The crime rate in New York has tumbled to levels not seen since the 1960s, according to new figures released by the Federal Bureau of Investigation.
"Mean streets" no more, according to City Hall
The city's mayor, Michael Bloomberg, declared the Big Apple the safest city in the United States as he announced the crime figures for 2002 on Tuesday.
New York's overall crime rate of 3,100 per 100,000
people is 25% lower than the national rate of 4,119, according to the FBI's "Crime in the United States" report.
Mr Bloomberg attributed the 5% drop in crime between 2001 and 2002 to the outstanding work done by the New York Police Department.
"The safest big city in America keeps getting safer," Mr Bloomberg said.
"While the conventional wisdom said New York's crime rate would increase in a recession and fiscal crisis, the police department proved it wrong and showed once again why they are the finest in the world."
Mr Bloomberg made the announcement along with Police Chief Raymond Kelly.
"In 2002, homicides fell to their lowest level since 1963, when Mayor Robert F Wagner was in City Hall and President John F Kennedy was in the White House," Mr Kelly said.
The BBC's New York correspondent Jane Standley says pundits had predicted that the city's crime rate would increase as its budget crisis and the economic recession nationally grew worse.
The police force has lost 4,000 officers and is having to divert a large proportion of its resources to counter-terrorism and security measures.
The number of murders committed is down below the level of 1963, at 580 a year - a drop of over 10% on the previous year's figure of 649.
Nationwide, murder rates increased on average by 1%.
But while murders are down, the number of reported rapes and violent robberies remains unchanged in New York.