New York Remains Safest Big U.S. City as Crime Declines 5%, Mayor Says

New York City’s major crime rate fell 5.1 percent in 2009, and its 471 murders represented an annual decline of 9.9 percent compared with the national average of 7.2 percent, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said.

FBI crime data showed that of the 25 largest U.S. cities New York recorded 2,242 “index crimes” of murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary, larceny and auto theft for every 100,000 residents, the mayor’s office said today in a news release. San Jose, California, was ranked second with 2,746 such crimes per 100,000, and San Diego third, with 2,903 per 100,000.

Among 266 U.S. cities with populations larger than 100,000 the city’s crime rate placed it 248th, between Garden Grove, California and Sunnyvale, California. No other city with more than 262,000 people was deemed safer than New York, the mayor’s office said.

“The men and women of the New York Police Department have found new ways to further drive down crime, even when faced with tough economic times and the threat of terrorism,” Bloomberg said in the release. “We will continue doing everything possible to keep making the safest big city in the country even safer.”

The 35,000-officer department will spend $4.5 billion in fiscal 2011, about 7.1 percent of the city budget, on personnel and tactics that include increasing police presence in high- crime areas, surveillance technology and a mobile network that can send information to computer-equipped squad cars, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly has said.

The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.

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To contact the reporter on this story: Henry Goldman in New York at hgoldman@bloomberg.net.

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