THE BRONX - New data shows the number of murders and robberies is up in New York City and the Bronx, but the mayor and police commissioner say the overall crime rate is on the decline.

Blaming the recent spike in robberies on the ailing economy, Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly boasted that the city?s overall crime rate has fallen each year for the past 18 years, according to NYPD crime statistics. But the most serious crimes, including murder and robberies, have increased from last year.

In the Bronx, homicides have shot up just over 3 percent, from 125 in 2007 to 129 reported this year. Robberies have spiked by 4 percent over the past year, rising from about 4,400 to more than 4,630.

Despite the increases, the mayor points out that the murder rate was still the second lowest in nearly five decades, and was 21 percent lower than when he took office. Bloomberg attributes the overall success of the war on crime to the quality of police work and programs like Operation Impact, which flooded unsafe neighborhoods with rookie officers.