NEW YORK (Reuters) - The New York City Police Department will be spared the planned loss of 892 officers through attrition, an administration official said, following Saturday’s failed car bomb attack on Times Square.
The force faced the threat of job losses due to the city’s cash crunch but other services will be slashed instead, a city spokesman said on Wednesday.
The attempted car bombing has focused attention on security threats to New York.
The city did not say which other services would face cuts when Mayor Michael Bloomberg, an independent, on Thursday updates the nearly $64 billion budget plan he issued in January.
“The Mayor will lay out a budget on Thursday that by necessity will include further cuts to many important City services, but it won’t include a reduction in the number of police officers out on our streets keeping New York City safe,” a spokesman for Bloomberg said in a statement.
After the Times Square bomb incident Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly revived their push for more video security cameras.
The Police Department, whose budget has been clipped along with that of other city agencies during the recession, is also dealing with a spike in crime this year.
Rates had fallen to historically low levels but murders are up 20 percent in the year to date period through April 25 versus a year-ago, according to the police web site: here. In the same period, felony assaults have climbed 5.5 percent and robberies are up 1.9 percent.
New York City’s police force has 35,000 uniformed officers. That is nearly 6,000 less than the 40,800 officers the force had in 2001 when Bloomberg was first elected, replacing Republican Mayor Rudolph Giuliani.
Bloomberg, who in January warned that the state’s proposed budget cuts would force him to layoff thousands of workers, eliminate funding for 500 soup kitchens and end street cleaning, should now get the benefit of an improving economy.
The city’s income tax revenue that is withheld directly from workers’ paychecks rose slightly in April, a sign employers are hiring, a financial source said on Monday. He predicted the city will get an extra $50 million to $60 million and restoring the police positions that would have been lost through attrition will cost $55 million.
City agencies have endured eight rounds of budget cuts since early 2007 as Bloomberg repeatedly demanded they “Do More with Less” during the recession partly set off by New York City’s financial engine, Wall Street.
The state’s inability to enact a budget by its April 1 deadline is a major headache for the city, which must enact a budget before its June 30 deadline.
Reporting by Joan Gralla, Editing by Andrew Hay