NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) -- Crime in the city continues to decline and it may set a record by year's end.
Preliminary results through July show murders and shootings are down 17 percent since last year and if the trend continues the city could see the lowest number in violent crime since modern record keeping began.
Major crime is down 8.1 percent from last July, and overall serious crimes are down six percent over 2016.
"Seven months into 2017 we know we have now the safest year on record," Mayor Bill de Blasio said during a Thursday afternoon press conference, touting New York as the safest big city in America.
"The hard work carried out by the men and women of the NYPD continues to drive down crime even further in New York City," said Police Commissioner James P. O'Neill. "As we have recently seen, this success has not come without extraordinary sacrifice. From targeted investigations of the select few responsible for the bulk of our crime, to the strengthening of meaningful relationships we rely on in every community we serve, the progress continues."
Richard Aborn, president of the Citizens Crime Commission, said the NYPD's focus on gangs and guns remains a key factor in the continuing decline in violent crime along with neighborhood policing.
"Working in the neighborhood and working with gang members, these are all prevention methodologies," Aborn told WCBS 880's Marla Diamond reported. "We look for resolution of problems and that's a big change."
"This is occurring while we've almost eliminated stop and frisk, it's down to about 12,000 stops a year I think," Aborn added. "We have put fewer, and fewer, and fewer people in jail; and we're arresting fewer, and fewer people. So New York is getting very close to have exactly the right balance and frankly I hope and actually believe these numbers will continue to go down."
Aborn said another factor in the decline is the Cure Violence program in which former gang members work with kids to prevent them from making the same mistakes.
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