The economic shutdown due to the pandemic is wreaking havoc with state and local budgets across the nation, just as social protest movements are calling for less funding for police departments. Taking the bait, New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio just announced he will cut the police budget by almost 20%, taking $1 billion from their $6 billion budget.
The mayor plans to cut the police budget mostly through personnel, reducing overtime and canceling the July class of more than 1,000 new recruits, as well as transferring some responsibilities out of the NYPD.
Some think it’s not enough.
Anthonine Pierre, a spokesperson for a coalition of community groups called Communities United for Police Reform, issued a statement that said:
“Mayor de Blasio and Speaker Johnson are using funny math and budget tricks to try to mislead New Yorkers. Moving police from the NYPD to other agencies does nothing to reduce police violence.”
The group complains that the proposal does not reduce the current number of police officers in the city, and that a large portion of what the mayor has called a $1 billion cut consists of transferring the responsibility of school safety officers from the NYPD to the Department of Education.
Through June 15, there were 24% more shootings in New York this year than last year, and 25% more homicides. Having cops spend less time on the streets through less overtime, and hiring fewer of them, might not be the best way to address these problems.