As new NYPD commissioner, Caban faces recruitment struggles, sagging morale, and crime fears

Newly appointed NYPD Commissioner Edward Caban’s appointment as the first Latino police commissioner is a milestone for the department and for New York, but he faces some steep challenges.

A long time complaint among rank-and-file officers has been long shifts and no days off.

“They’re having a hard time getting days-off. And I understand that if you have a family and you’ve got to work your one day off that you have-that you’re able to spend with them-but it’s canceled and you have to come in because of the shortages in the job right now,” retired NYPD Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce said.

The long hours and lack of time off likely is due to the department’s recruitment struggles and because the department saw officers leave in droves during the coronavirus pandemic.

The number of officers who quit the force has been rising steadily since 2019, according to the Police Pension Fund, and nearly doubled between 2020 and 2021 with 465 officers quitting in 2020 and 888 quitting in 2021. Through October 2022, 1,426 officers had quit – four times as many compared to 2015.

Beyond the department, Caban will be tasked with addressing public perception of high crime, despite major crime trending lower.

According to a recent poll from Siena College, most New Yorkers fear they will soon be victims of violent crime.

One in five New Yorkers admitted to buying a gun for protection, and three in five feared they would be victims of a crime.

“Where is it trending lower at? Tell (Mayor Eric) Adams he needs to be in the streets with us. The crime is high,” Bronx resident Mark Gregory said.

Caban is likely to take a more aggressive approach to crime control, with a particular focus on quality-of-life offenses. The challenge will is balancing toughness with restraint.

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