The drop in the civilian complaints for the first five months of 1997 is the largest drop in complaints in the last decade.
It's interesting to note, as crime has dropped during the first five months of 1997 by another 15 percent above and beyond the statistics the FBI released two weeks ago, during that same period, civilian complaints have gone down even more than crime.
To a very large extent, I attribute this success to the leadership of Commissioner Howard Safir. From the very first day he became Police Commissioner of New York City, he vowed not only to substantially reduce crime, but to foster a growing atmosphere of courtesy, professionalism and respect among the police officers of New York City.
Commissioner Safir has made both of these goals equal priorities in the city and we're now beginning to see the tangible results.
Since the introduction of the CPR strategy last June, the Police Department has experienced a dramatic reduction in civilian complaints in every single borough. For the first time, through the Police Department's CompStat Program, police commanders are not only held accountable for the crime conditions in their precincts, but also for the conduct of the officers in their command.
The 21 percent decline in civilian complaints for the first five months of 1997, over the same period in 1996, follows a year in which there was a slight decline. Yet these two years represent a significant turning point in that they have reversed the prior trends in which civilian complaints had actually been increasing.
Many of the categories in which we've seen substantial reductions in civilian complaints have been very noteworthy. For example, allegations of force dropped 20 percent; allegations of offensive language dropped 39.6 percent, and allegations of abuse of authority dropped 28.9 percent.
This underscores what Police Commissioner Safir and I have said for quite some time -- that the men and women of the New York City Police Department can be tough on crime and criminals without being abusive and discourteous to the people of New York City. In fact, they can be and are being respectful, and they are expected to be.
The CPR strategy has made great strides in building trust between the communities of this city and the police department and, in turn, has helped us to become the safest large city in the United States.
In what has truly been a team effort, the New York City police, the correction officers, the probation officers, and of course the communities of New York City, have succeeded in taking back the streets of New York.
If you do have any complaints about what you believe to be inappropriate police behavior, please call 1-800-341-CCRB.
One final note -- summer began yesterday, and today threatens to be a very, very hot day. Drink a lot of water, stay out of the sun, slow down your activities, and have a good and healthy Sunday.
From Gracie Mansion, this is Mayor Rudy Giuliani.