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automobile driver

Timeline of New York City crimes and disasters

The following is a timeline of New York City crimes and disasters.

17th century

18th century

  • 1702 - Yellow fever epidemic kills more than 500 people.
  • September 21, 1776 - Approximately 1000 houses, a quarter of the city, are destroyed in a fire a week after British troops captured the city during the American Revolution. Arson is speculated and during a round-up of suspicious persons, Nathan Hale is arrested.
  • August 3, 1778 - Fire near Cruger's Wharf destroys 64 homes.
  • 1794 - Minor yellow fever epidemic leads to creation of Bellevue Hospital.
  • 1795 - Yellow fever epidemic kills 732 between July 19 and October 12, from a total population of about 50,000.
  • December 9, 1796 - The "Coffee House Slip Fire," destroys about 50,000 structures near Murray Wharf.
  • 1798 - The "great epidemic", a major yellow fever epidemic, kills 2086 people from late July to November. Epidemics occur in several other years, but this was the worst of them all.

19th century

  • 1805 - Yellow fever epidemic, during which as many as 50,000 people are said to have fled the city.
  • May 19, 1811 - Close to 100 buildings burn down on Chatham Street.
  • 1819 - Yellow fever epidemic.
  • September 3, 1821 - The Norfolk and Long Island Hurricane causes a storm surge of 13 ft in one hour, leading to widespread flooding south of Canal St., but few deaths are reported. The hurricane is estimated to have been a Category 3 event and to have made landfall at Jamaica Bay, making it the only hurricane in recorded history to directly strike what is now modern New York City.
  • 1822 - Last important outbreak of a yellow fever epidemic in the city.
  • 1832 - Cholera Pandemic reaches North America. It breaks out in New York City on June 26, peaks at 100 deaths per day during July, and finally abates in December. More than 3500 people die in the city, many in the lower class neighborhoods, particularly Five Points. Another 80,000 people, one third of the population, are said to have fled the city during the epidemic.
  • December 16, 1835 - More than 60,000 buildings are destroyed by a fire which rages for two days in the Financial District. Efforts to stop the fire are limited by sub-zero temperatures which freezes water in hoses, wells, and the East River. 23 insurance companies are wiped out by the resulting claims.
  • July 25, 1841 - Mary Cecilia Rogers, a young woman known popularly as "The Beautiful Cigar Girl," disappeared and her dead body was found floating in the Hudson River three days later. The details surrounding the case suggested she was murdered. The death of this well-known person received national attention for weeks. The story became immortalized by Edgar Allan Poe in his "The Mystery of Marie Roget." Despite intense media interest and an attempt to solve the enigma by Poe, the crime remains one of the most puzzling unsolved murders of New York City.
  • 1848-1849 - Cholera epidemic begins in December 1848, its spread initially limited by winter weather. By June 1849, it reaches epidemic proportions. Eventually 5071 city residents die.
  • 1854 - Cholera epidemic kills 2509.
  • July 13-17, 1863 - Approximately 50,000 people riot in protest of President Abraham Lincoln's announcement of a draft for troops to fight in the American Civil War. Over 100 are killed and many African Americans flee the city. The movie Gangs of New York takes place during the draft riots.
  • 1866 - Cholera epidemic kills "only" 1137, its spread having been limited by the efforts of the new Metropolitan Board of Health and enforcement of sanitation laws.
  • July 30, 1871 - A boiler explosion aboard the Westfield II Staten Island Ferry kills 125 among hundreds of Manhattanites making a weekend trip to the beaches.
  • December 5, 1876 - A stage scenery fire envelopes the Brooklyn Theatre during a performance of "The Two Orphans" and kills at least 276 people, primarily patrons in the upper gallery.
  • January 13, 1882 - A train wreck occurs just south of Spuyten Duyvil Creek when a local train from Tarrytown crashes into the tail end of an express from Albany which had stopped on the tracks to make an emergency repair. At least 10 persons were killed, including a state senator.
  • May 30, 1883 - A rumor that the Brooklyn Bridge is going to collapse causes a stampede that kills 12.
  • March 12-13, 1888 - The "White Hurricane", aka the Great Blizzard of '88, paralyzes the Eastern seaboard from Maryland to Maine, in New York City causing temperatures to fall as much as 60 degrees. About 21 inches (53 cm) of snow fall on the city, but enormous winds whip it into drifts as much as 20 feet deep. Regionally, over 400 people are said to have died in the storm's path.
  • August 5-13, 1896 - A heat wave prostrates the city, with temperatures exceeding 90°F for nine days both day and night, with stagnant air and oppressive humidity. In all, 420 people die, mostly in crowded tenements in areas such as the Lower East Side.
  • September 13, 1899 - Henry Bliss becomes the first person killed in an automobile accident in the United States when he steps off a streetcar at 74th St. and Central Park West and is struck by a taxicab.

20th century

21st century

Murders by year

Year Murders3 4
1928 404
1929 425
1930 494
1931 588
1932 579
1933 541
1934 458
1936 510
1961 482
1962 631
1976 1622
1977 1577
1978 1508
1979 1737
1980 1820
1981 1832
1982 1718
1983 1636
1984 1457
1985 1386
1986 1609
1987 1668
1988 1913
1989 1918
1990 22451
1991 2154
1992 1995
1993 1946
1994 1561
1995 1156
1996 983
1997 769
1998 633
1999 671
2000 667
2001 6492
2002 587
2003 597
2004 570
2005 539
2006 596
2007 496

  • 1 The highest to date.
  • 2 Not including the September 11th terrorist attacks.
  • 3 http://www.mega.nu/ampp/franklin_sullivan.html#table1
  • 4 http://criminaljustice.state.ny.us/crimnet/ojsa/indexcrimes/regiontotals.pdf

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