The top police union leader of New York City accused NYPD officials of refusing to acknowledge the department’s recruitment and retention crisis after losing more staff members last year than in the previous two decades.
“The NYPD is playing a dangerous game by refusing to acknowledge and address its recruitment and retention crisis,” New York City Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch told Fox News Digital. “New Yorkers are demanding more police presence in their neighborhoods and on the subway, but we just don’t have the staffing to provide it consistently.”
Lynch called out authorities after the association claimed the department fell short of some 600 recruits when it needed over 1,200 new recruits to reach the current budgeted headcount and 2,500 new recruits to get back to staffing levels from 2019.
“Underpaying & overworking police officers is hurting public safety,” The Police Benevolent Association of the City of New York, which represents over 50,000 active and retired New York City Police Officers, said in a tweet. “The time to fix it is NOW. #NYPDExodus”
Hiring day at @NYPDTraining Academy:
We needed +1,200 new recruits to reach the current budgeted headcount, or 2,500 to get back to 2019 staffing levels.⁰
We got 543.
Underpaying & overworking police officers is hurting public safety. The time to fix it is NOW. #NYPDExodus pic.twitter.com/gLd5mh0l3i
— NYC PBA (@NYCPBA) January 17, 2023
New York City Police Pension Fund data reported by Fox News show 3,701 members left the force last year, of which 1,955 retired and 1,746 quit in 2022. The figure marks the department’s largest number of officers leaving the force in the previous 20 years, the news outlet reported.
In the year after the horrific events of 9/11, data showed 3,846 NYPD members left or quit the force in 2002.
Data between 2010 and 2019 showed the department lost an average of 2,112 members.
“Many talented, dedicated recruits don’t want to raise their hand for the NYPD because they’ll be paid better and treated better at almost any other police department,” Lynch told Fox News Digital. “New York City needs to make a major investment in paying and treating its police officers like professionals. It can’t afford not to.”
Lynch added the crisis has only emboldened criminals and endangered residents and tourists in the metropolitan area.
NYPD statistics last year show murder rates and other major crimes increased across New York City in November despite authorities claiming the overall index crime decreased by just over 1% compared to the same time last year.
Crimes like burglary, grand larceny, and cases of rape dropped as much as 14%. Other stats show felony assaults were up 3%, robberies jumped by 3.6%, and car thefts increased to 9.4%. However, most notably, the police report showed 30 homicides occurred in the city during November, up from 25 in the same month during 2021.
Those numbers followed a summer of crime waves that washed over city neighborhoods like the West Village and Greenwich Village, where business owners and residents expressed their frustrations over the neighborhood’s lack of law and order.
NYPD officials in August compared to the same year’s crime stats, which said Manhattan’s 6th Precinct saw an 80% increase in overall significant crimes, with burglaries up 119% and grand larcenies up more than 100%.
Union officials said several variables caused officers to leave the force, including burnout due to fewer officers forced to carry the workload and growing scrutiny. At the same time, other factors include some officers receiving 30% less pay than the average New York City officer and, ultimately, low morale among the ranks.
Former NYPD officer and lecturer at John Jay College of Criminal Justice Jillian Snider told Fox News authorities began leaving the force in 2019, but the “Defund the Police” rhetoric made it a bigger issue.
An NYPD spokesperson told Fox News Digital on Thursday that “the NYPD regularly monitors attrition and plans accordingly to address the loss of officers who retire or leave the Department for a variety of reasons.”
“While recent events outside of the department continue to present challenges to recruitment efforts, we continue to focus on the positive results that happen when someone joins this organization,” the spokesperson said. “In January 2023, we hired more than 500 individuals who have begun training at the Police Academy in addition to the approximately 2000 individuals we hired in 2022.”