NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — In his last weekly radio address for 2012, Mayor Michael Bloomberg touted the city’s achievement of an all-time record low in shootings and homicides.
The city saw the lowest number of homicides in 50 years this year. Record-keeping began in 1963.
As of Friday, 414 homicides had been recorded for the year in 2012, although at least two more have occurred this weekend. Bloomberg said in his address that the previous record low was 471 in 2009, and “going into this weekend, it was clear we were going to break that record – by a lot.”
“Stepping back further makes the picture even more impressive: In 1990, New York City had 2,245 murders; an average of more than six a day,” Bloomberg said. “Today, we average closer to one a day – even though our population has grown by roughly a million people over the same period of time.”
But Bloomberg emphasized that the city still needs to do more to stop shootings with illegal guns that injure or take the lives of New Yorkers.
“And our city is not alone,” he said. “The horrifying shootings in Newtown two weeks ago broke all of our hearts – and reminded us how far we still have to go to keep our nation safe from guns. Every single day, 33 Americans, many of them children, are murdered with guns. It’s a national tragedy that demands an immediate national response.”
Bloomberg, who serves as co-chair of the Mayors Against Illegal Guns Coalition, said he is “doing everything he can” to push federal lawmakers to adopt “common-sense gun laws.”
Bloomberg credited “tough, smart gun laws” and “the world’s greatest police department” with reducing the violent crime rate – which he said was one of the reasons the life expectancy rate in New York City is at an all-time high.
“Other innovative measures we’ve put in place have also played a part; they include reducing tobacco use, making our streets safer for drivers and pedestrians, posting restaurant calorie counts, and increasing access to healthy foods,” he said. “Thanks to these measures, babies born in our city in 2010 can expect to live longer, healthier lives than at any other time in the city’s history.”
In an address Friday as he swore in the NYPD’s newest class of recruits at the Barclays Center, Bloomberg also redited police tactics with the reduction in crime, including the controversial stop-and-frisk program.
While New York posted a record low for homicides, the news was not so good for other major American cities. Chicago posted its 500th murder on Friday – marking the highest homicide total since 2008, when that city saw 512 murders.
Through the end of November, shootings also were up more than 11 percent compared to 2011. But Chicago Police Supt. Gary McCarthy emphasized that overall, crime was down 9 percent this year in Chicago.
New York City saw an excess of 1,000 murders every year from 1969 through 1995, and more than 2,000 in 1990 – the record-setting year, as well as 1991. When recordkeeping began in 1963, the city saw 548 murders.
Who or what do you credit for the record low homicide rate? Leave your comments below…