New York

Media’s election deflection can’t cover up New Yorkers’ worries about crime

When choosing the governor, New Yorkers were clear: they want a safer city, but they are not panicked enough to vote for a Republican. That’s fair – but the Democrats and their enablers are responding with gibberish.

We know why GOP gubernatorial candidate Lee Zeldin received 30.3% of the vote in a city where only 10% of voters are Republicans. That Gotham show helped Zeldin get 47.1% of the state vote, compared to 36.2% for the 2018 GOP nominee.

The answer is crime: 28% of likely voters said crime was their “most pressing” problem, ahead of everyone else.

Simple: Newly re-elected Democrats should focus on fighting crime. Instead, they opt for a different “solution”: The problem is not crime — it’s that the public knows too much about crime.

“Blood-and-guts headlines drove Republicans in New York,” Politico blared over the weekend.

“All the suburbs,” Democratic adviser Mike Morey told the outlet, “they read the tabloids and see these really high-profile incidents, where someone gets pushed in front of a subway, there’s a shooting, there’s a stabbing and you sort of fear that’s going to be in could happen to her front yard.”

Many New Yorkers voted Republican because of concerns about crime.
Over 25% of New Yorkers named crime as their top concern in the city.
Christopher Sadowski

“Crime reporting has not always been in proportion to actual crime rates,” said an official with the left-leaning Working Families Party.

“Crime coverage has outpaced its rise,” Politico reporters explain. “New York news agencies have run 58,131 crime stories so far this year. . . . For the 2020 period, it was just 28,638.” Or, as NY1 host Errol Louis wrote for New York Magazine, the election marked “the resounding electoral defeat of Zeldin’s much-touted claim that crime was rampant.”

According to this attitude, the problem is that people in the New York suburbs read the city newspapers – especially This Paper.

Thus, the region’s voters were enticed to vote in greater numbers for the GOP, although national voters largely stayed with the Democrats.

Let’s start with the idea that people in the suburbs are tricked into worrying about urban crime that doesn’t affect them. For nearly 30 years, until 2020, people living east or north of the city could safely send their teenage children, their spouses, their elderly parents, or themselves by train into the city to see a play, to see a doctor going shopping or going to nightclubs, with decreasing cause for concern.

With crime up 32.3% compared to 2019 and still rising, and homicides still up 26% since then, suburbanites can’t do that anymore, despite the Adams-era decline from peaks of the last year.

As for the “blood and guts” stories that scare the suburbanites, what stories should not News agencies cover?

All major crimes have increased so far in 2022.
Subway crime, including homicide, has risen sharply in recent months.
Christopher Sadowski

The four subway murders in less than three weeks – something not seen since the early 1990s? The serial rapist who attacked a tourist on the Hudson River Promenade? The robbery-murder gang that targets gay men partying on Manhattan’s west side and kills two? And just this weekend multiple shootings in Chelsea including a murder?

In the context of double-digit increases in crime, the coverage of specific crimes that make up the statistics is just, well, the coverage of the news.

What about the idea that the number of news articles is disproportionate?

We have only one war in Ukraine: did the press write only one message about the war? 9/11 happened only once; Would we expect just a short story dryly informing people about the attacks? Everything else is sensationalism!

News coverage is also increasing differences in this coverage – and that’s a good thing. People can make up their own minds. If you want to read that despite the sixfold increase in homicides, subway crime is “low”, you can read the Times or Twitter.

Why do New Yorkers care more about crime than statewide voters when crime has been increasing nationwide—and when our crime rate is still much lower than the statewide rate?

How would you rate the crime rate in New York? have even that low?

New Yorkers demonstrated in the 1993 election of Mayor Rudy Giuliani and in the 1994 election of Governor George Pataki that they were so fed up with decades of urban chaos that they would have near-zero tolerance for violent crime in the future.

This preference is not irrational. Crime resonates more strongly in a dense city and surrounding suburbs. When someone accidentally stabs a passenger in a subway car, not only does it traumatize the victim, but dozens of witnesses from across the region.

If people don’t like the news, it means they don’t like it. . . what actually happens. That is what the newly elected governor should be worried about.

Nicole Gelinas is Associate Editor of the City Journal of the Manhattan Institute.

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