-percent increase during the last decade. A total of 180,000 burglaries were reported in 1979, and 156,995 were reported during the first 9 months of 1980. During the first 9 months of 1980, 465,166 felonies were reported, an increase of 18.8 percent increase over the same period in 1979. The ability of police to solve cases varied according to type of crime. Arrests were made in about 40 percent of the 2,913 reported forcible rapes of 1980. However, there were only 15,078 arrests for 73,638 reported robberies and only 14,937 arrests for those 156,995 burglaries on file. Even arrest statistics can be deceiving, because not every suspect comes to trial. A more accurate reflection of the system in terms of efficiency is the number of cases that are cleared, though not necessarily ending in conviction. The clearance rate for robbery last year was 13.8 percent; the clearance rate for rape cases was 31.5 percent and for burglary it was 6.5 percent. The situation is so bad that police and city officials have tacitly agreed to allow certain kinds of criminal behavior to go on without harassment or punishment. The 22,340 members of the New York City Police Department are unable to manage the volume of crime. Similarly, the workload of one criminal court judge is now 120 cases per day. Legislation backing a tough, comprehensive anticrime program has recently been proposed. However, it appears unlikely that such efforts will be approved. Once again, it may be a case of the politicians dragging along behind the will of the citizenry. Photographs are provided.
Index Term(s): Crime Rate; Crimes against persons; Criminal investigation; New York; Offenders; Police effectiveness; Police manpower deployment; Property crimes
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