New York is on track for a record low year in homicides, and Mayor Michael Bloomberg touted the city's drop in crime during the New York City Police Department graduation ceremony at Barclays Center Friday. NY1's Bobby Cuza filed the following report.
On Friday, a graduating class of 1,159 new police officers was sworn in at Barclays Center. The streets they will soon patrol, city officials point out, will be the safest they’ve ever been.
"The number of murders this year will be lower than it has been at any time since records started to be kept some 50 years ago," said Mayor Michael Bloomberg.
Indeed, while the total number of major crimes, including burglaries, is up about 3 percent compared to last year, both the number of shootings and the number of murders are on pace for record lows.
As of Friday, the city had recorded 414 homicides this year, a 19 percent drop compared to last year. That means 2012 will almost certainly shatter the record low of 471 homicides set in 2009. By comparison, the murder rate peaked in 1990 at 2,245.
"That was an average of more than six a day," Bloomberg said. "Today, we average closer to one murder a day, even though our population has grown by roughly a million people since 1990."
City officials also point to statistics that show New York remains the safest big city in the country, and they say the homicide rate is even more impressive when considered on a per-capita basis.
At 3.8 homicides per 100,000 residents, New York’s murder rate is now far lower than cities like Washington D.C., Chicago, Philadelphia, Baltimore and Detroit.
"If we had Detroit’s murder rate, nearly 4,400 New Yorkers would die in murders instead of the roughly 400 that will," Bloomberg said.
The challenge for the newly-minted officers will be to keep driving the murder rate even lower.