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At a speech to the Manhattan Institute in New York City with Louis Freeh, the former director of the FBI, former New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani bragged, as he often dows, about his crime-fighting prowess. "Fifty-six percent decline in overall crime. A 73 percent decline in motor-vehicle theft. A 67 percent decline in robbery. A 66 percent decline in murder. This is way beyond what happened in the nation during this period of time." During his eight years in office, federal records do show that rates of violent and property crime in New York dropped as sharply as he claims. It is also true that those rates of decline outpaced national averages, and that New York boasted a low violent crime rate compared to the biggest big cities, like Los Angeles and Houston.
But his claims do come with some caveats: Numerous studies have failed to show that the politicies of Giuiliani and his police commanders were directly responsible for the decline in crime.
Crime rates dropped nationwide during those years, 1994-2001, and most large cities saw significant declines; San Francisco, in fact, enjoyed the steepest drop in violent crime. And, significantly, violent crime rates in New York City had been falling for three years before he took office.
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