With Cops Down, Kelly Promises to Keep Crime Low
March 11th, 2010

Come January 2011, the city’s police ranks will be as low as they were in the 1990s, said Councilmember Peter Vallone Jr., the chair of the council’s public safety committee, this morning.

For Vallone, that is intolerable.

“1990 was before safe streets, safe city,” said Vallone. “It was a time when the City Council realized we cannot police this city with this many police officers.”

Including academy class sizes and attrition, the police department headcount is expected to be at 34,875 in July, lowering to 34,475 in January 2011, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly testified at a preliminary budget hearing today. No unit, he added, will be held harmless.

“Virtually every unit, every entity, is going to be affected,” Kelly said. “No unit is spared, certainly in a mega sense.”

At the beginning of the fiscal crisis, the police department was one of the City Council’s top priorities. Members fought tooth and nail to keep academy class after academy class.

This year, after several years of budget cuts, it may not be the same. With day care centers on the chopping block and fire companies set for slashing, police officers may not be the council’s number one priority in fiscal year 2011. Much of the noise coming from City Hall’s steps refers to social service cuts and the Fire Department, not necessarily New York’s finest.

Nonetheless, the city is at the very beginning of its budget process. Much of the details are to-be-determined until the state approves its budget.

What’s not in the department’s budget, Kelly said this morning, is funding to support security for the proposed terror trials in Lower Manhattan. Kelly said it would likely cost $200 million a year to secure Lower Manhattan during the trials, which federal officials estimate could last between two to five years.

The location of those trials, which are extremely politically unpopular in the Big Apple, is still under debate in Washington.

When asked by the council whether the department’s budget could still keep New York City safe from terrorism, Kelly said, “We are going to do everything we possibly can to protect the city.” He added the department must be successful every day, while a terrorist only has to be successful once.

By on March 11, 2010, 3:31 pm
In category: City Hall,Crime & Safety,Electoral Politics,Gotham City,nextNY,Public Finance | 1 Comment »

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One Response to “With Cops Down, Kelly Promises to Keep Crime Low”

  1. Larry Littlefield Says:
    March 12th, 2010 at 8:49 am

    As you can see in the spreadsheet attached to this post:


    New York City had 555 police officers per 100,000 residents in March 2008, 2.6 times the national average of 211. A typical U.S. location with the population of NYC would have 13,500 police officers, not 35,000. And New York City’s crime rate is no longer above the national average.

    One could assert that New York City’s people are inherently criminal, and need a large force from the suburbs to keep them down. But Generation Greed has long since moved out of the street crime years, with some of its members moving into boardroom and legislative chambers with predictable results.

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