By LANCE ARCHER, NY Post
NYPD officers are taking longer to respond to non-emergency calls.
Response times swelled by six seconds in 2007 - to 7 minutes, 6 seconds - from the year before.
City Councilman Peter Vallone Jr., chair of the Public Safety Committee, blamed the increase on dwindling manpower that is reaching the "crisis" point.
"If we don't hire some new officers quickly we may be straining our resources past the breaking point," the Queens Democrat said.
But the NYPD's average response time for emergencies, such as felonies in progress, improved in 2007 for the third consecutive year.
The citywide average for those incidents was 4 minutes, 30 seconds, a 6-second decrease from 2006, the NYPD said.
NYPD spokesman Paul Browne maintained that the overall response numbers were "steady."
During his tenure, Mayor Bloomberg has reduced the NYPD's headcount by more than 4,000 officers through attrition.
"People forget that we had 41,000 police officers in 2001," Vallone said. "We are down to under 36,000 now."
Despite the smaller force, for the first time in at least 45 years the city finished the year with fewer than 500 homicides.
Critical response times on Staten Island rose for the first time in three years by 6 seconds - to 5 minutes, 42 seconds. Non-emergency responses also increased - to 8 minutes, 42 seconds, up from 8 minutes, 24 seconds, nearly a minute more than any other borough.