New York's crime level lowest for 40 years

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The Independent US

New York once had a deserved reputation for mean streets and no-go areas. But after a series of uncompromising initiatives, the amount of crime has been cut to levels not seen since the early 1960s.

New York once had a deserved reputation for mean streets and no-go areas. But after a series of uncompromising initiatives, the amount of crime has been cut to levels not seen since the early 1960s.

The drop has been achieved even while the amount of overtime available has been cut and many officers have been redeployed from crime-fighting duties to deal with the aftermath of the terror attacks of 11 September.

The latest New York Police Department statistics show 85 murders were reported in the first quarter up to 17 March, down almost 40 per cent from the similar period last year. In Manhattan, only 11 murders were recorded, compared with 28 last year.

The figures show that overall violent crime – including murder, rape, robbery, assault, burglary and car theft – was down by almost 8 per cent on last year. The numbers were down 18 per cent compared with 2000, and more than 65 per cent below those of 1993.

Much of the credit is given to the city's former mayor Rudolph Giuliani, who pioneered "zero tolerance" policies, meaning all crimes were prosecuted. This has been seen by New Yorkers as proof that tough police, prosecution, and sentencing practices were the only ways to make streets safe.

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