The low number of killings by strangers belies the common imagery that New Yorkers are vulnerable to arbitrary attacks on the streets, or die in robberies that turn fatal.
In the eyes of some criminologists, the police will be hard pressed to drive the killing rate much lower, since most killings occur now within the four walls of an apartment or the confines of close relationships.
“What are you going to do, send cops to every house?” said Peter K. Manning, the Brooks professor of criminal justice at Northeastern University in Boston.
“We know that historically, homicide is the least suppressible crime by police action,” he added. “It is, generally speaking, a private crime, resulting from people who know one another and have relationships that end up in death struggles at home or in semipublic places.”
Police officials did not dispute the validity of that assessment.
-City Homicides Still Dropping, to Under 500