NEW YORK — New York City homicides this year will total “slightly more than” 500, the third fewest since record-keeping began five decades ago, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Wednesday.
The city had 502 killings as of Wednesday morning, according to Marc LaVorgna, a mayoral spokesman. The record low was 471 in 2009; second lowest was 499 in 2007, according to police statistics.
New York recorded 536 homicides last year, according to the police department’s website. Before 2002, the city hadn’t experienced fewer than 600 murders since the early 1960s, the mayor’s office said in a statement. Record-keeping began in 1963.
Low crime and fire-death rates have contributed to the growth of the city’s population to a record 8.4 million, record life-expectancy rates and an all-time high of more than 50 million tourists in 2011.
Major crime was up 0.4 percent because a change in the state’s criminal law expanded the definition of felony assault, LaVorgna said. Under the old formula, major crime would have decreased 1.2 percent, the 21st-straight annual drop.
This year’s 64 fire deaths were the second lowest, slightly above last year’s 62, the mayor said in a City Hall news conference.
The mayor is founder and majority owner of Bloomberg News parent Bloomberg LP.