The cuts are partly due to a budget shortfall the city is facing due to economic shutdown in response to the CCP virus epidemic.
Another part of the reason is a response to anti-police protests that hit the city after a black man, George Floyd, died during arrest in Minneapolis in May.
The proposal comes at a time the city is grappling with a spike in shootings. In the four weeks ending June 21, there had been 191 people shot and 34 murdered. The city hasn’t seen a shooting spree this intense since 1996, comparing the same time of the year, according to NYPD statistics.
The mayor said his office presented to the City Council over the weekend a plan “that would achieve a billion dollars in savings for the NYPD and shift resources to young people, to communities in a way that would help address a lot of the underlying issues that we know are the cause of so many problems in our society.”
“I am excited to say that we have a plan that can achieve real reform, that can achieve real redistribution, and at the same time ensure that we keep our city safe,” he said during his June 29 briefing.
His goal is to achieve a “balance” between “reform, justice, redistribution, but always safety.”
The plan would also shift over $500 million in NYPD capital spending to youth recreation centers and public housing.
The New York Daily News reported that about $450 million of the budget cut would just shift, as police officers in schools would be moved from the NYPD to the Department of Education. Another $50 million would be cut by cancelling the next two police academy classes.
De Blasio declined to go into specifics, citing ongoing budget negotiations, but said that the school officers issue would be dealt with over several years.
The Police Benevolent Association (PBA), the NYPD’s main union, slammed de Blasio’s plan.
“Mayor de Blasio’s message to New Yorkers today was clear: you will have fewer cops on your streets. Shootings more than doubled again last week,” PBA President Patrick Lynch said in a June 29 statement.
“Even right now, the NYPD doesn’t have enough staffing to shift cops to one neighborhood without making another neighborhood less safe. We will say it again: the Mayor and the City Council have surrendered the city to lawlessness. Things won’t improve until New Yorkers hold them responsible.”
Overall, the mayor is proposing a budget cut of $8 billion from his proposal in January. That would make the total about $87 billion for fiscal 2021.