In the late 1970s the Bronx was burning as seven different census tracts lost more than 97 percent of their buildings to fire and abandonment. The New York Times reported that 1980 was the “worst year of crime” in the city’s history with just under 2,000 homicides – an average of 34 murders per week.
But crime in New York City has fallen to record lows in the past few decades in each of the major felony categories – including murder and manslaughter, rape, assault, robbery, burglary, grand larceny and car thefts – and the Bronx has followed suit.
In 1990 there was a total of 79,825 major felonies in the Bronx and that number has lowered 75 percent over the past seventeen years, according to NYPD statistics available on nyc.gov, the official website of the city of New York. In 2017 there was less than 20,000 major felony crimes throughout the borough.
In the 50th precinct, which covers the Kingsbridge and Riverdale area including Manhattan College, crime statistics are even lower. In 2017, the precinct saw less than 1,000 major felonies. The police reported only three murders, eight rapes, and about 100 robberies last year.
Most recently, at the end of March, the Target located on 40 W. 225th Street, frequented often by Manhattan College students, was robbed. More than $140,000 was taken from the department store’s safe. According to articles by multiple news sources, including The Riverdale Press and NY1, no one was injured in the incident.
Grand larceny was by far the highest committed crime in the 50th precinct in 2017, occurring over 520 times. Grand larceny is broadly defined as the loss of property valued over $1,000, and most commonly belongings like laptops, wallets, credit cards, and automobiles are what is reported stolen. So far in the first three months of 2018, there have been 99 complaints of grand larceny in the neighborhood.
Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. has worked on several initiatives that have helped to reduce crime. Most recently he helped raise the age of criminal responsibility to 18, which means that young people in New York who commit non-violent crimes receive the intervention and evidence-based treatment they need. The legislation is going to help keep young people out of the penalizing criminal justice and is aimed to lower crime.
Diaz Jr. also fought to end the city’s former “stop and frisk” program, which allowed NYPD officers to detain and search people for often vague pretenses. If any illegal item or substance was found, an arrest resulted. The program was put to rest in 2014 and crime has continued to decrease not only in the Bronx but throughout the city as a whole.
In his ninth State of the Borough address this past February at the Bronx High School of Science, Diaz Jr. said that “For the fifth straight year we had less than 100 homicides in our borough, and this year the number dropped to an all-time low. We have done this compassionately, and with a commitment to a fairer, more humane criminal justice system. That’s why The Bronx is safer.”