New York, New York. I Still Love Ya, Even With The Crime

When I was in my late teens, I was lucky enough to go play around in Manhattan during the Koch years, when the city was dirty, corrupt, a horrorshow on every block. It was a ten dollar train ride from NJ and a small trip under the Hudson. My crew of malcontents would go upstairs to 9th Street, and immediately hit the bodega to get our Old English 800 forties, our nitrous crackers, and bottles of Rush. We’d poke into some of the cool record shops and bookstores, and often spent time in the Bowery to go see shows at CBGB. We found tiny holes in the wall that would serve alcohol to us because most of us were tall and besides, who the fuck is keeping tabs on the alcohol trade in NYC?

We would end our day of partying and odd mischief at Gray’s Papaya and wolf down 30 cent hot dogs at 2am. I usually had about seven because I had had nothing to eat all day.

What a privilege, to see one of the world’s biggest cities just before it got cleaned up by “crime fighters” like Rudy Giuliani.

Sure, there was prostitution, drugs, petty thievery, homelessness. But I never feared for my life in New York City. I’m sure murder was happening somewhere, but the worst that ever happened to me is that I bought a dime bag of oregano, got taken in a game of Three Card Monty, and buying a videocamera that looked like it fell off a truck brand new but when I opened the box, it was full of newspaper.

Other than that, the music scene was still kicking. Bands who got their notoriety in far flung places like Texas and Illinois were still showing up and giving unforgettable entertainment, sometimes for $6 a ticket.

Trump and people like him are bitching that low crime is not being addressed. And since Trump tells on himself daily, he is helping highlight the fact that white collar crime, his type of crime, is being prosecuted while robbery and other crimes of desperation are not. The evidence of that, however, is thin.

Judd Legum, alumnus of the defunct ThinkProgress, has the scoop in his free newsletter, Popular Information:

According to reports, Manhattan District Attorney Alvin Bragg (D) is close to indicting former President Donald Trump for falsifying business records and violating campaign finance laws in relation to a $130,000 hush money payment to Stormy Daniels, a former adult film star who says that she had an affair with Trump. On Saturday, Trump announced on Truth Social that he was anticipating being arrested Tuesday, although that did not happen. 

But at the CPAC Conference earlier this month, Trump claimed that Bragg “is presiding over one of the most dangerous and violent cities in the United States… where killings are taking place at a number like nobody’s ever seen, right in Manhattan.” Trump told the crowd that Bragg should focus on stemming the alleged increase in violent crime instead of the “now ancient” story of Stormy Daniels “where there is no crime anyway.” 

Stoking fears of a “violent crime wave” is a well-worn Republican strategy. But crime data for New York City doesn’t support these claims – if anything, it shows the opposite. 

According to crime statistics from the New York Police Department (NYPD), overall index crime – which includes murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, grand larceny, and auto theft – went down by nearly 6% last month compared to February 2022 last year. Shooting incidents and murders in February 2023 were also down 15% and 28%, respectively, compared to the same period last year. 

So far this year, the total number of murders in the city is 66 – a 19% decrease compared to the same time last year. This number is also 83% lower than 30 years ago. Similarly, the number of shooting incidents is down by 21% in 2023 compared to the same time last year. Incidents of felony assault and grand larceny auto are up this year compared to this time in 2022, but counts of rape, robbery, burglary, and grand larceny have gone down. 

Incidents of the seven major felony offenses in New York City totaled 126,589 in 2022, up 19% from the previous year. But this is roughly the same level as in 2006, when there were a total of 128,682 such incidents. And last year’s level of major felony offenses in New York City was still 46% lower than in 2000. 

Subway crime is also falling. Between last October and January of this year, crimes on the subway dropped 16% compared with the same period a year before, New York City Mayor Eric Adams announced earlier this year. 

New York City remains the safest of America’s six largest cities. It is also safer than most smaller metro areas as well. Manhattan, the borough that Bragg represents, is one of the safest places to live in the entire United States. 

That is the truth now, and was the truth then when I played on the “mean streets” of Manhattan.

These crimes are sometimes misdemeanors, and some definitely felonies. But compared to the twice-impeached president’s crimes, they are not high crimes, nor misdemeanors in the way the Constitution is lettered.

It would be my recommendation to the citizens of The United States that they prosecute the real crooks in our country-crooks that almost ended democracy. Crooks that almost put members of Congress in mortal danger. All because some cult leader couldn’t handle being repudiated in a fair election.

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