Division of Criminal Justice Services

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Contact: John Caher, Press Office
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For immediate release:
Sept. 17, 2008

New York is the Safest Large State in the Nation Crime Decreases for 17th Consecutive Year

ALBANY -- A report issued this week by the FBI shows that New York in 2007 became the fourth safest state in the nation, leaping ahead of Vermont and trailing only South Dakota, New Hampshire and North Dakota on the safe state index. The report also shows that last year New York retained its position as the safest large state in America.

 “This FBI report illustrates the tremendous progress New York has made in fighting crime and vindicates our intelligence-based crime-fighting model,” said Denise E. O’Donnell, commissioner of the Division of Criminal Justice Services, adding that New York has now achieved a reduction in overall crime for 17 consecutive years. “These statistics are a tribute to the law enforcement community of New York, and the phenomenal job they do every day to make New York an even safer, even better place to raise our families and operate our businesses.”

According to Crime in the United States: 2007, the latest version of an annual compilation of offense and arrest data collected by the FBI, last year New York recorded the fourth lowest “index” crime rate in the nation. The seven “index” crimes are murder, rape, robbery, aggravated assault, burglary, larceny and motor vehicle theft.

Further, between 2006 and 2007, crime fell at a much greater rate in New York State than the rest of the country. New York reported declines of 4.8 percent in violent crime and 3.7 percent in property crime, compared with 0.4 percent and 1.3 percent decreases in the rest of the country. Among states with populations greater than 10 million, New York has the lowest index and property crime rates and trails only Ohio with the second lowest violent crime rate.

“We have no intention of resting on our laurels,” Commissioner O’Donnell said. “We are moving ahead with crime-fighting initiatives like Operation IMPACT and the development of crime analysis centers in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse and Albany. Despite the state’s fiscal crisis, we cannot and will not jeopardize public safety.”

Also today, Commissioner O’Donnell released the DCJS annual report on New York crime data, Crime in New York State: 2007 Final Data. According to the DCJS report:

  • In 2007, New York State reported an overall drop of 4 percent in the seven index crimes. Violent crimes dropped by 5 percent (led by a 13 percent decrease in murders) and property crime declined by 3 percent (led by a 13 percent drop in motor vehicle thefts);
  • In prior years, the decrease in statewide crime was driven largely by significant declines in crime in New York City. Last year, however, marked the first time since 1993 that the annual crime decline outside New York City exceeded the decrease reported within New York City;
  • Violent crime by firearm outside of New York City dropped 15 percent last year.

Commissioner O’Donnell observed that the decrease in crime last year was especially dramatic in the 17 jurisdictions that are part of Operation IMPACT.

Operation IMPACT is New York’s program to tackle violent and gun crime through intelligence-based policing, partnerships among law enforcement and community organizations and timely use of accurate crime data. It targets the 17 counties outside of New York City that account for approximately 80 percent of the crime occurring upstate and on Long Island. Those counties are: Albany, Broome, Chautauqua, Dutchess, Erie, Monroe, Nassau, Niagara, Oneida, Onondaga, Orange, Rensselaer, Rockland, Schenectady, Suffolk, Ulster and Westchester.

In the IMPACT counties last year:

  • Overall crime decreased 6 percent;
  • Firearm-related crime dropped more than 17 percent, while shootings involving injury declined nearly 15 percent;
  • Property crime dropped 5 percent.

Commissioner O’Donnell also noted that New York is in the process of opening state-of-the-art crime analysis centers in major upstate cities. The commissioner officially opened the Erie Crime Analysis Center on Friday and plans to open the Rochester and Syracuse facilities within the next several weeks. Another crime analysis center is planned for Albany.

 “The crime analysis centers will provide law enforcement with a centrally located unit that will analyze countywide crime data on a daily basis,” Commissioner O’Donnell said. “This represents the next logical step in Operation IMPACT and expands on the key IMPACT concepts – the accurate use of timely crime data and the use of technology to complement and enhance traditional crime-fighting strategies.”

The DCJS report, which includes a county-by-county summary of crime data, is available here.

The FBI report is available at http://www.fbi.gov/page2/sept08/crimestats_091508.html


The New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services is a multi-function criminal justice support agency with a variety of responsibilities, including collection and analysis of statewide crime data; operation of the DNA databank and criminal fingerprint files; administration of federal and state criminal justice funds; support of criminal justice-related agencies across the state; and administration of the state’s Sex Offender Registry and a toll-free telephone number (1-800-262-3257) that allows anyone to research the status of an offender