NEW YORK (CNN) -- New York City is on course to mark the fewest homicides since records have been kept, Mayor Michael Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly announced Wednesday.
The city is expected to fall below 500 murders in 2007, the lowest level for any year since 1963, when comparable information on homicides was first collected, Bloomberg said at a news conference.
"At the end of 2002, for the first time in four decades, murders in New York City fell below 600, and we were able to hold them below 600 for the next four years," Bloomberg said. "Today, with just five days of the year remaining, it appears that we have another historic achievement within our reach."
Bloomberg said decreases in major felony crimes were recorded across every crime category and in all five boroughs in 2007, marking the seventeenth straight year in which crime has gone down.
Since 2001, overall major felony crime has decreased 26 percent citywide, according to New York Police Department statistics. Watch how the city achieved success »
Declines in domestic violence-related homicides and transit crime particularly stand out, Bloomberg told reporters.
Domestic violence-related murders dropped a record 36 percent this year, the mayor said. The decline coincides with an effort by NYPD that doubled visits of specially trained detectives to households where domestic violence had occurred, officials noted.
Crime in the subway system in 2007 fell 13 percent below the record low numbers recorded last year, despite subway ridership that's at an all-time high.
Officials name "Operation Impact" as the prime reason for the decline in crime. The NYPD effort focuses on problem people and places, Kelly said. It places significant numbers of uniformed officers in small areas of precincts, where crime rates are relatively high.
Given the success of Operation Impact, the NYPD will assign all of this year's Police Academy graduates to the program, Kelly said.
Officials also credited an improved police and community partnership for the overall decline in crime.
"We are not the same New York that we were in 1990, a year when more than 2,000 people were murdered," Bloomberg said. "We're also not the same city we were in 2001, when many predicted that our crime-fighting gains would soon be a point of diminishing returns." E-mail to a friend