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New York crime rate hits record lows despite political tension

By UPI Staff
New York crime rate hits record lows despite political tension
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio speaks at the New York City Police Academy's graduation ceremony at Madison Square Garden in New York City on December 27, 2014. The relationship between de Blasio and the NYPD has been poor in the past weeks due to the alleged lack of support for the police from de Blasio. UPI/Dennis Van Tine | License Photo

NEW YORK, Jan. 1 (UPI) -- Despite tension between the police department and the mayor, New York City saw its safest year on record in 2014.

Only 328 murders were recorded in the city last year, a massive drop from the 1990 high of 2,245. Property crime was also down: 16,326 robberies were recorded through Dec. 28, a 14 percent drop from 2013.

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While crime as a whole was down, shootings, misdemeanor sex crimes and auto theft saw a slight uptick from 2013.

Dennis C. Smith, a New York University professor of public policy, told the New York Times that, despite the drop in stop and frisk detentions since Bill de Blasio took over as mayor from Michael Bloomberg, the police department's crime prevention strategy has remained unchanged.

Police Commissioner William J. Bratton, a staunch de Blasio ally, oversaw the end of stop and frisk seeking to mend the relationship between the NYPD and citizens, particularly minority males often targeted by the policy. The 2014 choking death of Eric Garner at the hands of police officers, and the failure of a grand jury to indict those responsible, had the opposite effect.

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The aftermath of the Garner incident and the protests that ensued also created a rift between the police department and de Blasio, a mayor who lauded the police at an Academy graduation ceremony Monday, calling their 2014 performance "an achievement for the ages."

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