NYPD: Crime down in New York City, but so is officer morale

NEW YORK (WABC) -- The NYPD announced on Tuesday that crime continues to go down, but with two friendly fire deaths and more officer suicides, morale is also down.

There have been questions about whether the city is doing enough to support officers.

"It's a really good day, for this department, but against a backdrop that we know has been really tough," said Mayor Bill De Blasio on Tuesday at the swearing in ceremony of new NYPD officers.

The day was bittersweet for the mayor and the police department.

Crime dropped again and is down 2.6%. There's also a new academy class with 697 recruits.

But there has been plenty of tragedy. This year, there have been nine department suicides and two officers killed in the line of duty as a result of friendly fire.

"It's very, very painful," de Blasio said. "I think it's on everyone's mind, but it's a very resilient force. The important thing is that all New Yorkers need to keep telling our officers how much we value them."

The mayor spoke with Eyewitness News after meeting with four new police recruits. He chatted with them about their hopes and fears as they begin a new life in the NYPD.

Tuesday's class is the most diverse in city history. More than 60% of the class is from a minority group and 27% are women.

"More than 23% of today's new recruits were born outside the United States in 40 different countries, and this group speaks 28 different languages," said Police Commissioner James O'Neill. "To me, that's really remarkable."

The mayor called it unfair that there is any perception that he is not pro-police.

De Blasio has overseen dramatic change within the department from body cameras to neighborhood policing, spending more money and hiring 2,000 more police officers.

The result? Another month of lower crime.

"That's commitment," said de Blasio. "I believe in our officers and I believe in the NYPD. I've tried to show that by investing in them."

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