safest for all crime
midtown south/midtown north precincts / population 74,717
Millions of people, from office workers to tourists to support workers, can be found in Midtown on any given day. Yet, only 74,717 people live in the twin precincts that make up this neighborhood, which is bordered by 29th Street to the south, Lexington Avenue to the east, Central Park to the north and Ninth Avenue below 43rd Street to the west, in Midtown South, and the Hudson River between 43rd Street and 59th Street to the west, in Midtown North. The neighborhood overlaps with a portion of Chelsea & Hell's Kitchen.
Where tourists congregate, crime invariably happens, and a lack of a large residential population combined with a high number of transient visitors could explain why Midtown Manhattan is ranked dead last in DNAinfo.com's list of neighborhoods for overall safety: 69th out of 69.
When it comes to per capita criminal activity, Midtown registered 723 major crimes per 10,000. Rapes jumped a disturbing 146 percent in 2010, from 13 attacks in 2009 to 32, and felony assaults rose 14 percent, from 274 to 313. But officials claim that the numbers tell only part of the story.
Rapes have risen citywide, they say, because more women are coming forward rather than keeping the incidents private. They also say that the increase coincides with the growing number of new clubs, bars and restaurants in Midtown, which have boosted the area's popularity among tourists and New Yorkers alike.
In fact, serious crime fell 7 percent in last year in Midtown, continuing a 17-year trend during which crime plunged 80 percent between 1993 and 2010. Burglaries fell by 19 percent and grand larcenies by 7 percent last year alone. Only three murders were committed in 2010, and less than one robbery on average occurred each day. Officials insist that these are amazing figures, considering that the neighborhood is a bustling center of tourism, business and nightlife. But the numbers were not good enough to lift Midtown from its last-place rank.
Increase in felony assault in both Midtown precincts from 2009 to 2010
Drop in burglaries in both Midtown precincts from 2009 to 2010
Photo: Getty/NY Daily News Archive
On May 10, 2001, Jennifer Stahl, a former actress who sold marijuana on the side, was with four of her friends in her apartment, above the Carnegie Deli on Seventh Avenue. Two men, Sean Salley (pictured, right) and Andre Smith, whom she barely knew, showed up under the pretext of purchasing pot, but robbed Stahl of her money and her stash. They forced all five friends at gunpoint to lie face down on the living room floor and tied their wrists and ankles with duct tape. The two then systematically shot each victim in the head to ensure that there would be no witnesses. Three people, including Stahl, were killed. Two survived and testified. Salley and Smith were each sentenced to 120 years-to-life in prison.
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