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Why being murdered is almost impossible in NYC these days

I’m a  74-year-old, lifelong New Yorker who isn’t afraid to walk city streets or ride the subway despite breathless reports about “soaring” crime — and this is why:

Murder, the most heinous of crimes, is all but nonexistent in my world and in the lives of law-abiding New Yorkers. Our worlds include none of the situations and circumstances which are implicated in almost all city killings:

Drug dealing, gang membership, feuds between criminals, tinderbox domestic situations, and prostitution. A study I did of this year’s murders to date shows that the risk to everyone else is basically nil.

It’s a truism that murder is mostly a scourge of disadvantaged communities and people of color, and that those outside those communities are at far less risk of being shot, stabbed or bludgeoned to death. Even those who panic over tiny crime upticks in a city of more than 8 million acknowledge that the bad-old-days when scores of innocents were murdered by strangers are long behind us.

Although violent crimes such as this week’s subway shooting garner lots of headlines, the most extreme crime — murder — is almost of zero risk for most New Yorkers. Christopher Sadowski

Yes, 2023 did see 386 people perish in violent attacks — a total likely to fall considerably this year if the current trend holds up. But just how exceedingly rarely does murder befall New Yorkers who don’t live in squalor or commit crimes themselves?

The facts are crucial to put murder counts — and their year-to-year blips and burps — in context. Facts also reveal that the city, at least in terms of murders, is much safer for most people than raw statistics and hysterical pundits suggest. So far this year, only three murders have been reported of New Yorkers who did not fall into the half-dozen high-vulnerability categories noted above. If you’re not in one of them, your chances of being killed are about the same as being hit on the head with a fish dropped by an eagle, a rare species in Big Apple skies.

All murders are heinous and every life is precious. But the 55 murders since Jan. 1, as tallied by the NYPD, are 24.7 fewer than 73 in the same period of 2023, a year when murders fell to below 400 for the first time since 2019.

Of the total 55, only about half made it into the press. Most of those unreported were likely of homeless people and small-time criminals whose demises weren’t deemed of public interest — not of New Yorkers cut down by strangers. If law-abiding folks were being killed in large numbers, we surely would have heard about them.

Bad guy Raad Almansoori was arrested in Florida for beating Denisse Oleas-Arancibia to death at the Soho 54 Hotel in February.

In fact, we found that murders by strangers were few and far between.

Eight victims since Jan. 1 were killed by people they knew and with whom they were engaged in long-running feuds.

Supposed “criminal justice reform” advocate Sheldon Johnson allegedly shot and dismembered the body of lifelong friend Collin Small, with whom he spent time in Sing Sing prison.  

Like the vast majority of of murder victims in New York this year, Oleas-Arancibia was involved in illegal activities, in this case, prostitution.

At least half in the “feud” category involved perpetrators’ or victims’ girlfriends. Moises Coronado stabbed Dafren Canizalez to death at a tent shelter as “revenge” for remarks the victim made about the former’s paramour. On Jan. 24,  Naomi Broomes allegedly ran over Shakira Sorrano, a former lover of Broomes’ current boyfriend.

Surprisingly, there were more at-home murders, most of them within families, than gang-related ones on the street. Such domestic mayhem, of course, is largely beyond law enforcement’s ability to curb. There were at least eight if we include the case of an unidentified  74-year-old “unwelcome squatter” stabbed to death in a Harlem apartment.

On Jan. 22, mentally ill Meyer Sterber stabbed both his elderly parents to death in their Borough Park home. On Feb. 17, Rafael Ramos fatally shot live-in girlfriend Luz Espinal before turning the gun on himself in a Cypress Hills apartment.

Of the roughly 55 murders so far in New York this year, only half have made it into the press. Christopher Sadowski

Only three of this year’s murders were gang-related. The recent, horrific shooting death of 13-year-old Troy Gill in Crown Heights occurred was gang “payback,” police said.

The victim of the year’s most heavily publicized killing was a prostitute. Raad Almansoori allegedly beat Denisse Oleas-Arancibia to death at the Soho 54 Hotel in February. The “Queens mom” worked there as an escort.

There were a few entirely innocent victims. Crossing guard Richard Henderson was shot trying to break up an argument on the No. 3 train. Bodega worker Nazim Berry was killed by a crazy man who demanded a free cigar.

But that such tragedies are blessedly rare tells us that statistics can seem much scarier than the streets that we call home actually are.

This story originally appeared on NYPost

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