Ray Kelly presided over his final New York City Police Department graduation ceremony as police commissioner on Friday, which comes as both he and Mayor Michael Bloomberg are pointing to historic drops in crime during their tenure. NY1's Zack Fink filed the following report.
Friday was the final time that Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly would share the stage at an New York City Police Department graduation in their current jobs.
All throughout this month, Bloomberg has been highlighting the accomplishments of his administration, and on Friday, he spoke about a precipitous drop in crime during his tenure.
"The crime reductions the NYPD has driven over the past 12 years have defied the odds and far outpaced the rest of the nation," he said.
According to NYPD statistics, crime is down 32 percent since Bloomberg was first elected in 2001. Shootings are also down 32 percent since 2001. In fact, New York City is on pace to record fewer than 340 homicides in 2013, a 20 percent reduction since last year and a 49 percent reduction since 2001.
"This has been done with 6,000 fewer police officers than we had in 2001, and of course, with the added obligation to protect the city from a terrorist threat."
The number of murders are now at the lowest levels since the 1950s. The high mark was in 1990 at the height of the crack epidemic, when more than 2,000 people were killed.
"If you compare this decade to the previous era's murder rate, we can literally say that we have saved more than 9,200 lives in the last 12 years," Bloomberg said.
During the graduation ceremony at Madison Square Garden, the mayor and the commissioner welcomed nearly 2,000 new recruits to the NYPD.
Kelly was reflective about his own career as a police officer as he rose to the city's top job in the department.
"Forty-seven years ago, I stood in your shoes with my fellow graduates of the police academy," he said. "I remember everything that I and my classmates felt that day."
With the inauguration of Bill de Blasio next week, Kelly will be stepping down. He'll be replaced by William Bratton, certainly no novice to the job. He served as police commissioner under Rudolph Giuliani in the '90s.