CENTRAL PARK — Mayor Michael Bloomberg accused the candidates vying to replace him as mayor on Tuesday of failing to outline plans to keep the city safe.
Bloomberg said that while many of the candidates "want to saddle the NYPD with additional bureaucracy” by creating a new inspector general, they have yet to explain to voters what they intend to do to keep the city's crime rate falling.
“What we don’t know is what they’ll actually do to reduce crime. We don’t even know if it’s a goal. And I believe that the people of this city have a right to know that their mayor will keep fighting to reduce crime," Bloomberg said in prepared remarks at a ribbon-cutting ceremony at the newly renovated Central Park police precinct.
The vast majority of candidates on both sides of the aisle have outlined at least some plans for improving public safety, including hiring more police officers and reforming stop-and-frisk in an effort to improve community-police relations.
But Bloomberg argued that falling crime “is not something that we can take for granted" and said that it "takes politicians who understand the importance of keeping crime down."
"The question is whether the people running for mayor believe that, because the job of any mayor is to continue to invest in the facilities and training and continue to support the leadership that make our Finest the finest police department anywhere," he said.
The comments came after City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the leading Democratic mayoral candidate and a usual ally of the mayor, last week threw her support behind a bill that would create a new inspector general for the NYPD, who would be charged with overseeing police policies, like the controversial stop-and-frisk practice.
Bloomberg and Police Commissioner Ray Kelly both slammed Quinn's support for an inspector general. Kelly said Tuesday that with five district attorneys, two U.S. attorneys, the Committee to Combat Police Corruption and the Civilian Compliant Review Board, the NYPD is already the most monitored department in the country.
"I think putting in another layer of so-called supervision or monitoring can ultimately make this city less safe," he told reporters after the ribbon-cutting when asked about the plan.
He declined, however, to say whether he would be willing to stay on as police commissioner under a mayor who appointed an inspector general.
But the candidates, including Quinn, defended their proposals, arguing that they have already made clear that public safety will be a top priority if they are elected mayor.
"Chris is proud of the job that Ray Kelly, Mike Bloomberg and the NYPD have done to bring crime down to record lows. Thousands of lives have been saved as a result of their work," said Quinn's spokesman Jamie McShane in a statement.
He reiterated her argument that appointing an inspector general would help — not hinder — crime fighting by improving police-community relations.
"The bill that the Speaker supports will do nothing — not one thing — to limit the police department's ability to do their job well," he said, adding that after Los Angeles added a similar office, crime there dropped 33 percent.
Public Advocate Bill de Blasio, who also supports the inspector general proposal, said the NYPD had "made enormous strides in reducing crime," but argued that the policies like stop-and-frisk, which he has proposed reforming, alienate communities most in need of the city's help.
"By replacing community policing with stop-and-frisk, we are threatening to lose the progress we've made," his campaign spokesman said in a statement.
Republican contender Joe Lhota also defended his proposals, which include re-deploying officers to high-crime areas.
“At the public safety forum last week, I expressed that the City must continue its laser-like focus on reducing crime; that the IG legislation is ill-conceived; we should invigorate stop, question and frisk and not limit it as a policing tactic," he said in a statement.
The inspector general plan has been endorsed by all of the Democratic mayoral candidates except for City Comptroller John Liu and former Brooklyn City Councilman Sal Albanese.