With just four days left before his 12-year tenure in City Hall comes to an end, Mayor Michael Bloomberg is celebrating what he views as one of his crowning achievements: the record-low homicide rate across the five boroughs.
Speaking at an NYPD graduation ceremony today, Mr. Bloomberg wasn’t bashful in making sure both his administration and police department get full credit for the drop in crime over the past decade.
“The crime reductions the NYPD has driven over the past 12 years have defied the odds and far outpaced the rest of the nation. Twelve years ago, no one thought New York City’s crime rate could go any lower. But then it did,” said Mr. Bloomberg, rattling off statistics to support his claim, including “the most important measure of public safety”: less than 340 murders logged so far this year.
“If you compare this decade to the previous eras’ murder rates, we can literally say that we have saved more than 9,200 lives in the last 12 years,” the mayor added.
Mr. Bloomberg’s policing policies have come under intense scrutiny throughout the year. A federal judge ruled against the controversial stop-and-frisk tactic’s current implementation and Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio–who will replace Mr. Bloomberg come January–emerged as one of the foremost stop-and-frisk critics during his winning campaign.
But it is not just Mr. Bloomberg who is in legacy mode in the face of potential skeptics. Outgoing Police Commissioner Ray Kelly also spoke today and touted both his record and Mr. Bloomberg’s accomplishments.
“Under the mayor’s leadership, New York has become a better city under every measure,” said Mr. Kelly, citing the economy, school system and public health initiatives. “And yes, they’re safer too. It has truly been an honor for me to a part of Mayor Bloomberg’s administration and to lead the men and women of the greatest police department in the world.”
Mr. Bloomberg was similarly kind to Mr. Kelly, who will be replaced by former Commissioner Bill Bratton in the new year.
“I think it’s fair to say that no police department in history, and no police commissioner in history, has ever done as much to save lives as this department and this commissioner,” Mr. Bloomberg told the police graduates. “In what will be his last graduation, I would like you to join me in giving Commissioner Kelly–a 45-year veteran of [the] New York Police Department–a big, well-deserved round of applause.”