I honestly haven’t been keeping close tabs on what some people are saying is an increase in knife violence in New York City, which they attribute to the very strict gun control laws there.
But the buzz surrounding this reminded me of a presentation I went to at the annual meeting of the American Society of Criminology in Washington, D.C. last fall.
Scholars from the John Jay College of Criminal Justice Research and Evaluation Center were presenting findings from their evaluation of a public health approach to reducing violence based on the Chicago Cease Fire model (sometimes called the “Cure Violence” model).
Reviewing 10 years of data on 52,714 victims of violence who presented at NYC hospitals revealed the following:
That’s right: almost four times as many victims of stabbings as of shootings. Since stabbings are not exactly rare events in NYC, especially in comparison to shootings, I am not sure what all the fuss is about with these recent stabbings, other than perhaps they are being done more randomly, brazenly, publicly.
The other interesting piece of data the John Jay scholars presented was 10 year trajectories of young adult male (YAM) gun violence incidents by neighborhood:
The violence story this table tells is notable: 98 percent of the neighborhoods in New York had zero, little to no, or low levels of violence.
The 13 percent of neighborhoods that had low levels of violence also saw a decline in violence over the 10 year period.
Of the 2 percent of neighborhoods that had elevated rates of violence, there were signs of decline in the last third of the period under study.
Is this what epidemics look like?