Crime increase in New York City


A collection of drinks behind a lock at a CVS.

New York City crime has been on an upswing for the past year on public transportation, behind the scenes of the city, or even out in the middle of the street. 

Major crimes in the city have been up 38% just this year, as tracked by the New York Police Department. All categories have increased greatly, including robbery is up 38%, felony assaults are up 6%, and overall hate crimes are up by a startling 79%. 

Reports of assault have hit their highest numbers since the 1990s. The NYPD counted 461 underground assaults, 102 more than in 2020.

Aside from the vast number of crimes reported in the news, even just taking the train or walking to school gives you a firsthand look into this adversity. One of the major crimes that has been at a major uprise is robbery and theft. 

Drugstores and stories that provide necessities have seemed to become a major target for burglaries. 

A Duane Reade employee stationed on the upper east side of Manhattan spoke on robberies at their store: “We lock up the most popular to steal items, especially ice cream. Other things are just what we aren’t willing to risk to lose. It has been like this for like a year now ever since I came here.” 

A second employee at a nearby CVS spoke similarly on the topic: “There’s a lot of theft in this store, more than usual. It’s really bad, they try to just protect all of the products for the customers. It’s all of the necessities: body wash, skincare, deodorant, all the necessities Even the dishwashing liquid.” 

Although robberies of products provided by these chain stories may not seem as substantial as the brutal murders and attacks on public transportation,  the rising rates are still a major concern within such franchises. 

Our community at the iSchool comes from all across the city. From the Bronx to Queens, students have to travel every morning to come to school every day. The vast majority of the iSchool has a commute of thirty minutes to two hours. Whether this is using public transportation, or even walking through the streets of Soho, students experience citywide crimes firsthand. 

As for iSchool students in the 10th grade, starting the commute to high school after online school for a year and a half has proved to be difficult in many ways. Because of how much higher crime rates are compared to 2019, pre-pandemic, going back to using public transportation with this newly developed fear can prove to be difficult. 

iSchool sophomore Kadiza Aktar resides in Queens, New York. Just this year, she started to commute from her residence to school in lower Manhattan. A drastic change of setting tied in with the crime uprise influences Aktars everyday experiences with crime.

She shares, “Since I grew up in Queens I feel safer there, but commuting to school or being on the train makes me worry for my safety… anything can happen at any given moment, if you’re in a new borough or a borough you’re not familiar with you are more prone to getting lost, opening you up to certain dangers.”

The Coronavirus pandemic that has continued on for two years now has majorly affected crime rates. There are multiple trends that followed the surge of the pandemic. 

New mayor, Eric Adams has plans to address the upward trending crime rates. His new safety plan as of February 22nd, 2022 includes making changes to different aspects of subway stations. Teams consisting of two police officers, an outreach worker, and a clinician are being mobilized through six subway lines, including the A, E, 1, 3, N and R. 

However, the plan targets the vast homeless population of the city. Adams’ plan consists of providing services to the homeless as they see them as well as kicking anyone off the train at the end of the line. This is leaving the homeless with no place to go considering that the train stations and tunnels may be their homes. This could leave them even more vulnerable to fall victim to violent crimes. 

NBC follows Jacquelyn Simone of the Coalition for the Homeless, “Not all people who are homeless have mental illness, and not all people who have mental illness are violent or pose a danger to themselves or others, and in fact, people who are homeless and people who have mental illness are more likely to be the victims of crimes than the perpetrators.”

Supporting New York City’s homeless population while keeping the streets safe has proven to be a difficult scenario. 

Overall, violence towards different groups of people has become a substantial issue around different parts of the city, specifically pandemic-based violence towards Asian Americans has seemed to become a greater issue. A 233% increase in subway incidents targeting New York City’s Asian population has been observed by the Hate Crime Task Force. 

On January 16th, 2022, Asian American woman Michelle Go was pushed in front of an oncoming train in Times Square and tragically passed away from the impact. This has created a sense of fear within different cultural groups around the city, especially with the frequent usage of public transportation. 

More research is being conducted to determine if such crimes were racially biased as well as the fact that the perpetrator was unhoused and had a series of mental illnesses as well as previous felonies. 

This ties in the idea of different motivations as well as the city’s homelessness problem as stated previously.

Subway harassment has become a commonality for so many people living in the city.

Aktar shares, “Coming to school or walking to the subway I’ve seen people get followed, young girls in particular or some dude will try whistling at them or try to spark a conversation. It’s really weird because they don’t stop.”

Gender-based street harassment of women has become far too common within the population of New York City. According to CNN, “90% of women say they experienced their first street harassment before turning 17.” This issue is very widespread throughout all different parts of the world. However, New York City seems to be greatly affected. 

Actions need to be taken to address this growing adversity in New York City, the place that so many people call their home. Safety is a top priority for the people, and not feeling safe in locations that you occupy daily. Under new leadership, let’s hope we can push through this issue and assure safety for all.