Today’s news:

DA: Budget cut could hamper crime fighting

Queens District Attorney Richard Brown has warned that a 7 percent cut in the budgets of his office and those of the city’s four other district attorneys would “undermine the city’s commitment to ensuring public safety.”

Brown and District Attorneys Robert Morgenthau of Manhattan, Charles Hynes of Brooklyn, Robert Johnson of the Bronx and William Murphy of Staten Island appeared before the City Council Committee on Public Safety Monday.

The administration of Mayor Michael Bloomberg has proposed the cuts because of the city’s fiscal crisis.

Brown told the committee recent efforts had brought a 12.9 percent decrease in violent crime in the past year alone, the lowest number of murders in Queens in 32 years and an 80 percent reduction in auto crime since its worst point in the early 1990s,

“While we are acutely aware of the city’s fiscal dilemma and are prepared to do our share to helping to close the budget gap, any action that is taken must recognize the important role played by prosecutors in maintaining public safety and in helping to bring to bring about our city’s economic recovery,” Brown said,.

He also said large budget reductions “would yield little to the city treasury but do much to hamper our ability to prosecute criminal activity and investigate criminal conduct and will undermine the city's commitment to ensuring public safety.”

The district attorneys and special narcotics prosecutor asked permission to substitute productivity initiatives and other cost-saving measures to close the budget gap.

“If we are to complete the job that we have so successfully begun, it is crucial that we maintain financial support for our anti-crime programs,” Brown said.

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