-Other Crime Priorities?
Crime is down in New York City; the murder rate is the lowest since 1963. Yet the challenge of keeping New Yorkers safe remains a critical issue.
After the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, terrorism became the number one priority for the New York Police Department. The recent subway bombings in Madrid and London have also raised concerns about the safety of the city's transportation system.
In the last four years, the size of police force has been reduced by about 3,800 officers to 34,824, but overtime expenses cost the city more than $200 million a year.
Fernando Ferrer has outlined a plan to try to make the transportation system safer from terrorism. Ferrer wants to integrate transit employees into security planning. He promises to put more security cameras in subways and stations, set up an Advisory Council for Best Security Practices, and build better coalitions with officials in Washington DC.
"Random bag searches aren't enough on their own," said Ferrer. "We need agencies to coordinate with each other, instead of developing their own plans and policies."
As part of his crime plan, Ferrer proposes hiring 1,900 new police officers. He would hire 1,000 local officers and add 900 more from the federally funded Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) program. Ferrer also points toward his efforts to help create the Civilian Complaint Review Board while in the New York City Council.
In response to the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, Michael Bloomberg launched Operation Impact, the New York Police Department's anti-terrorism unit that devotes more than 1,000 officers to the protection of the city.
"We can't rest - not for a minute - nor can we stop in our intelligence, counter-terrorism, and response capabilities," said Bloomberg.
In addition, Bloomberg points to the overall decrease in crime in the city. Crime is down 20 percent citywide. The city's murder rate is the lowest since 1963.
Bloomberg has also focused efforts on reducing "quality of life" crimes. He has created special task forces to deal with noise, graffiti, and minor crimes.
Crime has decreased even as Bloomberg has reduced the size of the police force. In 2001, there were 38,630 full time cops working for the New York Police Department. Today, that number has dropped to 34,824.