Murder rate drops to all-time low

January 24, 2013 Denise Romano
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The number of murders and shootings in New York City dropped to an all-time low in 2012, according to Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly.

As of the morning of December 28, there were 414 homicides citywide in 2012. The previous record low was 471, in 2009. Murders dropped in 2012 by 19 percent, compared to 2011; they have dropped by 35 percent since Bloomberg took office.

In Brooklyn in particular, there were 149 murders in 2012, “the first time it was under 150 since 1960,” according to the office of Brooklyn District Attorney Charles Hynes, who took office in 1990, when the Brooklyn murder rate stood at 780.

“The key to this dramatic drop in murders has been the dedication of our communities and their collaboration with everyone from their religious leaders to city councilmen to local precinct commanders determined to keep their neighborhoods safe,” said Hynes, who noted that, “The exceptional deployment efforts of Police Commissioner Raymond W. Kelly and more than one dozen programs, initiated by my office with the support of other government and non-governmental organizations, demonstrated to the average citizen that we are dedicated to their needs.”

Among the programs instituted by Hynes’ office is a reentry program that helps people who have been incarcerated ease back into the outside world as well as a drug treatment alternative program, and one directed at gang members to help them live within the law. Hynes’ office has also held numerous gun buy-backs in the past few years.

Shootings were also at a record low — 1,353 — this year. The previous low was 1,420, recorded in 2009. Shootings dropped by 8.5 percent compared to 2011 and have dropped 14.5 percent since Bloomberg took office in 2001.

“The fact that the safest big city in America is safer than ever is a testament to the hard work and determination of the men and women who put their lives on the line for us every day – and it also reflects our commitment to doing everything possible to stop gun violence,” said Bloomberg at the Police Department recruit graduation ceremony held at the Barclays Center.

“We’re taking 8,000 weapons annually out of the hands of people we stop, 800 of them illegal handguns,” added Kelly. “We’re preventing crimes before someone is killed and before someone else has to go to prison for murder or other serious crimes. We’re also forging new alliances with advocates for public safety in every corner of the city.”

Deputy Inspector James Rooney, commanding officer of the 62nd Precinct, said that the low murder rate was due to “more targeted enforcement in areas that have been problematic. They are getting more resources that we need to prevent crimes from occurring.”

Captain James Grant, commanding officer of the 72nd Precinct, attributed the numbers to better police work. “The officers are diligent and attentive,” he said.

Grant noted that statistics play a big role, as well. “Placing them [officers] in the right areas where crime is happening [helps reduce crime],” he explained.

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