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De Blasio’s ‘crime’ is stiffing the NYPD: Goodwin

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The dictionary defines “moral hazard” as the “lack of incentive to guard against risk where one is protected from its consequences.” For an example, see Mayor de Blasio’s budget. 

Thanks to the excessive federal bailout, the mayor is laughing all the way to the bank. He’s canceling pandemic-forced savings initiatives and throwing buckets of money at ideas without any concern about whether the ideas are good or the money will be well spent. 

At $98.6 billion, his spending plan is $7 billion more than the state of Florida’s. It’s $10 billion more than last year, and that’s before the City Council adds its expensive extras. 

Because de Blasio will be term-limited out of office next Jan. 1, he’s a walking moral hazard. He won’t face the consequences when the boom is followed by a bust and audits show gazillions were squandered or stolen. The next mayor will inherit the hangover and, inevitably, a sea of red ink. 

Unfortunately, there is one area where de Blasio is playing Scrooge: the NYPD. Its manpower budget is basically flat, except for a projected cut in overtime, according to the Citizens Budget Commission. 

Status quo, with about 35,000 uniformed members, would be understandable if dollars were tight and New Yorkers felt safe. But with the money spigots running full blast everywhere else and crime soaring, now is not the time to pinch pennies at the NYPD. 

Just one example: Transit officials agree with the vast bulk of riders that more cops are needed in the subways, to arrest criminals, deter others and give riders back the sense of safety they once had. 

De Blasio’s response was to scold the MTA for polling riders and releasing the results. To him, it’s better to suppress an inconvenient truth than tell it. 

Here’s another truth he won’t like: His failure to effectively address the bloody surge of criminal violence over the last two years will define his legacy. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio cowers behind criticism, going as far to scold the MTA for polling riders telling the truth.
Mayor Bill de Blasio cowers behind criticism, going as far to scold the MTA for polling riders telling the truth.
AP Photo/Mark Lennihan

It didn’t have to end this way. Back in 2016, the Council and then top cop Bill Bratton wanted to add about 1,500 cops to the force. De Blasio, trying to rebuild his relationship with the rank-and-file after a disastrous start, reluctantly agreed. 

By 2018, the uniformed force reached nearly 36,700, and crime, despite occasional spurts, was kept in check through 2019 and early 2020. 

But last year, in the midst of the pandemic, the protests and riots following the George Floyd police murder in Minneapolis went largely unchecked as the NYPD was held back. The criminals seized the upper hand and still have it. 

The 319 murders in 2019 grew to 468 last year. Burglaries went from 10,800 to 15,500 and car thefts soared. 

Meanwhile, the size of the police force has intermittently drifted lower because of increased retirements and because de Blasio agreed to cancel a rookie class at the height of the “defund the police” nonsense. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio reduced NYPD’s numbers when the city needed officers the most — all in the name of appealing to anti-cop liberals.
Mayor Bill de Blasio reduced the NYPD’s numbers when the city needed officers the most — all in the name of appealing to anti-cop liberals.
Alamy Stock Photo

Equally important, he keeps putting cops on an ever-tighter leash, making it harder for them to do their jobs and leaving many cops convinced City Hall doesn’t have their backs. Who can blame them? 

The result is the disaster New Yorkers see unfolding each and every day. Of course, some of those New Yorkers learn about the dangers and depravities from their new homes in safer climes. And who can blame them? 

Now an NYPD union has summed up the reality by giving New York a new name: City of Violence. 

The tag came from the Sergeants Benevolent Association, which cited the recent 250 percent surge in shootings, with NYPD data showing that 50 people were shot over the week ending Sunday. 

“Mayor de Blasio has allocated 30 million dollars to bring tourism to NYC,” the union tweeted Monday morning. “Welcome to the city of violence.” 

City of Violence. That is de Blasio’s legacy. 

The Sergeants Benevolent Association pointed out that “Mayor de Blasio has allocated 30 million dollars to bring tourism,” amid a recent 250 percent surge in shootings.
The Sergeants Benevolent Association pointed out that “Mayor de Blasio has allocated $30 million dollars to bring tourism,” amid a recent 250 percent surge in shootings.
AP Photo/John Minchillo

It will also be the next mayor’s problem. Republican candidate Curtis Sliwa would hire more cops, and some of the Democrats are talking sensibly about public safety, namely Eric Adams, Andrew Yang and Ray McGuire. 

But I know of no Dem talking specifically about adding to the force and using the police more aggressively. 

The next mayor will either do both — or reap the whirlwind. 

It will be no comfort or excuse that the rise in crime is a national problem. That was also true in the three decades before Rudy Giuliani became mayor and made New York an example of how to cut crime. The rest of the nation followed in what became a virtuous cycle. 

Now, with Chicago, Baltimore, Los Angeles, Detroit and most other major metropolitan areas also soaked in blood and grief, America needs another mayor and city to reverse the trend. 

Mayor Bill de Blasio’s legacy will be transforming New York City to a City of Violence.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s legacy will be transforming New York City to a City of Violence.
REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Why not New York? It did it once and can do it again — if it picks the right mayor. 

And if that mayor picks the right police commissioner and has the right strategy. 

It’s also true that defeating crime is a team game. Albany, prosecutors and judges must get serious and stop coddling repeat offenders. Their kindness to the guilty is cruelty to the innocent. 

But somebody has to lead the way, and that’s what a mayor must do. Starting Jan. 1, job 1 is making New York safe again.

Cuomo’s back talk backfires

For months, Gov. Andrew Cuomo has been ducking tough media questions but that changed Monday. Alas, his combative answers recalled Abraham Lincoln’s advice that it is “better to remain silent and be thought a fool than to speak and to remove all doubt.” 

Cuomo is facing four investigations, but portrayed himself as the most innocent man in America and everyone else guilty of bad motives and agendas. 

Most significantly, he made an unqualified claim of innocence over the numerous and credible sexual-harassment allegations, saying, “I didn’t do anything wrong.” 

He said the probe by Attorney General Letitia James on the accusations “can’t say anything different.” 

All the investigations, he said, are politically motivated. Of people making accusations about his private comments and behavior, he said, “People are venial, people want attention, people are angry, people are jealous.” 

The broadsides marked a new strategy, but not necessarily a better one. All of which leaves Cuomo in a bind about where he goes from here. 

Neither silence nor talking is his friend.

Biden a puppet of a president

Reader Fred Ehrman has his doubts about the new Joe Biden, writing: “The old Joe was the man himself. The new one is a marionette with the words written by the puppeteer. Most probably it’s Barack Obama, helped by Susan Rice and Valerie Jarrett. 

“Charlie McCarthy squints but reads the teleprompter and signs the executive orders.”

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