Hammered by budget cuts, the New York Police Department will field its smallest force by the middle of next year than at any time since 1992 — raising fears that, with fewer cops on the beat, a resurgence of crime could return, says the New York Post. The city’s Independent Budget Office projected that by June 30, 2012, the police department will have shrunk to 34,413 uniformed personnel, a record low since the 34,825 that were on the force on that same date 20 years ago when crime rates in the city were near epic highs.
“Crime statistics show there is a breaking point, and we’re at it,” said City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., chairman of the Public Safety Committee. “We can’t absorb any more public safety cuts.” Vallone said that when he goes to community meetings these days, people complain that they no longer see police on the beat or on bicycles. “If every community has noticed that, you can be sure the criminals have noticed,” he argued.