This New York City Has Been Named the Murder Capital of the State


New York City, the most populous city in the United States, is known for being a safe and thriving metropolis. However, not all areas of the city are as quiet. In reality, several areas have seen an increase in gun violence and killings in recent years, earning the unpleasant reputation of “Murder Capital of New York.”

What Are the Stats?

According to data from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and the Metropolitan Police Department of the District of Columbia, New York City’s murder rate was 5.9 per 100,000 persons in 2020. This was a 45 percent rise from 2019 when the rate was 4.1 per 100,000 inhabitants. The city last had a comparable homicide rate in 2009, when it was 6.1 per 100,000 people.

However, these figures obscure the enormous heterogeneity between boroughs and neighborhoods. For example, in 2020, Brooklyn and the Bronx had the highest murder rates, with 8.9 and 8.8 per 100,000 population, respectively. In comparison, Staten Island and Manhattan had the lowest rates, with 3.1 and 3.4 per 100,000 persons, respectively. Queens had a modest rate of 4.7 per 100,000 people.

In Brooklyn and the Bronx, certain communities had significantly greater murder rates than the borough averages. According to NYPD Compstat, the three most impacted communities in 2020 were Brownsville (73rd precinct), East New York (75th precinct), and Morrisania (42nd precinct), with 38, 36, and 28 homicides, respectively.

These neighborhoods also had the most gunshot incidences, with 304, 283, and 193, respectively. Interestingly, eight of these areas had the highest number of gunshots in 1993, when the city experienced a spike in crime.

What Are the Causes?

There is no conclusive explanation as to what is causing the high levels of violence in certain areas of New York City. However, several academics and officials have proposed certain potential causes, such as:

  • The COVID-19 epidemic, which interrupted regular city operations, caused stress and hardship for many citizens and decreased access to social services and community programming.
  • The police reform movement caused protests and turmoil following the shooting of George Floyd and resulted in a drop in police morale and efficacy.
  • The widespread availability of illicit guns makes it simpler for criminals and gangs to obtain and use weapons.
  • Socioeconomic disparity created a divide between the affluent and the poor and instilled pessimism and animosity in certain parts of society.

What Are the Solutions?

The problem of violence in New York City cannot be solved easily or quickly. However, some potential approaches to remedy the issue are:

  • Improving public health response to the epidemic by improving vaccination rates, providing financial and mental health assistance, and resuming normal school and business operations.
  • Improving police-community relations by boosting police accountability and openness, implementing the NYPD reform plan recommendations, and encouraging officers and citizens to communicate and collaborate.
  • Reducing access to illicit firearms by enforcing current laws, enhancing background checks, and targeting weapon suppliers and traffickers.
  • Reducing socioeconomic inequality via investments in education, employment, housing, and health care, as well as providing greater opportunities and resources to poor and marginalized populations.


New York City is seeing an increase in gun violence, garnering the unfavorable nickname of the “Murder Capital of New York.” While the city’s murder rate grew by 45% in 2020, there are major variances between boroughs and areas. Communities like as Brownsville, East New York, and Morrisania had increasing homicide rates, which might be attributed to variables such as the COVID-19 epidemic, police reform initiatives, and firearms accessibility.

Addressing this issue involves a multimodal strategy that includes public health interventions, improved police-community relationships, weapons control measures, and attempts to minimize socioeconomic gaps.

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