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Opinion
Justin Fox

New York City Is a Lot Safer Than Small-Town America

Rising homicide rates don’t tell the whole story. When you dig deeper into data on deaths, you'll find the more urban your surroundings, the less danger you face.

It’s dangerous out there.

It’s dangerous out there.

Illustration: Jessica Karl

Updated on

Since the summer of 2020 the United States has been experiencing a deadly wave of violence, and New York City has not been immune. The number of homicides in the city shot up 47% in 2020, and rose another 4% last year. While the tally is down 9% so far this year there have been some shocking murders, not to mention a mass shooting on the subway that miraculously didn’t take any lives.

Regular consumers of the news would thus be forgiven for believing that the Big Apple has become a terribly dangerous place. And yes, it is markedly more dangerous than it was before the pandemic. I’m not here to dismiss concerns about rising crime in the city. But a little context is in order. And by “a little context,” I mean a lot of charts.