In the past two years, New York City, however, unlike the rest of the country, has been able to buck the trend of increased drug use. Through our coordinated, comprehensive efforts, we have actually been able to reduce drug use in New York City in 1994 and 1995 as it was increasing in most of the rest of the country. And in the last two years, we have also seen a decrease in cocaine and heroin use among our city's teenagers, even as that use has increased in much of the rest of America.
The reason that New York City has done better than the rest of the country in dealing with drug abuse is, I believe, in part, because we reversed the unspoken policy of the prior administration not to have police officers arrest street level drug dealers. I believed that this sent exactly the wrong message to the children of our city -- that the drug dealers were running the streets, and drug dealers rather than police officers too often became the role models for young people.
Recognizing this disturbing pattern of increasing crime, violence and drug use in younger and younger children, two years ago my administration developed police strategies specifically designed to combat street level drug dealing, youth crime and guns -- to send a clear message that this is a city ruled by laws, not by criminals. This has resulted in New York City being able to do better than most of the rest of America in seeing reductions in drug use rather than what's going in the rest of the country, which is an increase.
Earlier this year in my State of the City address, I dedicated my administration to improving the lives of our city's children. And as a cornerstone of that agenda, I announced a new anti-drug initiative that is the most intensive, comprehensive effort to eliminate the drug trade in city history.
The effort was launched in Brooklyn North, bringing an additional 800 police officers to that area of the city. Those officers are focusing on all levels of drug trafficking. They are literally liberating the community from the scourge of drug trafficking, and returning it to the families, to the children, and to the hard-working, law-abiding citizens of the community.
Our efforts have reduced crime in Brooklyn North by 22% since the beginning of this initiative, making that area a leader in crime reduction throughout the city.
And starting in about one week, Police Commissioner Howard Safir is going to be launching a similar effort in the northern part of Manhattan, which means Washington Heights and Harlem and other parts of Upper Manhattan will soon be benefiting from the same kind of dramatic improvement.
Our children are our future. New Yorkers should join together to help our city's young people grow and develop into contributing, productive members of our society.
One of the most important ways to do that is to teach our children to resist the destructive influences of drugs. Through our example, through our words, through our actions, we must make it clear that drugs simply will not be tolerated.
We in City Hall are working very hard to help rid our city of drugs. Now we need all New Yorkers to pitch in with the effort. Together, we can help ensure that our children have the bright, happy, drug-free futures that they deserve.
From Gracie Mansion, this is Rudy Giuliani.