Once infamous for its high rates of criminal activity, the state of New York saw crime drop substantially between 1990 and 2012. While tougher policing deserves a lot of the credit, stories of citizens arming themselves and fighting back—like the ones below—surely act as a deterrent as well.
A cab driver was driving a passenger in Jericho, N.Y., when the passenger asked the cabbie how much money he was carrying and directed him to a parking lot. Suspicious, the cabbie parked and ran from the car while trying to call 911. The criminal gave chase, and repeatedly hit the cabbie with an object. The cabbie, authorized to carry as a former law enforcement officer, responded by drawing a pistol and firing at the robber, striking him in the leg. When police arrived, the criminal and the cab driver were taken to a local hospital; neither had life-threatening injuries. (News Day, Melville, N.Y., 3/14/13)
"This is something you read about happening to someone else. You never think it will happen to you," said Linda Fixler of Bardonia, N.Y. Her husband was working alone in their jewelry store early one morning when two men came in asking to look at some engagement rings. After a few minutes, both pulled out guns, aimed them at Fixler and threatened to kill him. During the course of the robbery, however, Fixler was able to retrieve his own handgun and shoot one of the robbers, who fell to the floor seriously injured while the other fled on foot. The fleeing robber was later apprehended, along with a third man who had been in the get-away vehicle, but had driven off when he heard the gunshots. "It's a terrible feeling," said Fixler. "All you want to do is stay alive." (thejournainews.com, White Plains, N.Y., 2/15/05)
Steve Brown, the owner of a Syracuse, N.Y., gas station, had been robbed before. So, when a man entered at 4 a.m. and began acting suspiciously, Brown paid close attention. When the man charged him, Brown retrieved his shotgun and shot his assailant, then ran to call the police. No charges were brought against Brown. "He had every right to protect himself and his property," said Police Sergeant Tom Connellian. (Syracuse Post-Herald, Syracuse, N.Y., 11/11/04)
A Rochester, N.Y., homeowner grabbed his shotgun after witnessing a gang of men armed with guns and clad in dark hooded sweatshirts and pants storm a neighboring duplex. After hitting the man's neighbors, the roving band of marauders descended upon the armed citizen, who was determined to protect himself and his children. As the assailants forced their way into his home, the man opened fire, trading shots with as many as seven suspects. The man was able to successfully fend off the attack, killing two of the intruders and wounding a third. Police were still looking for the other suspects. Police were searching for links between this attack and similar home invasions earlier in the summer that had left two citizens dead. The man's neighbors were considering following his lead and arming themselves for protection. (The Democrat and Chronicle, Rochester, N.Y., 8/27/96)
John Hofmaster answered an early-morning knock at his Westmoreland, N.Y., door only to be shoved aside by a man who scuffled with him until he managed to get the keys to the family car. Hofmaster broke free, retrieved a .45 semi-automatic and fired a single shot through the car's window as the thief tried to run him down. The bullet hit the man in the left arm, preventing his escape. (The Daily Press, Utica, N.Y., 12/1/82)
Three youths, two of them armed, had just gotten $100 from the cash register in a liquor store in Yonkers, N.Y., and were attempting a getaway when one of the trio was hit in the shoulder by a shot fired by Sam Jacobs, the son of the store owner. Seeking treatment from a local doctor, the youths said the wound was accidental, but the doctor refused to believe the tale and called police. Under questioning, the bandits admitted the robbery and four others in that area during the preceding six weeks. (Reporter Dispatch, Yonkers, N.Y., 6/1/62)