NEW YORK (CBSNewYork)Mayor Bill de Blasio has heard the calls for police reform and he’s making changes, altering his budget to take money from the NYPD and send it elsewhere.

For nearly two weeks protesters have been demanding police reform. The pressure has turned into a plan from de Blasio — one short of details — to cut the NYPD‘s budget.

“It seems like we are at war with the NYPD and that’s not the case. We’re at war with a system that has been oppressing people for years,” protester Curtis Clark told CBS2’s Aundrea Cline-Thomas on Monday.

MOREMayor De Blasio Doesn’t Give Hard Answers On How City Will Defund The NYPD

“This is just one little step in terms of keeping our community safe and giving our community what it needs to survive,” protester Kerbie Joseph added.

The mayor is proposing shifting funding from the NYPD to youth and social services, moving the enforcement of street vending out of the NYPD, and hiring community ambassadors to be a liaison between the police and New Yorkers.

“A lot of things end up at the doorstep of the Police Department that they shouldn’t be engaged in, mental health specifically, right,” City Council Public Safety Chairman Donovan Richards said. “Shouldn’t that money go into programming on the ground in a lot of communities that are underserved in these specific areas.”

Richards said there’s room to cut.

“It’s nearly a billion dollars in overtime that the NYPD has spent,” Richards said.

In Crown Heights, residents say having access to resources would create a safer environment, especially after COVID-19 has devastated so many communities.

“If we were to change that we would have more social workers, more teachers, more people who are here to solve the problems, not incarcerate people,” protester Nerdeen Kiswani said.

But community activist Tony Herbert said you can’t forget the recent increase in crime.

“You have officers who being put in a position to go deal with protesters, but we just had somebody shot. So it’s quite concerning,” Herbert said.

The goal is to do both — get to the root of the problem and address crime as it happens.

  1. CYRUS says:

    Unfortunately what Donovan Richards fails to realize that a number of violent crimes arise from persons experiencing mental health issues, momentary, or chronically. So, in cases where the person committing a violent crime is suffering from a mental health issue, how can the police not be involved? Handling these types of issues would certainly be too dangerous for mental health professionals or social workers. With any type of reform, the best thing to do is to not over complicate the issue, look at the overall picture and start working on the most glaring issues which are detrimental to fair and balanced criminal justice system, then go from there.

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