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NYPD: homicides, shootings likely to hit all-time low

New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly speaks

New York City Police Commissioner Ray Kelly speaks in Manhattan, Aug. 30, 2012. Credit: Jason DeCrow

New York City expects to record all-time lows in 2012 for the fewest numbers of homicides and shootings, officials said Friday.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg and police Commissioner Ray Kelly said the city had 414 homicides through Thursday and 1,353 shootings through Dec. 23.

"The fact that the safest big city in America is safer than ever is a testament to the hard work and determination of the men and women who put their lives on the line for us every day -- and it also reflects our commitment to doing everything possible to stop gun violence," Bloomberg said Friday at the Police Department Recruit Graduation Ceremony at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

Kelly said police statistics show the department is reducing the number of weapons in the city annually by about 8,000, including 800 illegal handguns.

"We're preventing crimes before someone is killed and before someone else has to go to prison for murder or other serious crimes," he said. "We're also forging new alliances with advocates for public safety in every corner of the city."

The previous record lows for both homicides and shootings were in 2009, with 471 and 1,420, respectively.

Data for shootings was first recorded with the introduction of the NYPD's CompStat crime reporting system in 1994.

Comparable homicide statistics date to 1963, when the city recorded 548 homicides. The most homicides New York City recorded in a single year was 2,245 in 1990 -- an average of six a day. Today, New York City averages closer to one homicide a day -- even though the city's population has grown by roughly a million people since 1990.

Guns remained the leading cause of homicide in New York City again this year. Of the 414 homicides so far, 237 were by firearms. This is 61 fewer gun-related homicides than last year. In 2001, there were 371 gun-related homicides.By contrast, Chicago on Thursday logged its 500th homicide of 2012, The Associated Press reported. Last year, the city logged 435 homicides.

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