Is New York City safe?

Disclaimer: These analyses and conclusions are based on the reported data available. This blog post is not indicative of actual safety and police measures in New York City. We heart everyone and everything about New York.

Being lovers of all things data, it’s like Christmas morning whenever new open source data sets become publicly consumable. When New York City’s open data project recently updated its database with the happenings of “New York’s Finest”, we couldn’t wait to dig in. We were particularly curious about crime in the Big Apple and the measures the New York Police Department took, so into the data on major felony offenses from 2000-2014 and Stop, Question & Frisk records from 2015 we went. 

After downloading these data sets, we connected the files to BIME in just a couple minutes and here’s what we uncovered. 


Crime in NYC is down, folks!

Between 2000 and 2014, incidents of major felonies fell just over 42%. The biggest contributor to this decrease is the drop in grand larceny of a motor vehicle, which fell by a whopping 78%. 


Manhattan and Queens are becoming safer, but don’t forget your street smarts in Hell’s Kitchen and Cypress Hills. 

Major felonies in the borough of Manhattan fell by 47%, with Queens only just slightly behind at 46.6%. While all boroughs saw a decrease in felony incidents, Staten Island improved the least with a decrease of just 31% (not too shabby though!)

In terms of individual police precincts, the 14th in Hell’s Kitchen (Manhattan) and the 75th in Cypress Hills (Brooklyn) are still reporting high number of felonies. These two precincts combined make up just over 6% of all major felony incidents. That’s a lot, considering there are 77 precincts in all of NYC. 


Dig into our interactive dashboard. Click on any pie slice, year column, or map bubble to apply it as a filter. We’ve also added a global filter at the top right, so you can drill into each borough.



You are less likely to get stopped by police in September.

In 2015, a total of 22,563 people were stopped by the NYPD. Drilling into stops per month, you find that September saw the least number of people stopped. Also, the percentage of arrests in September was 7% below the annual average.


Discretionary force is typically used, except in Manhattan's 18th precinct.

A police weapon was drawn in only 1.8% of cases, but handcuffs were used in just over 15%. The most “heavy-handed” precinct overall was the 18th in Manhattan who used force in a staggering 63% of cases. It’s especially jarring when you compare that precinct to the 107th in Queens, who used force on only 15% of people stopped.


Most likely to get arrested: 20 years-old male, 5’ 8”, 160 lbs

The most likely profile to be stopped in NYC is a 20 years-old male who is 5’ 8” and 160 lbs. When you dig deeper into demographic data, you’ll also find that over half (53%) of all people stopped were classified as black. (According to Wikipedia, the black population make up only 25.1% of the New York City population in 2008).


Here’s the interactive dashboard. Click on the tabs to navigate between different analyses, like use of physical force, demographics, and location.


Learn more about how to create these dashboards with BIME. And for more NYC open data goodness, check out Ben Wellington's TED talk, where he shows how the worst place to park in NYC.