Grove Header- White.png
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

New Yorkers' Fear of Gun Violence and Other Crime Outpaces Most Other States & Contradicts Gun and Crime Stats

drug bust 7-7 guns CU.jpg
WAER File Photo
More New Yorkers say they fear gun violence than residents of any other state, despite lower gun ownership, stronger gun control than many states. Seen here, guns confiscated in Syracuse operation in 2020.

New Yorkers are more worried about their safety from violent crime than residents of any other state in the US. The new survey from SafeWise comes out just as Governor Andrew Cuomo issued an executive order declaring a state of emergency for gun violence. The group’s safety reporter Rebecca Edwards compiles an annual report to see how worried Americans are about gun violence and property crime, compared to FBI crime statistics.

“We’ve seen a huge disconnect between what we think is what is happening in the world, what we think is out there threatening us, how prevalent that threat is, and the reality of it. The good news is we’re usually a lot more concerned than we need to be.”

The survey reveals just how on-edge New Yorkers are about violence in the state, where the fear of encountering gun or other violent crime is dramatically higher than reality.

“New York numbers are really high, both in terms of being concerned and in having personal experiences. 73% of New Yorkers told us that they are worried a gun violence incident could happen to them. That number is 92% higher than the national average. Only 38% of Americans across-the-board think they’re likely to be involved in a gun violence incident.”

most-and-least-worried-states SafeWise.png
Concern about being victim of a crime highest in New York

She says crime data show New York is safer than many other states, and has low rates of violent and property crime, per capita. The survey findings were also surprising because of the state’s low gun ownership, and gun control laws. Edwards notes this has not eased people’s fears regarding crime and their protection.

“Between 20 and 40% of all gun purchases in 2020 were first-time gun owners. So, people who weren’t typically looking for firearms as a form of protection are starting to. That’s a trend that started to happen in 2020 and seems to be continuing in 2021.”

In addition to the overall violence fears, the study finds New Yorkers more concerned about gun violence in particular, property crimes, even package theft than the US average – again despite having lower levels of such crimes than many other states.

SafeWise Crime TAble.png
New Yorkers' worries about a range of crimes exceeds the national average, in most cases counter to crime statistics.

SafeWise helps people with home safety, rating security systems, and reviewing things from baby monitors to parental software to senior medical alerts. Edwards hopes their research results can help people temper their anxieties, and help them make logical decisions about their family’s safety. The ‘State of Safety Report’ is at

Chris Bolt, Ed.D. has proudly been covering the Central New York community and mentoring students for more than 30 years. His career in public media started as a student volunteer, then as a reporter/producer. He has been the news director for WAER since 1995. Dedicated to keeping local news coverage alive, Chris also has a passion for education, having trained, mentored and provided a platform for growth to more than a thousand students. Career highlights include having work appear on NPR, CBS, ABC and other news networks, winning numerous local and state journalism awards.