The following is the text of Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg’s weekly radio address as prepared for delivery on 1010 WINS News Radio for Sunday, March 24, 2013.
“Ensuring public safety is government’s most basic responsibility, and it’s one our Administration has focused on from the very start. Crime in New York City is down 37 percent since 2001. Last year we set a new record low for murders – and a record low for shootings. And unlike many other cities, we haven’t cut crime by locking more people up. Just the opposite: New York’s incarceration rate has fallen by 32 percent since 2001. In the rest of the nation, the incarceration rate has gone up by 5 percent.
“But as far as we’ve come, the fact remains that gun violence remains a serious problem here – as it is across the country.
“On Thursday, I welcomed Vice President Joe Biden to City Hall, as well as a number of Newtown, Connecticut families who lost loved ones in the tragedy at Sandy Hook Elementary School just three months ago. Our memory of that horrific day hasn’t dimmed, and our resolve to see that Congress passes common-sense gun laws, including universal background checks for gun sales, is as strong as ever. We know the American people are with us, too. Recent polls show that 90 percent of Americans support criminal background checks for anyone purchasing a gun. The President and Vice President have put forward a comprehensive package of gun safety reforms. And our bi-partisan coalition Mayors Against Illegal Guns is doing everything possible to support them.
“Here in New York City, we’ve done everything possible to take illegal guns off the street – and that’s a big reason why crime is at record lows. But unfortunately, there are some elected officials and special interest groups who seem to take our public safety gains for granted.
“Right now, the City Council is considering a dangerous bill that would create a new bureaucracy – headed by an Inspector General – to oversee the policies and strategies adopted by the Police Commissioner. That would undermine the accountability that has been so essential to the Police Department’s success in driving down crime. It would be a terrible mistake to give an unelected and unaccountable bureaucracy the power to supervise crime-fighting policies. It would be a disaster for public safety – and make our city less safe.
“We cannot afford to play election year politics with the safety of our city… and we cannot afford to roll back the incredible progress of the past 20 years. If the bill is passed, I will veto it – and I will continue doing everything I can to keep driving down crime to record lows.’