Being a public official means taking credit when things go right and taking the blame when things go wrong, reality and justice notwithstanding. Pundits and political partisans will offer their spin, but politics being what they are, it’s often difficult to tell who is actually doing what and what it all means. But Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s final management report, released last month, relays at least part of the story the billionaire will leave behind in New York.
The 284-page document includes data on all operations under the mayor's office, from public safety and economy to education and sanitation. Here are some highlights from the report, all based on fiscal year data.
- Major felony crime is on the upswing in the short term, up 0.7 percent in 2013, but down 36 percent overall since 2001.
- Fire fatalities fell from 70 to 47 in 2013, a 33 percent drop. Civilian fire casualties also show a steady drop over the past 12 years, declining from 3,337 in 2001 to 2,603 in 2013. This data doesn’t include the World Trade Center attacks on Sept. 11, 2001.
- Major felony crime in schools dropped 14 percent this year, and is down 56 percent since 2001.
- Emergency response time to structural fires has increased by six seconds, on average, from 2012 to 2013, and is 12 seconds slower than in 2001.
- Police response time has slowed by six seconds, on average, since 2012, and was 24 seconds slower compared to 2008. However, this is still one minute and 18 seconds faster than the 2001 response time.
Quality of Life and Public Health
- Public library attendance in 2013 was 39.7 million visitors, down 7.6 percent from 2012. However, attendance is up 4.5 percent compared to 2001. Distribution of attendance has shifted, with Brooklyn and New York experiencing increases and Queens’ attendance falling 26 percent since 2002.
- This year 1.8 million New Yorkers are receiving food stamps, now called the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). The 2013, number is 124 percent higher than in 2003.
- The number of homeless people living on the street, which is measured by a yearly census, was found to have decreased by 4 percent this year compared to 2012. That number has fallen by 28 percent since 2005. On the other hand, the average number of homeless people living in shelters has grown since 2005, increasing from 39,673 to 47,084.
- Quality ratings for New York City schools have fallen significantly since 2009. In 2009, 48.1 percent of schools received a “well developed” rating, while only 6.9 percent of schools received such a rating in 2013. The number of schools with a “developing” rating increased from 4.8 percent to 41 percent over the same time period. Likewise, the percentage of schools earning an “A” grade on their progress reports fell from 75 percent to 27.7 percent in 2012 (2013 data for this metric is not yet available).
- Graduation rates for 2013 are about 1 percent higher than the previous year at 66.1 percent.
- Water main breaks decreased by 23 percent from 2001 to 2013.
- The city has an initiative to reduce its carbon energy footprint by 30 percent by 2017. The city cut greenhouse gas emissions by 8,306 metric tons as a direct cause of the initiative. However, the city completed only 26 emission-reduction projects in fiscal 2013, falling short of its 60-project goal for the year.
- Air quality has steadily improved in New York City since 2001. In 2002, New York City's air quality ranked 7th among the eight largest U.S. cities. Since then, New York's ranking has climbed to 4th, thanks to a 38 percent reduction in average air particulate matter.
- Calls to the city’s 311 center have increased steadily over most of its 10-year existence, reaching 19.9 million callers in 2013. In recent years, however, call volume to the center has decreased slightly, probably offset by online access to the 311 service. Online visits to the 311 system have increased steadily since 2010, when those visits first began being tracked.
- Average purchasing time for the Department of Citywide Administrative Services decreased 20 percent from 0.7 days to 0.5 days since 2012. An online direct purchase order system was installed in 2010, purchase order processing time has decreased 83 percent.
Much more information can be found in the report (PDF), including summaries, specific data points dating back to 2001, and explanations of future programs and goals for the city.