Stat Check: Manhattan Vehicular Killings Outpacing Gun Deaths in 2012

There are almost as many people in this photo as there are trained crash investigators in all of NYC. Photo: Daily News

Last week, Mayor Bloomberg, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly and Manhattan District Attorney Cy Vance announced the indictments of 16 defendants allegedly involved in illegal gun trafficking.

Said Vance, in a written statement:

There have been 127 shooting incidents this year in Manhattan, with 152 victims. Nineteen of those victims were shot to death.

Fortunately, shootings are down in the city and murder is down 18 percent. We are on track to establish a new record low this year. We’ve accomplished this through proactive policing strategies like Operation Impact. Through Operation Crew Cut — aimed at loosely affiliated groups like those selling guns in this case — we hope to make the city even safer.

“One of the reasons New York is the safest big city in the nation is because we employ every tool available to us — including legislation, litigation and enforcement — to take illegal guns off our streets,” said Bloomberg.

The same can not be said of illegal and careless driving. While gun violence is down in the city, traffic fatalities spiked in the last fiscal year. In Manhattan, 26 pedestrians and cyclists were killed in collisions with motor vehicles from January through August, according to NYPD data compiled by Streetsblog, and 2,664 were injured.

Through August of this year, someone died in New York City traffic about every 30 hours, on average, and an injury occurred every 14 seconds. There is no concerted effort between city prosecutors and NYPD to get those numbers down, or to ensure that victims get justice. To the contrary, few crashes are even investigated.

Imagine a photo op to tout 2,664 gun-related injuries, or a citywide gun crimes investigation unit comprised of just 19 officers, like the NYPD Accident Investigation Squad.

Until police and electeds treat vehicular violence as seriously as other public health threats, traffic casualties will be the asterisk at the bottom of every self-congratulatory law enforcement press release.

  • But, of course, every time a car kills someone, the NYPD puts out a press release saying, “No criminality is suspected,” which rather illuminates the different attitude that the NYPD takes to the two potential ways of killing people…

  • Big Tourist

    Among other gifts, Christmas 2011 I gave my girlfriend a promise of “an all expense paid weekend for two to NYC”- the only string attached, is that the offer would only be good once bike share is implemented (thinking at the time, August/September in NYC would be nice). Bike share’s delay of course has meant postponement of our jaunt – but I don’t want to kick this gift down the road to March.  
      But maybe now’s the time to change (sweeten) the deal – make it a trip to DC.  Not only would it mean a nice fall trip to our nation’s capitol, but bike share or not, if the streets of NYC are unsafe for pedestrians, why should I risk our lives to spend my tourism dollars in NYC?  Why not go to DC, where it’s safe.  

  • Voter

    If I want to avoid sugary sodas my strategy is simple: I don’t drink them.  But if I want to avoid dangerous driving what can I do?  Not cross the street?  Live my whole life on one block?  Order everything in to my apartment?  Become a shut-in?  Given how many stories I read about cars crashing onto the sidewalk and into buildings, who knows where I can go to avoid death by car.

    The public health crisis of vehicular violence — and given the stats that’s exactly what it is — does not discriminate. Like secondhand smoke, it permeates every last inch of this city. You’d think Bloomberg would want to do something about it.

    This is Ray Kelly’s New York.  He just lets Mike Bloomberg run it for a little while.

  • Joe R.

    Bloomberg constantly pats himself on the back for reducing gun violence even as he fails to realize that NYC’s draconian gun laws (which incidentally violate the Second Amendment) are the very reason criminals arm themselves. They know quite well the average citizen they accost will be unarmed thanks to our gun laws, so a gun will give them the upper hand. If there was a good chance your average citizen was packing, I doubt criminals would be in such a hurry to use guns. Pull a gun in public in a right-to-carry state with the intention of committing a crime, and most likely you’re leaving in a body bag when an armed citizen shoots you down.

    Funny how the same city which makes carrying a gun virtually impossible will let even teenagers use what amounts to a deadly weapon. Am I the only one who sees the irony in this? Make it easier to carry a gun and harder to drive. That will move both the statistics mentioned in the right direction.

  • Anonymous

    That Inspector General for the NYPD can’t be instated fast enough.  Call your council people and ask them to co-sponsor the bill that was introduced recently to create this position.  Perhaps an Inspector General will be able to compel the NYPD to do their job when it comes to enforcing street safety laws. Dreaming on…

  • KillMoto

    Make sure the Inspector General can sequester (confiscate) funds from the NYPD, as a means of compelling compliance with – I don’t know – the law? It doesn’t matter where the funds go, as long as it’s taken away from the NYPD.  The only thing that will speak with force is loss of $$

  • Ben Kintisch

    ….actually traffic violence doesn’t even merit the proverbial asterisk at the bottom of the law enforcement press release.
    NO CRIMINALITY SUSPECTED. Nothing to see here, move along.

  • HamTech87

    What I don’t get is how “CompStat” figures into this.  Isn’t it supposed to get the NYPD to zero-in on problems, and throw additional resources at it?

  • Bolwerk

    This induces moral panic for me. No doubt we need to frisk more blacks until vehicular casualties go down. 

  • Bolwerk

    Bloomberg constantly pats himself on the back for reducing gun violence
    even as he fails to realize that NYC’s draconian gun laws (which
    incidentally violate the Second Amendment) are the very reason criminals
    arm themselves.

    I’ll ignore that misreading of the Second Amendment, and just say: if criminals arm themselves because of NYC gun laws, they must arm themselves even more in other places because of the lack of NYC gun laws. NYC still has one of the lowest rates of gun violence of U.S. cities, and I doubt gun laws have nothing to do with that.

    What remains is the stubborn stuff that won’t go away because empathy among gun fans is generally low, and guns are still easier to get than jobs.

  • Joe R.

    @5c722781552a86235a80e0b5398f59df:disqus In case you didn’t know, the Supreme Court last year interpreted the Second Amendment as an individual right. Now this doesn’t mean that any and all laws regarding gun ownership are unconstitutional. For example, you can have laws keeping the mentally ill and those with a felony record from buying guns. You can also restrict certain classes of weapons, such as fully automatic machine guns, which have no valid reason to be owned by citizens for either hunting or protection. However, gun laws such as those in NYC which prevent anyone except a few with the right connections from carrying weapons are totally unconstitutional. I can’t wait until these laws are appealed all the way up to the Supreme Court.

    NYC having one of the lowest rates of gun violence of US cities has nothing to do with our gun laws. The police have emphasized seizing illegal guns, no arguing that. However, in many cases these guns are seized from people who already have criminal records. Under sane gun laws which prohibited criminal ownership of guns they could still be seized. What really needs to be stopped is the illegal flow of weapons from states which have virtually no restrictions on who can buy guns. That’s where the criminals obtain their weapons.

    I also stand by my statement that if more citizens could legally arm themselves criminals would be less likely to own guns. In fact, they would be less likely to ply their “trade”, period.

    I might be all for totally keeping guns out of the hands of everyone NYC style if you could just wave a magic wand and make every gun in existence disappear, including the ones in the hands of the police. I’m not seeing that happen anytime soon.

  • Mattyciii

    Guns don’t kill people,
    MOTORISTS kill people!

  • Bolwerk

    @2555783a6f62598b6aadd2d882a4830f:disqus : in case you don’t know, the political appointees on the Supreme Court are slightly, well, politically motivated and apparently don’t know what phrases like “well regulated” or “militia” mean. Besides that, the case at hand had to do with D.C., not a state – in other words, even the wildly delusional authoritarian wing of SCOTUS didn’t have the sack to misconstrue the 2nd to step on states’ rights.

    (I’m actually against gun control.  I just find it funny how the supposed strict constructionists don’t even follow their own rules.)

    What really needs to be stopped is the illegal flow of weapons from
    states which have virtually no restrictions on who can buy guns.

    I’m actually half-inclined to agree with this, but that is only so useful. People with antisocial (or worse) tendencies are often attracted to guns, and not all of them are going to be caught by psychometric instruments, at least not until you significantly reduce the rate of gun ownership or have requirements that look more like Switzerland’s.

    Unfortunately, the mentally ill are already in charge, so that’s a non-starter.

    I also stand by my statement that if more citizens could legally arm
    themselves criminals would be less likely to own guns. In fact, they
    would be less likely to ply their “trade”, period.

    Stand by it all you want, but don’t expect reality to comport to your biases. I can’t see any evidence that antisocial behavior is reduced by lax gun laws. Indeed, places with the highest gun proliferation simply have more crime in general, more gun crime, and more gun-related accidents.

    I might be all for totally keeping guns out of the hands of everyone NYC
    style if you could just wave a magic wand and make every gun in
    existence disappear, including the ones in the hands of the police. I’m
    not seeing that happen anytime soon.

    What’s the fun of that? The best case I can see for proliferation of guns is defending yourself against the pig state, which in NYC regularly assaults hundreds of thousands of people per year. I mean, stops ‘n frisks them.

    It’s just that thinking guns are going to protect you from random-ish street violence or even domestic home invasions is delusional. They won’t, and by the time you reach into your pocket to pull your piece out, you’ll have a new hole in you.

  • Joe R.

    @5c722781552a86235a80e0b5398f59df:disqus Don’t mix up lax gun laws (which is what a lot of states have) with sane gun laws which I feel would even the odds between criminals and citizens. Sane gun laws mean strict background checks, perhaps passing proficiency tests before being allowed to carry, and especially very harsh penalties for selling guns to people who aren’t supposed to have them. In fact, I’m all for a mandatory death penalty, both for anyone who uses a gun in a crime, and for anyone who sells a gun without first doing the proper background checks.

    OK, no system will catch every mentally ill person, so you’ll always have a few loonies who might decide to shoot up a McDonalds. At least with some chance of one or more of the patrons being armed, these loonies will be taken out before the body count hits double digits. Then again, in NYC these same loonies can just hop in a car to commit the same type of carnage. So long as they’re sober and remain at the scene, they likely won’t be charged with anything.

    All that said, I fully realize the mentally ill are in charge. The NRA seems fundamentally opposed to ALL gun laws, even sane ones such as I described.

  • fj

    Really should start banning cars from our communities. The carnage is a prime example how the rich have corrupted the rule of law on our public spaces.

  • fj

    Also a prime example how transportstion systems based on cars are structurally violent.

  • want to get away with murder? just run someone over with your car in nyc, dont be drunk and don’t leave the scene of the crime, statistically you will probably not even get a ticket.  MAJOR LOOPHOLE.  Heeelllooooo NYC, please wake up.

  • Bolwerk

     @2555783a6f62598b6aadd2d882a4830f:disqus : nothing about carrying a gun evens the odds. The odds are with the person who pulls the trigger first. It’s quite possible that the result of politicians buying that argument has been the exact opposite of evening the odds. (How many news stories of victims coming out on top by shooting first do you hear, anyway?)

    As for the death penalty, reserve it for authority figures who make dumb rules. If what you say were true, and rational people could buy guns to “even the odds,” they certainly shouldn’t be killed for making a rational though illegal decision.

  • Wyndhawke

    If you check the statistics, you’ll find that concealed carry lowers attacks against persons. And non-carrying ppl are protected by the”halo effect”

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