Murder Rate Drops Boosts NYC Life Expectancy

The analysis credits the plummeting murder rate as 2 percent responsible for increased life expectancy.


The decline in New York City’s murder rate — which the NYPD credits, in large part, to stop-and-frisk — is so dramatic that it has helped boost the average life expectancy of Big Apple residents, The Post has learned.

A city Health Department analysis listed all the factors that contributed to increased life expectancy of New Yorkers from 78 a decade ago to 81 in 2010.

The report attributes two-thirds of higher longevity to reductions in heart disease and cancer rates, and another 11 percent to longevity of residents with AIDS/HIV — thanks to better treatment and medication — as the two biggest reasons for longer life spans.

But the analysis also credits the plummeting murder rate as 2 percent responsible for increased life expectancy — 3 percent for men and 1.2 percent for women.

The number of homicides fell from 673 in 2000 to 536 in 2010. Last year, it plunged to 419.

Overall, the city’s death rate dropped to 6.4 percent in 2010, when 52,575 New Yorkers died, compared with 7.4 percent in 2002, when 59,651 people died — or 7,076 fewer.

The analysis shows that while life expectancy is up among all ethnic groups and parts of the city, it was greater among blacks. It increased 3.8 years for blacks, 3.2 years for whites and 2.2 years for Hispanics from 2001 to 2010.

Asked if the drop in homicides has impacted longevity in the city, Health Department spokesman Sam Miller said, “Yes, it has.”

Even law-enforcement advocates were surprised by the findings.

“Wow. That’s amazing. Normally life-span increases are due to medical advances — not law-enforcement advances,” said City Council Public Safety Committee Chairman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Queens).

The disclosure of the data comes at a time when critics — including Democratic candidates running for mayor — want to dramatically scale back some of the NYPD’s aggressive crime-fighting strategies credited with reducing gun violence and murder, particularly stop-and-frisk.

But Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has said that would be a mistake.

“I believe this tactic is lifesaving. It is lawful and its constitutionality was upheld by the Supreme Court in 1968,” Kelly said during a recent speech before Rev. Al Sharpton’s National Action Network convention.

“There are 7,364 fewer murders, largely the lives of young men of color. That’s 7,364 lives saved.”

Even so, Kelly said there’s a long way to go and noted that blacks are still disproportionately impacted by crime, accounting for 23 percent of the population but 64 percent of murder victims.

Health Department data show that the murder rate for blacks is 16.8 per 100,000 — triple that of Hispanics and eight times that of whites.

“This is a salient reminder of why we make the tough law-enforcement decisions. It’s actually increasing the life span of people of New York City,” Vallone said.

Republished with permission of The New York Post

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