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Bloomberg hails drop in jail population

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at

New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg speaks at a news conference at the South Jamaica Neighborhood Opportunity Network in Queens. (Dec. 26, 2013) Credit: Charles Eckert

Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who leaves office next week, credited his administration Thursday with putting fewer people in jail even as it continued to bring down New York City's crime rates.

The incarceration rate fell 36 percent during his 12-year tenure while the national rate rose 3 percent, he said.

"We've kept our city safer is the bottom line while locking fewer people up," Bloomberg said at a news conference at the Probation Department's Neighborhood Opportunity Network offices in Jamaica.

The city lowered its incarceration rate in part with initiatives such as alternatives to jail for substance abusers, Deputy Mayor Howard Wolfson wrote in a memo titled "T-Minus 5."

The total crime rate has dropped 32 percent compared to 2001, Wolfson wrote.

Mayor-elect Bill de Blasio will be sworn in on Jan. 1.

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