As he nears the end of his 12 years in office, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is touting record low incarceration and crime rates across the city.
The mayor visited the Queens offices of the Neighborhood Opportunity Network, or NeON, which provides literacy, job-training, after-school and mentoring programs for those on probation.
He says programs like NeON keep crime down by providing alternatives to incarceration.
"New Yorkers live in the safest big city in the nation and we should be proud to be a national leader in another respect, too, and that is that New York City also continues to buck the national trend of ever-increasing reliance on prison and jail,” Bloomberg said.
"I made something of myself. I accomplished a lot. I didn't get my GED, yet, but I'm working, doing demolition. And I hope I can move forward. I'm glad I joined this program because it changed my life a lot,” said Mike Smith, a NeON participant.
The mayor says the city's incarceration rate fell by 36 percent between 2001 and 2012, while the national rate actually rose by 3 percent over the same time frame.
Bloomberg also says the city is on pace for another record low year in murders, which have dropped by 49 percent since 2001.