NEW YORK — New York City had 290 murders last year, the fewest on record in the modern era.

There also were fewer shootings, 789, and fewer overall crimes reported in 2017 — a total of 96,517. Arrests also were down by more than 30,000 from 2016.

Police say the decline in crime is due in part to focusing more on larger takedowns and less on smaller infractions, and a shift to focus on community-based policing in the city’s precincts.

“New York is not the violent nightmare we once read about. It’s our home and we’re willing to fight for it,” Police Commissioner James O’Neill said Friday.

Mayor Bill de Blasio said the drop in crime represents the high point in the department’s history. In 2016, there were 335 murders. The 2017 tally was the lowest since comparable record-keeping began in 1951, when the then Brooklyn Dodgers played at Ebbets Field and the subway fare was a dime. The all-time high number of arrests was 422,325 in 2010. Last year, there were 286,227.

Police officials said there are fewer arrests because officers are working smarter.

Crime was down in most categories except for rape. There were 1,446 rapes reported in 2017, four more than in 2016.

Officials said they would spend 2018 trying to push crime down even lower.

“We can do better,” said Chief Dermot Shea, head of crime control strategies.

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COLLEEN LONG
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