New York Murder Mystery: The True Story Behind the Crime Crash of the 1990s

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Overview

In 1990, New Yorkers were being murdered at a record clip of over 2,200 a year. By the end of the decade, the body count had plunged by more than two-thirds. The number of robberies, car thefts, and other street crimes reported to the police also plummeted. Although this unprecedented and unexpected crime crash was categorized in the media and political circles as "astonishing" and even a "miracle," no blue ribbon commission was set up to investigate its causes. Instead, elected officials, pundits, criminal justice professionals, and academics speculated and debated about the factors behind the mysteriously shrinking crime rate." "Using data about patterns, trends, and statistical associations over the past two decades, Andrew Karmen's research uncovers the real reasons that brought about the crash. Providing both a local and a national context for New York's plunging crime rate, Karmen tests - and debunks - the many self-serving explanations for the decline. Is there clear and convincing evidence to support widely held beliefs and the most insistent claims for credit? Are there important underlying developments in the City and across the country that have been overlooked?
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Editorial Reviews

Booknews
In the 1990s, New Yorkers were being murdered at a rate of over 2,200 a year. By the end of the decade, the body count had plunged by more than two-thirds. Using data about patterns, trends, and statistical associations over the past two decades, the author's research uncovers the reasons behind the "crime crash." Providing both a local and national context for the city's plunging crime rate, Karmen (sociology, John Jay College of Criminal Justice, City University of New York) debunks the many self-serving explanations for the decline. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (booknews.com)
From the Publisher

“Karmen has written a book that anyone interested in the New York City crime story should read. Nobody has written about the NYC drop in crime more comprehensively or more even-handedly. This book assesses a complicated story with an air of confidence and produces a convincing analysis. Those who think they already know the story are bound to be surprised by what they read here, and those who want to draw policy conclusions for New York's experience will find Karmen’s reliable analysis helps them avoid some of the pitfalls in the cyclical fads of criminal justice reform.”
-Todd R. Clear,President of the Academy of Criminal Justice Sciences

“New York Murder Mystery is long overdue. It provides a well-written, illuminating analysis of an issue often subject to self-serving and simplistic sound-bites. Guided by Karmen’s thoughtful and thorough presentation, we come to understand all the factors contributing to the last decade's crime drop. We learn to credit not only new police tactics, demographics declines, and a prosperous economy but also the many thousands of youth who practiced wisdom and discipline in avoiding the self-defeating behavior patterns of their older friends and relatives.”
-Robert Gangi,Executive Director, The Correctional Association

“With this elegant sweep, the author has parted the curtain to reveal a gaseous windbag behind the bombast attending the miraculous claims of today's wizards. Bravo.”
-Tony Bouza, Law Enforcement News

“Systematically debunks popularly accepted reasons for the crime crash by wedding closely analyzed statistical data with common sense and historical precedent. . . . After reading this book, one thing becomes certain: today's New York isn't what it used to be.”
-Villager

,

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780814748046
  • Publisher: New York University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2006
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 336
  • Product dimensions: 5.70 (w) x 8.70 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Andrew Karmen is professor of sociology at John Jay College of Criminal Justice at the City University of New York and author of Crime Victims: An Introduction to Victimology.

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