Dermot Shea: Defunding the police in NYC had a 'significant impact' on crime surge

NYPD commissioner: Defund the police ‘not a good way to run a business’

NYPD Commissioner Dermot Shea discusses how the movement to defund the police is impacting the city.

New York City Police Commissioner Dermot Shea on Friday partially blamed a $1 billion cut to the NYPD's budget for a surge in crime across the five boroughs this summer.

"It certainly had a significant impact," Shea told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo. "You think back, crime follows certain patterns and trends. Certainly, we see upticks of violence in the summer. … To have this crazy time happen this year, certainly, and leading to a defunding, it's really hurt."

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At the beginning of July, the New York City Council voted to shift $1 billion from the police department, reallocating about $354 million to mental health, homelessness and education services. The reduction included effectively reducing headcount by 1,163 uniform officers and reducing overtime spending by $352 million.

"This defunding movement at a time when we know crime generally takes an upward trajectory in the summer has been a double-whammy," Shea said, adding: "[A] 60% cut in overtime is going to damage any industry. It's certainly hitting us."

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New York City has been rattled by a steep rise in gun violence over the summer; in August, shootings more than doubled, compared to the same period last year, while murders rose by nearly 50% according to the NYPD. Violent crime typically rises in the summer, Shea said. Still, this year has been worse than usual for New York: Since May, the city has recorded 791 shootings, more than a 140% increase from 2019.

"It's hurt, unfortunately, the people in high-crime areas that, unfortunately, more often than not, tend to be people of color the most," he said.

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New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Thursday lashed out at city officials over the spike in crime, calling it "wholly unacceptable."

"It's bad and people are dying and the overwhelming majority of those victims are Black and Brown," Cuomo said.

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The "defund the police" movement — a push to reallocate funds from police departments toward other government programs intended to reduce crime and expand social welfare — gained traction over the summer amid mass protests and civil unrest sparked by the death of George Floyd, a Black man, while in custody of a White Minneapolis police officer.

The officers were fired the day after Floyd's death. One officer, Derek Chauvin, is charged with second-degree murder, while the three other officers who were present have been charged with aiding and abetting.

A number of major cities, including Austin, Texas; Portland, Ore.; Philadelphia, have cut funding from police department budgets.

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The New York Police Department is the largest force in the U.S., employing more than 55,000. For fiscal year 2020, the department budget was nearly $6 billion.

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