From The Mayor’s Desk...
From The Mayor’s Desk...
New York City Keeps Winning War On Crime
New York is the safest big city in the nation. We’re continuing to drive crime down to historic lows even while crime is on the rise in other cities. But the job of protecting New Yorkers doesn’t stop at the street corner; it extends into our public schools and behind the closed doors where too many women in our city are still victims of domestic violence. And we’ve launched major new initiatives to protect New Yorkers in what should always be safe havens: our schools and our homes.
Last September, we established a school safety partnership between the NYPD and the Department of Education that has focused on the schools and the students with the most troublesome behavior records. The NYPD has trained and deployed additional school safety agents and assigned them where they’re needed most; just last week, 133 new agents were sent into the field. Meanwhile, the Department of Education has developed new tools and procedures to identify students who are disciplinary problems, and protect those who want to learn. That has included establishing six "New Beginnings" centers for some 200 repeatedly disruptive students from eight high schools.
This partnership has produced terrific results. There’s been an eight percent reduction in major crimes in our schools since last September. And there’s been an even more dramatic crime drop in schools where it’s previously been a big problem. In fact, crime has fallen by more than 30 percent in the ten schools where it was highest a year ago. Now we’re going to build on that success; in the coming school year the New Beginnings centers will expand to serve up to nine additional high schools.
As to domestic violence: The emergency rooms in the city’s 11 public hospitals are on the frontlines of helping victims of domestic abuse. A strong, effective hospital response can influence a victim to disclose her abuse, receive counseling, develop a safety plan… even pursue charges against her batterer. And that’s why last week we launched "Project HEAL," which stands for "hospital emergency assistance link." Project HEAL will provide City hospital staff with the training and tools they need to recognize the signs of domestic violence, document injuries and help victims obtain counseling, legal representation and other forms of assistance.
For example, thanks to a donation from the "Doctor Joy to the World Foundation," high-quality digital cameras will be available in all City emergency rooms. These cameras will provide more detailed and accurate images of domestic violence injuries than the instant film cameras now in use. Those images also will be digitally stored, making them more readily available to health care providers and—with proper victim consent—prosecutors.
During the first quarter of this year, domestic violence-related homicides in our city decreased by 40 percent compared to the same period in 2002. And so far this year, we’ve driven crime against all New Yorkers down by more than 8%. We’re continuing to press ahead in the war on crime, and we’re determined to keep winning.