Mayor Michael Bloomberg Mayor Michael Bloomberg cited successful gun-control efforts for keeping New York City's firearms fatality rate at half the national average. Credit: NYC Mayor's Office

Gun deaths in the city declined by more than 30 percent between 2000 and 2011, a new Health Department study shows.

There were 524 firearm-related murders in 2000, compared with 366 in 2011, according to the study. The nation overall saw no decline during the same period, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said in his radio address Sunday.

"Our success at keeping guns off our streets has meant that our city's overall firearms fatality rate is less than half the rate in the rest of the country, and it's markedly lower than that of other major cities," Bloomberg said.

 

The number of injuries caused by guns during the same 11-year period also declined, falling 21 percent.

The mayor credited the city's tough gun possession laws for the declines, as well as the "smart, proactive policing that makes it much more likely that if you break our city's gun laws, you'll be caught."

Despite the fall in firearm deaths, gun violence remains a serious problem in the city, Bloomberg noted. Neighborhoods such as East New York, Crown Heights, Central Harlem and the South Bronx have the highest numbers of firearm deaths and injuries in the city, with rates twice the city's average, the study found.

Firearms are also the leading cause of death for men aged 15 to 24 in those communities.

"We're working every day to address this epidemic by targeting police resources where they're most needed and implementing the same proactive law enforcement strategies that have proven so effective citywide," the mayor said.

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