You know those old 1980s movies like Death Wish 3 where New York City comes off as some dirty, crime-ridden, lawless hellhole? Sometimes when I look at crime stats from that era, I think it really was like that. The good news is crimes across the board have dropped in the Big Apple, especially auto thefts.

The latest Compstat report from the New York Police Department — a weekly report that tracks crime rates across the entire city — shows just how much car thefts are down since 1990.


That year, there were a mind-blowing 146,925 reports of grand larceny of an automobile. In 2013, that number went down to 7,400.

Unfortunately, auto thefts are up six percent compared to the same period last year. If this trend continues we can maybe expect more New York car thefts by the end of 2014.


Nationwide, crimes of all types are down from their historic highs in the early 1990s. There are a lot of reasons for this, including stricter laws, new policing methods, demographic changes and the decline of the crack cocaine epidemic that drove quite a bit of crime.

And when it comes to auto thefts specifically, newer cars with immobilizer devices and other technologies are simply harder to steal than older ones.


So your car is a little safer in New York than it was 24 years ago, and so are you — back then they had 2,262 murders in a year, and now that's down to just 335 in 2013. Progress!

Hat tip to Josh Barro on Twitter!

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