New York City’s crime rate dropped this year to its lowest level since the 1950s, according to data released by the New York Police Department.
According to the Wall Street Journal, the NYPD recorded 286 murders in 2017 as of Wednesday, which places the city on track to finish the year with fewer than 300 murders for the first time since the 1950s.
The Journal noted that there were 329 recorded murders at the same point last year and 2,245 murders in 1990, the record high.
NYPD officials said murders dropped even as the city’s population grew.
“The homicide rate per capita is lower than anything we have ever seen,” J. Peter Donald, a spokesman for the NYPD, wrote Thursday on Twitter.
He added that there were 1.5 million fewer people living in New York the last time the rate was this low:
When there were 1.5 million fewer people living in New York. The homicide rate per capita is lower than anything we have ever seen https://t.co/67TVXQwh3b
— J. Peter Donald (@JPeterDonald) December 28, 2017
The New York Times reported that including murder, felony crimes — manslaughter, rape, assault, robbery, burglary, grand larceny, and car thefts — also dropped in 2017 to a total of 94,806 as of Sunday, a decrease from 101,716 last year.
Officials told the Times that they saw an uptick in reports of rape toward the end of the year. They said the increase coincided with a national wave of sexual assault allegations against men including Hollywood producer Harvey Weinstein and former NBC “Today” host Matt Lauer, often referred to as the #MeToo movement. Police said the national conversation prompted by those allegations may have played a role in encouraging victims to come forward. They also touted their own efforts to encourage victims of domestic violence to come forward.
The Times also reported that there were 3,585 reports of misdemeanor sex crimes, which includes crimes such as groping, an increase of 9.3 percent.
Reuters called the dip in crime a “vindication” for New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio (D) who once campaigned on his opposition to the NYPD’s “stop and frisk” policy, the practice of random searches for illegal drugs and weapons. Reuters noted that in 2013, a federal judge ruled the policy was unconstitutional and disproportionately targeted African-Americans and Hispanics. Supporters of the policy had argued that crime would increase without its use.