NEW YORK: Major crime fell 4.6 percent in 2014 and homicides were at their lowest level in New York last year since records began, embattled mayor Bill de Blasio announced Monday.
Officials unveiled the record-breaking statistics with the mayor under fire from some members of the police department over the December 20 double murder of two officers in broad daylight.
Some officers turned their backs on de Blasio at the funerals of Detectives Wenjian Liu and Rafael Ramos, furious over his handling of anti-police protests and remarks that he counselled his bi-racial son to take special care when dealing with the police.
The mayor said overall major crime fell 4.6 percent in 2014 compared to 2013 and that last year saw the lowest number of homicides since the modern police records began in 1993.
The city saw 2,600 fewer robberies in 2014, a 15 percent reduction in major crime on the subway and 11 percent fewer complaints against police at a civilian review board, de Blasio said.
The mayor, who made improving police-community relations a key platform of his election in November 2013, presented the figures as a vindication of his policies.
Crime rates have fallen steadily for decades and police say per capita crime rates in New York are among the lowest in the US.
“For those of us who lived in the city for a long time these were numbers once unimaginable,” said de Blasio.
“As we have driven down crime we have seen substantial decreases in the stop-and-frisk approach and substantial decreases in low level marijuana arrests,” he said.
He also issued a stark call on critics to rein in discontent.
“Rather than get lost in the daily back and forth by the loudest and most disrespectful voices… lets talk about where we need to go as a city, lets talk about a positive vision,” he said.
De Blasio has announced a $400 million investment in technology that will equip every patrol car with a tablet and each officer with a smart phone to make access to information quicker.
Police Commissioner Bill Bratton said New York saw on average six crimes a day on the subway in 2014, giving people a one in a million chance of being a victim of crime on the transit system.