New York City records fewest murders, lowest crime rate in decades

The murder rate has dropped for the fourth straight year

“No one believed it was possible to get under 300 murders,” de Blasio said. “The NYPD reached the goal that no one thought possible.”

The murder rate is a far cry from 1990, when 2,245 people were killed in the city.

"New York is not the violent nightmare that we once read about in the press, watched on TV and saw in the movies," said Police Commissioner James O'Neill.

The numbers of other crimes -– shootings, robberies, burglaries and grand larcenies auto –- also dropped, officials said.

“To see crime levels as low as we have today, you’d have to go back to 1951, when the Dodgers played in Brooklyn and a slice was 15 cents,” de Blasio added.

O’Neill said “2017 will go down in history as the safest year in decades,” yet a nagging trouble spot remains. The number of rapes in the city increased 0.3 percent, as well as an uptick in crimes in the subway.

“We will not rest until we push that farther down,” said Dermot Shea, the NYPD's chief of crime control strategies, of the rapes. “It is a stubborn crime and we have work to do on that front.”

Overall, 2017 was the fourth straight year of declines in crime in New York City. According to NYPD records there were 96,517 crimes reported last year, compared with 102,052 in 2016, a drop of 5.4 percent.

Commissioner O’Neill credited enhanced training, upgraded equipment and an initiative known as neighborhood policing, which divides precincts into several sectors that the same officers work on the same shift. It’s meant to build ties between the communities and the officers that serve them.

“We’re restoring the role of patrol cop as problem solver,” O’Neill said.