In a story about John C. Roe, 40-year veteran of the New York City Police Department, readers of the New York Times learn a bit about how much safer the streets of New York have become over the past 4 decades. In 1970, when Patrolman Roe was making $9500 a year, there were 1,117 homicides and 74,102 robberies in New York. Last year, there were 536 homicides and a dramatically reduced 19,484 robberies. Back in 1970, police officers fatally shot 93 people, while last year it was only 8. Back in 1971, 12 officers were killed in the line of duty and 47 were wounded by gunfire. Last year, NO officers were killed or wounded by bullets. Additionally, whereas officers actually fired their guns in 810 incidents in 1971, there were only 93 such incidents last year.
We often hear about how much safer New York City has become. But these statistics, which are meant to illustrate how much has changed in the daily life of police officers since Mr. Roe initiated his service to the City back in 1970, are also among the most persuasive evidence I have seen that the crime wave we have for so long associated with New York life has now been reduced to little more than a ripple. This is good news for everyone.