Map: Crime in NYC

Toggle between three layers on this map to examine who the prisoners of Sing Sing were and where they lived at the time of their arrest.

The map is easiest to navigate with no more than two layers selected at a time.

  1. The Criminals: individual records including the name and personal information of each prisoner, along with their sentencing record. To view each person’s original register, click on “Link to Original Document” at the bottom of each popup profile*.
  2. NYC Wards and Police Precinct Offices: Wards were the city’s smallest political units. New York City was divided into six wards in 1686, each governed by an elected alderman and assistant alderman to the Common Council, and wards were added over the next two centuries. Wards became increasingly powerful and increasingly rife with corruption after the population boom of the early 19th century. Wards became political machines, notable for their socioeconomic and ethnic makeups. Some were notable for crime, some were notable for culture. Here, we have a map of Manhattan’s Ward System with boundaries fixed in 1897, around the time wards became politically insignificant. 
  3. Neighborhood Map: The cultural neighborhoods were defined by the tenements created within them, the ethnic groups concentrated wherein, and the general criminal and social behaviors. Midtown and Hell’s Kitchen were home to elite opium dens and the Bowery was home to flophouses. The Lower East Side still thrives today, while Collect Pond was recovered for sanitary purposes. This map attempts to account for the different neighborhoods that dominated NYC in the 20th Century.


*To gain access to the New York State Archives: follow this link and enter your New York State postal code. All hyperlinks to documents should be open after initial login.

Additional information on changes in precinct locations and numbers cross-checked between The Encyclopedia of New York City,,, and