May 24, 2004
Mayor: NYC still the nation’s ’safest big city’
ALBANY, N.Y. -- Violent crime in New York City took another dip in 2003, joining other large cities in outpacing the country as a whole, officials said Monday.
Serious crimes -- murder, manslaughter, rape, robbery and aggravated assault -- fell 5.8 percent compared with 2002. The average decrease for cities with more than 1 million inhabitants was 6.5 percent, compared to 3.2 percent nationwide, according to newly released FBI crime statistics.
At City Hall, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said the decrease helped push the city down eight spots in per capita rankings of 230 cities with more than a 100,000 population -- to No. 211, just after Port St. Lucie, Fla. The city had the lowest per capita crime rate among the 10 most populous cities in 2003, he said.
The numbers mean the city "retained its title as the safest big city in the country," Bloomberg said.
The city's crime rate fell 4.5 percent last year -- the 10th consecutive year of decline.
The city spends more than $5 billion a year on Police Department-related expenses, including pensions, the mayor said. The force, with about 36,000 officers, is the nation's largest.
"If you want to be safe, it costs a lot of money," he said.
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