Archives of Rudolph W. Giuliani

Mayor's WINS Address
Sunday, May 16, 1999

Hear the Mayor's Message

New York City's Subways Become Even Safer
by Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani

People throughout the five boroughs know from personal experience how much safer New York City has become over the last six years. Since 1993, overall crime has declined by 50 percent, and homicide has dropped by 70 percent. And this year to date, overall crime continues to drop by another 12 percent.

This week, we received another indication of how much safer the City has become: crime in our subway system has declined dramatically in the first four months of this year, continuing a multi-year decline that is even steeper than the City's overall crime decline. Robberies declined 17 percent from last year to this year… grand larcenies by 12 percent… assaults by 18 percent. Reported robbery in the subways has now declined by 68 percent over the last six years. That's a tribute to our police officers as well as to the Transit Authority.

And the decline has been particularly impressive since the merger of the transit police and the New York City Police Department in 1996, which was feared and protested at the time as a move that would hurt the overall safety of subway passengers. But because we had studied and thought very carefully about the merger, we went forward with the plan despite the controversy. And now, it's clear that the merger has had exactly the opposite effect of what the cynics were predicting.

Maybe this can teach us a lesson about new ideas. Frequently in politics-and especially in the City of New York-people react to bold reform proposals like the merger of the police departments or the introduction of competition into the schools with closed rather than with open minds.

A reform-minded government should not be deterred from making changes because there's controversy. Of course a reform-minded government should listen to criticism, but in making very important decisions it should not be swayed by controversy, nor should it base its decisions on public opinion polls.

Luckily, today New York City is moving in the right direction, with the courage to try new ideas. And I think that's a major part of the City's transformation. Rather than feeling at the mercy of the status quo, we have faith in ourselves and in our ability to make our city a better place, now and into the next generation. This is Rudy Giuliani.


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