New York City's homicide rate hits 40-year low


A woman leaves flowers at the building where two Krim children were stabbed to death on October 25, 2012, in New York City. Their nanny, 50-year-old Yoselyn Ortega, pleaded not guilty to murder charges on November 28, 2012.


Spencer Platt

New York City has something to celebrate as 2012 comes to a close: the city's lowest murder rate in 40 years. 

New York had 414 murders so far this year, compared to 2011's 515 homicides, according to city officials. It also is lower than the previous record, 2009's 417 murders, the New York Times reported

Mayor Michael Bloomberg announced the numbers as the NYPD’s new class of recruits were sworn in at a ceremony on Friday. 

“The essence of civilization is that you can walk down the street without having to look over your shoulder,” Mayor Bloomberg said in a speech. "“We stop at nothing to try to keep everybody safe in this city and we will continue to do that," he added, according to CBS News

The city did see a slight uptick in general crime, however, due almost exclusively to robberies of iPhones and other Apple devices, according to the New York Times.

The Times noted that though the numbers were down, many of the year's murders "stood out as particularly disturbing." 

The stabbing of the two young Krim children at the hands of their nanny at their Manhattan apartment in October was cited as one of the "most horrific detectives could recall." 

More from GlobalPost: Krim murder motive: Nanny was angry she had to do housework and care for children

“I think those images get embedded in the minds of detectives more than other crime scenes,” Michael Palladino, president of the Detectives’ Endowment Association, told the Times. “It certainly makes you rethink the things that you take for granted, which is the safety of children.”

However, 2012's low murder rate is in stark contrast to the New York City of the 1990s, which had a record 2,245 murders in 1990, according to the Associated Press

Bloomberg credited the decrease to the NYPD's increase use of the controversial "stop and frisk" tactic, which allows officers to question and pat down people who are exhibiting suspicious behavior but are not committing any crime, CBS News explains

Stop-and-frisk stops have let to the seizure of around 8,000 weapons a year, including 800 illegal guns, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly told the AP. 

The newest class of New York police officers is 84 percent male and 16 percent female; 53 percent white, 25 percent Hispanic, 12 percent black, 9 percent Asian, and one percent of other races, according to CBS News. The force is also made up of officers from 46 different countries; one in five new police officers immigrated to the US, CBS reported.