safest for all crime
20th/22nd/24th precincts / population 209,109
The Upper West Side, covered by the 20th, 24th and Central Park Precincts, is less quirky than Jerry Seinfeld would have you believe. And it's a lot safer than when his sitcom was at its prime, in the mid-1990s.
Major crime was down 78 percent from 1993 to 2010, with nearly 9,500 reported incidents dropping to 2,075 for all three precincts. All categories declined significantly, but car thefts plunged the most, by 96 percent, to 78, compared to approximately 2,140 in 1993. Burglaries were down 89 percent, to 227 from more than 2,000, while robberies dropped by 82 percent on average for the area, to 305.
Overall, crime rates have continued their long-term decline on the Upper West Side, falling less than 2 percent from 2009 to 2010. The area ranks 18th out of 69 neighborhoods for per capita crime in DNAinfo.com's Crime & Safety Report, with 99 incidents per 10,000 residents. It's the second-safest place in Manhattan, behind the Upper East Side, and in 2010 it had the lowest rate of car theft and the second-lowest rate of burglaries in the city. That year also only saw three murders for all three precincts, compared with 24 in 1993. Not bad for a population of more than 200,000.
Rape is one of the crimes that rose in all three precincts from 2009 to 2010, spiking from four to 11 in the 20th, nine to 11 in the 24th, and from zero to seven in Central Park. For other crimes, each precinct tells its own story. In the 20th, below 86th Street, overall crime rates dropped by 8 percent in 2010, led by an 18 percent fall in car thefts, to 33, and a 16 percent plunge in burglaries, to 101. Murders fell from five to one.
In the 24th, which includes a public housing project along Amsterdam Avenue, crime rates inched up 2 percent in 2010, led by a 9 percent jump in robberies, to 192, and a 14 percent rise in grand larceny, to 528. Shooting incidents remained steady, at five.
Major crimes were up 44 percent in Central Park in 2010, with robberies up 15 percent, to 23, and grand larceny by 58 percent, to 63. Still, the park is a lot safer than it once was. Robberies, felony assault and burglary plunged between 84 and 89 percent from 1993 to 2010.
Rise in rapes, 2009 to 2010
Drop in murders from 2009 to 2010
Photo: Getty Images/Brenda Chase
Mark David Chapman, 25, was waiting outside the Dakota apartment building on W. 72nd Street and Central Park West, on Dec. 8, 1980, when John Lennon (pictured) returned home from a recording session shortly before 11 p.m. As Lennon walked past Chapman into the courtyard of his building, Chapman pulled out a .38-caliber pistol and fired five times at the musician. A doorman wrestled the gun away and asked, "Do you know what you just did?" Chapman responded, "Yes, I just shot John Lennon." Chapman then removed his coat and hat, sat at the curb and waited for police to arrive while clutching a copy of the J.D. Salinger novel "Catcher in the Rye." The first police to arrive rushed Lennon to Roosevelt Hospital in a squad car, but he was pronounced dead on arrival. Chapman was convicted of murder and sentenced to 20 years to life in prison, where he remains more than 30 years later.
Copyright © 2009 - 2011 Digital Network Associates dba DNAinfo.com. All rights reserved.