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Updated: June 3, 2023, 12:57 PM

More and more NYPD officers opting to live outside NYC as lawmakers try to push residency requirement

By Jacob Geanous

Less than half of New York City cops live in the city they police, according to a City Council report.

The percentage of NYPD officers living in the five boroughs last year plummeted to 48%, down from 49% in 2020 and 58% in 2016.  

The steady decline includes both rank-and-file cops and higher-ranking officers.

Meanwhile, lawmakers are pushing for a requirement that all new recruits live in the five boroughs. The department currently allows officers to live in the suburban counties of Nassau, Suffolk, Rockland, Westchester, Putnam or Orange.

The aim of the legislative effort is to improve community relations, ensure that officers have a stake in the city they patrol, and keep taxpayer dollars in the city, according to the resolution proposed by Council Member Francisco Moya and Public Advocate Jumaane Williams.

“We desperately need to be looking into all avenues to strengthen relations between the NYPD and residents in all 5 boroughs,” Moya said. “If we see officers not only as our officers but as our neighbors, this is a step in the right direction in creating more community trust.”

The proposed resolution calls on Albany to pass a bill sponsored by Assemblywoman Catilina Cruz that would require officers to move into the city within a year of their appointment.

However, the police union said the bill would ultimately hurt recruitment at a time when the force is already depleted.

“While a majority of PBA members still reside in the five boroughs, the percentage has been falling for years because our members can’t afford to live in the city we protect,” Police Benevolent Association President Patrick Lynch told The Post. “The NYPD is still in the grip of a short-staffing emergency. Narrowing the recruiting pool will only make it worse.”

The starting salary for an NYPD officer is $55,910 without overtime. Meanwhile, the required annual income for a person living alone in New York City with no children is $53,342, according to an MIT living wage calculator.

The department currently has roughly 34,000 officers after 3,701 cops resigned or retired in 2022, leaving the department thousands of cops short of the 36,289-officer roster the city had at the start of 2020.

It is not the first time the city has looked into residency requirements for officers.

Mayor Adams floated the idea last year during a press conference unveiling a new gun prevention plan, saying that it “makes no sense” that officers aren’t required to live in the city.

“There’s no such thing as being off duty, so technically, if you see a crime and you don’t take action as a police officer, you could be held accountable for that,” Adams said. “So, why are we using our tax dollars to pay for an officer to be here for eight hours and then 16 hours he’s going to one of our five neighboring counties and protecting them?