From New York to Los Angeles, police departments are touting big drops in their number murder rate—and for good reason. If the country’s largest and most historically violent cities are any marker, the U.S. is on track to have one of the lowest murder rates in four decades, continuing a steady decline in overall violent crime.
Data provided by police departments in the ten cities with the highest number of murders in 2012 shows that eight out of ten saw a significant drop in both total murders and rates in 2013. New York and Philadelphia lead the pack in the sharpest declines. Despite the headlines, Chicago was a safer city in 2013. Though it still leads the nation in number of murders, Chicago had a larger drop than any other city last year.
Here’s how the most dangerous cities fared in 2013.
2013 was a pretty good year for Chicagoans. With 412 deaths, more murders happened in the Second City than any other, but 91 fewer people there lost their lives in 2013 than in 2012, an 18 percent decline. That’s the fewest since 1965. It’s an accomplishment that Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy is proud of, but not resting on. “Four hundred murders is nothing to celebrate, let’s be clear. But the fact is, progress is being made,” he told reporters. The rate fell to about 43 murders per 100,000 residents from of 50 last year.
2. New York—333
New York murders fell to a record low in 2013. At less than one murder a day, the rate per 100,000 residents fell 20 percent from last year, and at 4.0, it was the only top-ten city to fall below the national average of 4.7. Though 2014 has gotten off to a less than stellar start: two people were killed there on New Year’s Day.
One more murder and Detroit would have taken the number two spot. Although the murder rate is still the highest of the big cities, there were 54 fewer murders in the Motor City than in 2012, a drop of 14 percent. It’s only the fourth time in 30 years that murders have fallen below 350. Detroit Police Chief James Craig has credited the drop in violent crime to a data-driven approach and says, “This reduction is going to be sustainable.”
More articles from The Daily Beast:
- Obama To Cut Middle East Democracy Programs
- After Years of Waiting, Millions of Workers Are About to Get a Raise
- 2013 Was a Terrible Year for Evolution
© 2013 Newsweek/Daily Beast Company LLC