The result of the Harris Poll comes as no surprise to most New Yorkers. Already, New York City is the number one international tourist destination in the world and fast becoming the most sought after place for domestic travelers to come and visit. In fact, last week I announced that in 1996, 25,600,000 domestic vistors [overnight and daytrippers] came to New York City -- the highest level ever, representing a 5% jump, or 1,300,000 more domestic travelers to come here with numbers expected to rise by an additional 2% to 26,117,000.
The record-setting increase in the number of tourists coming here reflects the growing perception that New York City, is one of the world's most exciting, cleanest, safest destinations.
People now feel safe here and that is owed in large measure to New York City's tremendous success in dramatically reducing the crime rate. According to the FBI, New York has become the safest large city in the nation with more than one million people.
And it looks like the good news is only getting better. Indeed, last Tuesday I was very proud to announce New York City's latest achievement in reducing the crime rate. Since 1993, overall crime in New York City has fallen by nearly 44 percent, fueled by a 13 percent reduction in the first half of 1997. These preliminary figures also indicate an additional 29 percent decline in murder, for a total decline since 1993 of 60 percent. Statistics like these change any misconceptions about New York City and in the process reaffirm our position as the Capital of the World.