The allegations of sexual misconduct against the movie producer Harvey Weinstein, who goes on trial this week and is facing new sexual abuse charges in Los Angeles, motivated more people to report sex crimes, experts said.
Still, perception of crime rarely matches reality.
Criminologists say the rise in murders and other violent crimes could be a temporary upward blip in a trend that has been generally falling for decades now. Still, public perception rarely takes into account the longer, more empirical view.
Elizabeth Carr, a mother of three on the Upper West Side, said she became alarmed in October when a shooting took place near a playground she frequents with her children. Ms. Carr found herself avoiding streets with her three young children after dark, she said. Each time her husband is late from a morning run at Central Park, her mind turns to the worst case scenario.
“I feel like something is changing in the city,” Ms. Carr said. “The city feels a little less safe than it used to.”
Mr. Herrmann, the criminal justice expert, said Ms. Carr’s fears are not uncommon. But he said the recent uptick in crime may be a return to a normal level of crime after unusually low rates in the last few years.
“These numbers are low,” Mr. Herrmann sad. “Something tells me we are getting back to normal.”
Yet, Ms. Carr said, some crimes seem too close to home. Robberies rose nearly 40 percent last year in her neighborhood, she said, and that’s why she founded New Yorkers for Safer Streets, a group that has more than 1,500 Facebook members, as a venue to vocalize her concerns.
“What is driving this increase in crime?” Ms. Carr said. “It makes you feel uneasy.”
Ali Watkins contributed reporting.