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Brooklyn won’t be getting an influx of new officers anytime soon.
So explained Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who couldn’t say if the city’s police force would be bulked up with new cadets next year if elected to another term.
During a straightforward chat with this paper last week, Bloomberg freely admitted that there are 5,000 fewer cops walking the beat now than when he took office.
But he doesn’t seem too inclined to either equalize or increase that number.
“The law says I have to balance the budget,” he said. “We had to downsize the police department because we couldn’t afford a police department of that size.”
“It’s not my job to build the biggest police department in the world, my job is to bring down crime and charge the commissioner with finding ways to do that,” he said.
His statements come after Patrol Borough Brooklyn South, which oversees the operations of 13 precincts from Carroll Gardens to Coney Island and Canarsie, received just 26 new officers from the 256-strong NYPD Academy class that graduated at the end of June.
A similar number of new police officers are set to graduate by the year’s end, officials said.
As of August 23, overall felony crime in Patrol Borough Brooklyn South was down by just over eight percent.
Yet homicides -- mostly caused by gun violence -- have increased by 20 percent.
Crime prevention procedures tend to be faring much better in Brooklyn North, which has seen a 10 percent drop in overall crime and a four percent drop in homicides.
When discussing getting guns off the street -- a topic close to his heart -- Bloomberg touted the work of Kings County District Attorney Charles Hynes’s efforts in enforcing the gun possession law for everyone “including football players.”
He added that there was “no clear evidence” that more cops on the beat would lead to less gun violence.
Bloomberg said that “new strategies and new technologies” would be the key to reducing crime further than it already has.
Yet the man waiting in the wings to replace him -- City Comptroller William Thompson, who is running for Mayor on the Democratic line -- disagrees.
“It’s not just about technology or strategies, it’s the number of police you have,” Thompson said, saying that “depending on the times,” he would increase the NYPD’s numbers.
“You have to make the final jump to a full form of community policing,” he said.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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