From The Mayor's Desk ...
Our city is also more popular than ever before. How do we know? Because millions of tourists came to visit us between Thanksgiving and Christmas alone. And last week, we estimated that our year-end visitor count for 2006 will reach a record-breaking 44 million. That includes about 7 million visitors from other countries.
Tourism numbers aren't the only statistic to go up in 2006. Job creation is also on the rise. For the twelve months ending in November, the city gained 42,600 private sector jobs. That's 6,300 more jobs than we added over the same period in 2005. And the City's Department of Small Businesses Services has succeeded in connecting New Yorkers to many of those new jobs. Over the past 12 months, our Workforce 1 Career Centers have placed more than 16,000 workers - that's an increase of over 80% from 2005.
Calls to 311 are also skyrocketing. In fact, this October, 311 received its 40 millionth call since inception. And I must not be the only New Yorker who calls 311 when I see some trash that needs to be picked up, because, this year, the percentage of streets rated acceptably clean also rose to 94 % - the highest recorded level since the rating system was created in the early 1970s.
Sometimes, what's "down" in New York is just as important as what's up. Take crime, for example. In 2006, we drove crime down another 4.5%. That means that crime has declined by nearly 25% since 2002. As the safest big city gets even safer, it's no wonder so many people want to come and visit!
Thankfully, the number of civilian fire fatalities has also decreased - by more than 25% since 2005. And EMS response times are down, too - by about 24 seconds. This is largely due to the installation of GPS technology that has allowed us to dispatch and track ambulances more effectively than ever before.
2006 also saw another important decline: a 13% decrease in street homeless. That reduction led to the closing of the largest homeless shelter in the nation, and put us well on our way to realizing our ambitious goal of reducing homelessness in New York City by two-thirds by 2009.
By all accounts, 2006 was one of best years New York has ever had. But my personal New Year's resolution is to make 2007 even better .