Mid-Day Crime Waves: ‘Well, to Tell You the Truth, They Were All Stolen’

A cheery statistic from The New York Times: the city is on track for its lowest recorded number of murders this year. As of yesterday, the count stood at 461. And this includes 16 deaths resulting from attacks that took place prior to 2009. For example:

James Crawford, 65, died in October; his death was related to injuries from an assault in 1965. In March, William Jenkins, 67, died after he entered Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx, where he had multiple infections. The city’s medical examiner’s office said those infections were attributable to the fact he was paralyzed after being shot on Oct. 21, 1960, the police said.

The year saw interludes of “days upon days” in which no one was murdered; and 12 precincts, including Park Slope, had just one murder each as of Christmas.

However, the New York State court system has had its highest number of cases ever this year, a development that The Times attributes to “fallout from the financial troubles”:

Contract disputes statewide in 2009 are projected to be up 9 percent from the year before. Statewide home foreclosure filings increased 17 percent, to 48,127 filings. Cases involving charges like assault by family members were up 18 percent statewide. While serious crime remains low, misdemeanor charges in New York City were up 7 percent and lesser violations were up 18 percent in 2009.

Judges and lawyers say the tales behind any number of cases, including low-level offenses like turnstile jumping and petty theft, are often a barometer of bad times.

The Post reports on a four-minute video titled “Crazy subway fight 6 train nyc” that depicts two men on a subway car “trading punches as onlookers hoot and holler.”

And over the course of the holiday shopping season, every shopping cart was stolen from a Toys R Us in the Bronx. According to the Daily News:

“I’m a small person, I had to leave. I couldn’t carry anything,” said Linda Poust Lopez, 47, a legal aide lawyer who was shopping for big items for her nieces and nephews.

“When I stopped an employee and asked ‘Where can I find a cart?’ she shook her head and said, ‘Well, to tell you the truth, they were all stolen.'”

Sheltered from the winds of recession, in the world of celebrity extortion, Joe Halderman wants to plead guilty to blackmailing David Letterman in exchange for a one-year prison term. The Post credits this news to exclusive sources; Halderman’s lawyer denies “knowing anything about an offer.”

Mid-Day Crime Waves: ‘Well, to Tell You the Truth, They Were All Stolen’