It's not universal, it's not quite the end of the year, it's not official yet -- etc., etc., etc. But for New York City, at least, the New York Times Reports:
Crime in New York City Plunges to a Level Not Seen Since the 1950s
It would have seemed unbelievable in 1990, when there were 2,245 killings in New York City, but as of Wednesday there have been just 286 in the city this year — the lowest since reliable records have been kept.
In fact, crime has fallen in New York City in each of the major felony categories — murder and manslaughter, rape, assault, robbery, burglary, grand larceny, and car thefts — to a total of 94,806 as of Sunday, well below the previous record low of 101,716 set last year.
If the trend holds just a few more days, this year’s homicide total will be under the city’s previous low of 333 in 2014, and crime will have declined for 27 straight years, to levels that police officials have said are the lowest since the 1950s. The numbers, when taken together, portray a city of 8.5 million people growing safer even as the police, under Mayor Bill de Blasio, use less deadly force, make fewer arrests and scale back controversial practices like stopping and frisking thousands of people on the streets.
This jibes with Harvard Prof. Steven Pinker's book, "The Better Angels of Our Nature: Why Violence Has Declined," which posits that we are living in the safest time in human history.
Of course, not everyone lives in a safe neighborhood. I wish they did. But plenty of people lucky enough to live in non-crime-wracked places act as if they are unlucky enough to live in a war zone. This is a waste of good fortune, and a bit of ingratitude.
No city, no suburb -- no place on earth -- is ever completely safe. But if the reason we are not sending our kids outside to play or walk to school is a fear of crime, it is time for an adjustment. We must recognize that the screaming headlines about this or that tragedy do not reflect the overall truth: That violent crime has dropped since most of today's parents were kids. (In New York City it is a 90% decline in 27 years.) And it's not that times are safer because we never let kids go outside. It's safer for adults, too, and we do not hyper-supervise them.
So celebrate this good news, even if it requires a leap of faith in statistics versus gut level fear. And any kids reading this: Show it to your parents. The childhood you save could be your own.