Though its ranks are well below pre-pandemic levels, New York Police Department will temporarily stop hiring new police officers and halt Police Academy classes because of city budget cuts announced by Mayor Eric Adams, New York Daily News reports. The freeze is a part of a 5% city government-wide spending cut made by the mayor in a November budget-modification plan. NYPD data stands at 33,541 NYPD officers, 1,460 fewer than the 35,001 the department was budgeted for.
And while there is a complex relationship between policing and crime levels, critics note that major felonies in the city were up in the fiscal year that ended June 30, a trend driven by spikes in grand larcenies, robberies and car thefts, among other categories, though murders and rapes dropped in the same period. As compared to the same time last year, the major felony crime rate in the city is effectively flat as of this week.
Adams said that cuts to public safety and education were due to the city taking care of asylum seekers, CBS News reports. There will be fewer school safety agents, as the city is canceling a new class of 250 agents. Every agency will see its budget shrink by 5%. There will be another 5% cut in January, and possibly one in May. Sources told CBS New York that cuts to the NYPD will involve a cut in overtime, and could force the city to put off hiring new cops to replenish the ranks. Sources said there will also be other hiring cutbacks that will reduce the size of the labor force. When community activists and elected officials protested the cuts two months ago, they said the expected 15% cuts would devastate city services. They expect a $2.1 billion cut to education and a $1.4 billion cut to the Department of Social Services, at the top of the list. Adams also renewed his call for financial help from Washington.