Saturday, February 16, 2013
East Harlem in New York City and the African nation of Brazil have something in common - a high murder rate
The Manhattan neighborhood’s 21 murders per 100,000 residents mirrored the rate in the crime-ravaged South American country, according to a Columbia University study that compared every city precinct’s homicide rate with a UN member. New York finished 2012 with 419 homicides — an average of just 3.8 killings per every 100,000 residents. But Hunts Point in The Bronx had 15.3 murders per 100,000, about the same as the West African nation of Benin. Mott Haven-Melrose in The Bronx, with 13.1 killings, tied with post-revolutionary Nicaragua. And another Bronx neighborhood, University Heights, with 10.1, was just under mob-riven Russia’s 10.2. The comparisons — compiled by Columbia’s The New York World — angered residents. “It’s unfair to compare us to Brazil. I’ve never been there, but I hear that unless you’re at a resort, it’s dangerous for tourists,” fumed Brenda Lopez, 25, a homemaker from East Harlem. “I’ve lived in East Harlem my whole life and I feel safer now than I ever have. Maybe it’s because I’m used to it.” But as musician Mahammad Baba, 25, added, “The numbers don’t lie.” University Heights social worker Annabelle Rojas, 33, said that the statistics make her nervous. “I really don’t like the sound of those odds. I almost feel worse knowing the numbers because it really puts into perspective how bad things are. I don’t feel safe anywhere anymore,” she said. “The Bronx is especially bad. The killings always seem so random and senseless.” In the 24th Precinct on the Upper West Side, there were 3.7 killings per 100,000, the same rate as Chile. “I feel safe here usually. I’ve been here since I was a teenager, used to hang out at 2 in the morning. Nowadays, I have to think twice before I go out that late,” said Al Galeano, 44, a liquor-store worker. “I would never think that the rating for the Upper West Side would be so high. It’s low compared to other neighborhoods but still surprising. Hopefully the rating will be zero next year.” On the bright side, the Seventh Precinct on the Lower East Side and 19th on the Upper East Side had zero homicides, same as Iceland, while Park Slope’s 1.64 matched Slovakia. In Staten Island, New Dorp’s rate of 1 matched that of Italy. The New York World got the stats from the UN’s Office on Drugs and Crime, which maintains a world database of global slay homicide rates. In general, the more blacks and/or Hispanics a New York neighborhood has, the higher its homicide rate.