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NYC’s Violent Crime Is Up; So Is the City’s Police Budget

De Blasio's final budget allocates more funds to police and leading mayoral candidates are distancing themselves from calls to defund.

Members of the NYPD gather in Times Square near a police precinct during the city’s increased security surrounding the verdict of Derek Chauvin, on April 20.

Members of the NYPD gather in Times Square near a police precinct during the city’s increased security surrounding the verdict of Derek Chauvin, on April 20.

Photographer: Spencer Platt/Getty Images 

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Protests calling to “defund the police” have become a familiar sight in New York City. But this year, if Mayor Bill de Blasio gets his way, one of America’s most progressive cities will actually send more dollars to the NYPD than it did a year ago.

Despite promises to strip $1 billion from the city’s law enforcement budget, which gained national attention in the wake of George Floyd’s murder last year, de Blasio slashed less than half that as part of a broader round of pandemic cuts. And a spending plan for fiscal 2022 announced this month keeps police headcount and operations intact — leaving any major shakeups of the force up to whoever succeeds the term-limited mayor in January.

“There was a great opportunity that was missed to lead a discussion on what public safety is and how it’s reflected in our budget,” said New York City Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, who has made policing central to his role as city watchdog and non-voting City Council member.