The New York City Police Department is set to shrink to 34,304 officers within a year, 16 percent fewer than the high of 41,000 nearly a decade ago, says the New York Times. Cash for police work is dwindling, civilian members of the force are facing layoffs, and station houses are not ideally staffed. More than 1,000 officers are assigned to counterterrorism duties. The flow of new recruits has slowed to a trickle. Despite these challenges, crime is down in New York – more significantly than in several other big cities. Murders, which hit 200 at midyear, are heading toward a new low. The peak was 2,200 in 1990.
Police increasingly are relying on “predictive policing,” trying to use crime statistics and other information to forecast where crime may pop up next. “It puts pressure on the need to be as precise as you can be, because you want to make the very best use of the limited resources you have,” said Michael Farrell, a deputy commissioner. The New York area is seeking $40 million from Congress for a program called Securing the Cities, which would create links with law enforcement agencies within a 50-mile radius around the city, and would outfit officers with radiation detectors.