Crime down, hope up: Safer streets are good for everyone except Donald Trump

A NYPD police patrol car sits outside Trump Tower in New York City on March 27, 2023. Donald Trump staged his first presidential campaign rally in Texas March 25, 2023, brushing off his potential indictment as he railed against multiple criminal probes threatening his bid for the White House. (Photo by Leonardo Munoz/AFP/Getty Images/TNS)

Making meaningful progress in the lives of New Yorkers, for the second year running, murders and shootings have gone down. And unlike 2022’s drops, 2023’s — homicides down 11% year over year, shootings down 24% — were accompanied by declines in most other types of crime. Unfortunately, there were exceptions: Assaults went up modestly, and car thefts jumped significantly.

Anytime a person is shot or robbed or raped or killed, the rippling ramifications to families and neighborhoods (it’s disproportionately poorer areas where such crimes happen) are profound. We don’t often talk about the positive dividends of having many fewer such ruptures, but they are worth celebrating. Even as Mayor Eric Adams struggles on many fronts, even though all this may be happening largely because COVID and its concomitant disruptions keep fading, the bending of this trendline is the sign of a mayoralty with a beating heart. May it continue; may it accelerate.


The drop is a partial rejoinder to those who said New York couldn’t get safer unless and until Albany wholly scrapped misguided bail reforms passed in 2019 and amended thrice since. It’s a rebuttal to those who say that migrants bring crime; even as they arrived in record numbers, the city grew safer. And it’s a corrective to those on the left who were absolutely sure that a bad Supreme Court gun law ruling in mid-2022 would usher in fresh waves of bloodshed.

It is theoretically possible we might have seen ever sharper drops if the opposite had happened in each case. But in this reality, living is getting safer. Take that, congressional Republicans, who just got more egg on their faces after contriving a ridiculous April 2023 field hearing to try to embarrass Manhattan DA Alvin Bragg and make New York, a place safer than the backyards of many GOP congressmen, look like a Democratic hellhole.

Nor is New York an anomaly, as it has been many other years. Last year, across America, declining crime was a widespread urban story. In a sample of 175 American cities compiled by independent criminologist Jeff Asher, murder is down by almost 13%— among the sharpest drops on record. Federal data says other categories of violent crime are down too. Property crime is also moving in the right direction.

As we kick off an election year in which Republicans, including the liar likely to be at the top of the GOP ticket, insist that the United States and especially its cities are overrun by illegal immigrants and woke leftists who refuse to enforce the law, Americans need to know that Chicago, Detroit, Los Angeles, New York, Baltimore and other major metropolitan areas are increasingly places where seniors can safely walk to the pharmacy and kids can safely walk to school.

There are painful exceptions — chief among them Washington, D.C., which gets outsize attention thanks to its symbolism and proximity to the levers of federal power — but the rule is heartening.

Thanks to some combination of ingrained pessimism and bad reporting and demagoguery by public officials, a majority of Americans think crime is rising. They’re wrong. Under Donald Trump, homicides and other violent crime went up. Under a Democratic president named Joe Biden and Democratic mayors of many ideological stripes, American carnage is falling. Those facts don’t care about your feelings.