Horrifying Pictures Of New York City Crime Scenes From The Early 1900s

NYC Crime

Photo: NYC Municipal Archives

More than 870,000 archival photographs documenting New York City’s rich history were recently made available online for the first time by the city’s Department of Records.  Among the thousands of black-and-white images depicting street corner scenes, city buildings and Depression-era laborers, is a collection of gruesome crime scenes that expose the violence inherent of big cities.

Deputy records commissioner Eileen Flannelly told The New York Times’ Sam Roberts that the 1,326 police evidence photographs, mostly taken between and 1915 and 1920, are part of “the largest collection of criminal justice evidence in the world.” 

Police photographers used special tripods with cameras suspended above the victim to get overhead shots. Most of the pictures had only brief captions.  

WARNING: This slideshow contains graphic images 

The overhead view of a homicide victim, 1916-1920

Homicide scene at a store or restaurant interior, 1916-1920

The body of Gaspare Candella was found stuffed in a barrel, discovered by children in the middle of a Brooklyn, N.Y. field, 1916-1920

Onlookers lean out of tenement windows to view a man's body on the sidewalk, 1916-1920

A homicide victim lies face down on the floor, by his feet appear to be a bar rail and a spittoon (a tin can commonly used by tobacco chewers to spit), 1916-1920

A woman's body found in the Bronx next to a concrete structure. Trolley tracks can be seen in the background, June 24, 1917

A knife with fingerprints, February 3, 1916

Body of a boy or man on a bed, 1916-1920

The scene of a felonious assault, February 23, 1916

A female victim slumped in a parlor chair, 1916-1920

Threats written on C.O. Peterson's house in Staten Island, May 21, 1915

Homicide victim inside a café, 1916-1920

The body of Marion, murdered at a Staten Island shanty, 1915

Homicide scene, 1916-1920

12th Precinct plumbing sinks and toilets, 1916-1920

Body of Ida Johnson found dead in a bedroom, October 1, 1915

A homicide victim seated at a living room or kitchen table, 1916-1920

Homicide scene in the subway tunnels, 1916-1920

Automobile accident, 1916-1920

A subway accident at 53rd Street and Broadway, January 6, 1915

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