Crime Prevention

Trends in Misdemeanor Arrests in New York

Jeremy Travis
President, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

Key Findings

  • From 1980 to 2013, there was a steady decline in felony arrests but a 190 percent increase in the misdemeanor arrest rate in New York City.


There have been many scholarly and policy discussions around whether New York City is unique in its crime decline compared to the rest of the country and other cities. This report documents the trends in misdemeanor arrests in New York City and in five cities in upstate New York between 1980 and 2013. The report presents trends in the types of misdemeanors for which New Yorkers have been arrested; analyzes these data by the age,gender, and race/ethnicity of those receiving this enforcement attention; examines shifts in misdemeanor arrest activity by police precincts; displays changes in the issuance of Desk Appearance Tickets over time and traces these misdemeanor arrests to the initial court disposition at arraignment.

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