March 21st, 2023 1 Minute Read Press Release

New Issue Brief: Is New York Spending Too Much on Police?

Contrary to popular perception, NYPD funding, as a share of the city budget, has been shrinking substantially

NEW YORK, NY — This year’s New York City budget negotiations, like many in the past, have made waves—some of which are centered on police funding. On the one hand, some have been critical of Mayor Eric Adams’s $102.7 billion budget proposal for allocating $5 billion to NYPD. On the other hand, 15 of the City Council’s Progressive Caucus members suddenly quit largely in opposition to efforts to reduce the Police Department budget. So who is right? Should we be spending more or less on the NYPD? The question can only be fairly considered in context and with hard numbers. How large is the NYPD budget, relative to the overall city budget? How has spending on policing changed over the years and decades, relative to the entire budget? How large is uniformed-police staffing, relative to the overall city workforce?   

In a new Manhattan Institute issue brief, senior fellow Nicole Gelinas answers these questions by analyzing four decades of New York City police spending, from the recovery after the 1970s fiscal crisis through the pandemic years of the early 2020s. Gelinas finds that operational spending on the uniformed NYPD, contrary to conventional wisdom, has shrunk substantially as a share of the city budget since the early 1980s, both in terms of spending and the size of the uniformed-officer workforce.  

While it remains up to government officials to determine how much will be spent on the NYPD next fiscal year, which begins July 1, it is helpful to know that fears over police spending crowding out other necessary spending on civilian agencies that provide education, housing, health care, and social services are unfounded.  

Click here to view the full issue brief. 


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