Despite an uptick in serious crimes and a spate of fatal shootings, Mayor Michael Bloomberg said Friday the city is doing a good job with the number of cops it has and can't afford more.
"Our job is not to employ as many people and to spend as much of the taxpayers' money as we can. Our job with the police department is to bring crime down," Bloomberg said during his weekly appearance on WOR Radio. "It is phenomenally well managed. It is so well staffed. We have the best police department in the world."
"Would the city be safer if you put a cop in every corner? Yes, probably, but you can't afford that," Bloomberg added.
Bloomberg's remarks drew a sharp response from Councilman Peter Vallone Jr. (D-Astoria), chairman of the city Public Safety Committee.
"It is really unfathomable to me that he can stick with this position," Vallone said. "Citywide crime is up for the first time in 20 years."
The latest NYPD crime stats show overall serious crime up 4.25 percent this year over 2011, with murders down 14.9 percent.
Vallone said that NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said he could use more officers because the department now has 35,000 cops, compared with 41,000 in 2001.
Patrolmen's Benevolent Association president Pat Lynch also was critical, linking recent shootings to fewer cops.
"Tragically, a reduction of police presence from 10 officers to only two at Rucker Park allowed a gunfight to take place where five people were shot and, in a separate incident, a lack of police presence allowed a shooting that took the life of an innocent 4-year-old boy," Lynch said, referring to Lloyd Morgan's death last weekend.