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  June 12, 2005

Our Economy Is Growing, Our Future Is Bright

By Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg

When our Administration came into office, the city’s economy was in a recession. The Police Department, like all City agencies, had to tighten its belt and, at the same time, focus additional resources on important new counter-terrorism and intelligence responsibilities. No wonder that a lot of people thought that New York just wouldn’t be able to hold onto the crime-fighting gains we had made during the 1990s.

Well, just the opposite has been true. Last week, the FBI’s annual Uniform Crime Report for 2004 showed that of the nation’s 25 largest cities, New York has the lowest crime rate. In fact, among 240 American cities with populations of 100,000 or more people, we ranked 221st, making us safer than such cities as Provo, Utah and Sioux City, South Dakota.

Last year, our crime-fighting success outpaced the nation’s in virtually every category. Our decline in violent crime was more than three times what it was in the rest of the U.S. Our drop in property crime was nearly twice what it was nationwide. But probably the most important success we achieved was in stopping murders. During 2004, New York City’s murder rate was half what it was in Chicago and Los Angeles, and a third what it was in Philadelphia. 2004 was New York City’s third consecutive year with fewer than 600 homicides. So far this year, murder is down another 15%, making for a stunning 28% decline from four years ago.

With overall crime down better than 5% so far this year, we’re on track to improve on what we accomplished in 2004. That’s because we’re pursuing a multi-pronged strategy to making the nation’s safest big city even safer. We’re continuing to show zero tolerance for graffiti and quality of life crimes. At the same time, Operation Impact is pouring additional officers into areas still-plagued by crime—and it is having outstanding success. Initiatives like special Gun Courts that crack down on felony gun possession cases, and Operation Spotlight, that stops revolving door justice for chronic criminals, help prosecutors and the courts focus on our city’s problem people and problem places.

And on the frontlines of the war on crime are the men and women of the best police department in the world. On Thursday, I joined Commissioner Ray Kelly in honoring 34 officers and 17 NYPD units—the finest of our Finest—at the Police Department’s annual Medal Day. “Heroic” is an overused word—but it’s really the only one that describes the bravery these officers demonstrated in the face of gunfire, and their willingness to risk their own safety to protect the lives of the rest of us. Because of the valor, dedication, and professionalism of the NYPD, New York City’s streets are safer than they’ve been in 40 years. Our economy is growing. And our future is bright.