NYC Mayor Bill de Blasio Explains Decision To Cut NYPD Budget By $1 Billion

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New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appeared on CNN’s New Day Wednesday morning to discuss his decision on Tuesday to cut the budget of the NYPD by $1 billion. Speaking to host John Berman, de Blasio said the funding will be diverted to youth and social services, community summer programs, and education, per Axios.

“We have been for years the safest big city in America and we continue to be. I take that issue very seriously about those shootings, we’re going to have to fight that back. But it was really important at this moment in history to say we’re going to take money away from policing and put it into the needs of our young people.”

De Blasio also pledged another $500 million to create safe spaces such as recreation centers for young people to congregate, as well as providing broadband access in the city’s public housing. The New York City mayor added that if a real change is going to be made for young people, things will have to be done differently from the past. De Blasio said the money that will be removed from the police budget will make progress in that effort. Meanwhile, the city has found ways to keep patrol strength consistent while saving money and reducing overtime cost. He said the city was working toward determining issues currently addressed by the NYPD that could be done better by civilians.

The mayor also spoke on criticism he received from the left on his decision. New York Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called the cuts “budget tricks and funny math,” saying it used maneuvers such as moving police from the NYPD budget to the Department of Education budget to create the appearance of cuts. De Blasio disputed Ocasio-Cortez’s claim, repeating his proposal of taking money out of the NYPD budget and putting it into youth programs while adding that he plans to reduce the size of the NYPD in a way that will keep New Yorkers safe.

De Blasio also addressed the rising number of shootings that had occurred in New York City this year. Between January and June, there had been 503 shootings, a sharp rise from the 350 during the same period in 2019. The mayor blamed the rise on several factors related to the coronavirus pandemic, referencing a loss of work and disruption of routine during the lockdown. He went on to say that he was hopeful that the state court system will be able to return to its usual pace of dealing with cases as New York continues its reopening process.