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New York City Safer Than Ever Before?

New York City Safer Than Ever Before?

Associated Press

New York Daily News via YellowBrix

December 30, 2009

NEW YORK – New York is on pace to record fewer murders in 2009 than in any year in recent memory – and overall crime is plummeting, too, officials said Monday.

“All of the experts said it couldn’t be done, particularly in a down economy, but we’ve done it and we should all feel very proud,” Mayor Bloomberg boasted in announcing the news Monday at a swearing-in ceremony for new police recruits.

New figures show the number of murders and the number of major crimes both poised to drop nearly 11% since last year – with murders dropping from 523 to 461 and major crimes dropping from 116,522 to about 104,341.

The only major crime that went up was felony assault, which rose 2%, from 16,100 to 16,358.

The record-low 461 murders so far marks the second time in decades when the number of murders dropped below 500.

The last time was in 2007, when 496 people were killed in the city.

Bloomberg said 461 murders is still “461 too many,” but called the progress in murder reduction “simply astounding when you think that a couple of decades ago the city routinely experienced about 2,000 homicides a year.”

The dramatic improvement in murders – down 29% since 2001 when 649 people were killed – tracks a similar drop in other major crimes.

NYPD figures show major crimes down 35% since 2001, with rapes down 38%, robbery down 34% and felony assault down 29%.

“At the beginning of the year there were a lot of naysayers who, because of the economic crisis, predicted that crime had nowhere to go but up,” NYPD Commissioner Raymond Kelly said. “They underestimated the resolve of the men and women of the [police] department.”

Bloomberg and Kelly credited the safer streets to the Operation Impact program that floods high-crime area with rookie cops and to new technology that enables police to respond quickly to crime.

The technology “pushes information out after crime happens to investigators in the field,” Kelly said, then cops do their jobs.

“The cops have been absolutely terrific. They’ve haven’t let up one bit,” he said.

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