New York City had 290 murders last year, the fewest on record since comparable record-keeping began in 1951, when the subway fare was a dime and Harry Truman was president.
There also were fewer shootings, 789, and fewer overall crimes reported in 2017 — a total of 96,517. Arrests also were down by more than 30,000 from 2016.
“In terms of crime reduction in New York City, 2017 will go down in history as the safest year we’ve seen in nearly seven decades,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said at a press conference at One Police Plaza Friday. “That span covers three generations of New Yorkers, some of whom believe that more 2,000 murders a year was not only a price of doing business in New York City but it might be normal and that nothing could be done about.”
Police say the decline in crime is due in part to focusing more on larger takedowns and less on smaller infractions, and a shift to focus on community-based policing in the city’s precincts.
“New York is not the violent nightmare we once read about. It’s our home and we’re willing to fight for it,” O’Neill said.
Mayor Bill de Blasio said the drop in crime represents the high point in the department’s history. In 2016, there were 335 murders. The all-time high number of arrests was 422,325 in 2010. Last year, there were 286,227.
Crime was down in most categories except for assaults on females, of which there were 1,446, four more than in 2016.
Officials said they would spend 2018 trying to push crime down even lower.
“We can do better,” said Chief Dermot Shea, head of crime control strategies.