The number of homicides in the city this year is set to plunge to the lowest figure since recordkeeping began, registering an eye-popping 19% decline, officials said Tuesday.
There were 414 murders in Gotham as of Christmas Eve, compared with 508 at the same time in 2011, an unofficial tally obtained by the Daily News shows.
The final figure is all but certain to fall below the previous low of 471, recorded in 2009. There were a total of 515 at the end of last year.
"I'm thankful for the fact that this year there will be the lowest number of murders that we've had since we started to record them in 50 years, even though the population is as high as it's ever been," Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly said.
"I think it's important for the public to know that we have had a fair amount of success in New York and we're moving in the right direction," added Kelly, who often credits the NYPD's controversial stop-and-frisk policy for crime reduction.
The city began keeping murder records in 1963.
"Certain spots have gotten better over the years, but it's still dangerous," said Ray Perez, 18, who grew up in the area. "I worry about the future, if it's beginning to get worse again."
Last year's most dangerous precinct, the 75th in East New York, Brooklyn — has recorded 17 murders, but that represented a significant decrease from 28 in 2011.
Jamaica, Queens, had 16, a drop of one murder compared with last year's total.
The number of shootings in New York City also dropped from 1,478 to 1,353 — the lowest figure since that stat was first measured some 20 years ago, Kelly said.
The drop in homicides could push the murder count below the city's suicide numbers, according to the city Health Department, which said in a report this year that about 475 New Yorkers kill themselves annually.
City Councilman Jumaane Williams, a Democrat who represents Brooklyn's 67th Precinct, where murders dropped to 13 from 22, has often been critical of police tactics, but he hailed the decline in crime. "There's a good relationship between the precinct and the community," he said Tuesday. "It's not because of stop-and-frisk."
But state Sen. Martin Golden, who represents Sheepshead Bay, Brooklyn, said the policy did play a role in the NYPD's success.
"If you think that stop-and-frisk isn't playing a role, then you are fooling yourself," Golden said. "The Police Department is doing an outstanding job."
With Irving DeJohn, Barry Paddock and Denis Slattery
By: New York Daily News