September 7, 2015 | 11:29pm  

 

De Blasio touts lack of violence, sets aside $30M for anticipated victims

By Carl Campanile, Michael Gartland and Bruce Golding

Robert Miller
Bill de Blasio

He dismissed fears of surging crime as “hysteria,” yet Mayor de Blasio is quietly preparing to spend nearly $30 million on counseling and support for anticipated victims of violence, The Post has learned.

Official documents show that the city plans to station 166 “victim advocates” in NYPD station houses and housing-project service areas over three years, starting in May 2016.

Some officials said the initiative flies in the face of de Blasio’s claims about achieving record-low crime rates — including this year’s “safest summer” in two decades — and his predictions that crime will drop further.

“It doesn’t make any sense, unless the current [victim-advocate] program isn’t working and you need additional resources, or they know — even though the crime statistics don’t show it — that crime is on the way up,” said state Sen. Tony Avella (D-Queens).

Avella — who said, “I personally don’t believe crime is down” — also expressed surprise that de Blasio hadn’t publicized the big-bucks program.

“The mayor touts every little thing. Why isn’t he touting this?” he said.

Under de Blasio’s plan, the NYPD will hire an outside vendor to supply “culturally competent advocates” who will be available at least 12 hours a day.

According to a “concept paper” outlining the program, most police stations will get two advocates, with one specializing in domestic violence and the other handling all categories of crime victims.

The advocates will provide “supportive and crisis counseling to crime victims, engage in safety planning with victims and advocate on the crime victim’s behalf,” the document says.

After being phased in over three years at a cost of $29.6 million, the program is expected to cost $14.7 million annually, according to City Hall.

A City Council member who spoke on condition of anonymity said the plan “should be publicly heard when there’s so much money attached.”

“If crime is really down, why would you need so much money for a program like this?” the council member said.

Councilwoman Inez Dickens (D-Manhattan) suggested the program was “a response to the fact that the city’s residents are alarmed with what’s going on.”

NYPD union leaders blasted the plan as a waste of taxpayer funds, with PBA President Pat Lynch saying the money should instead be spent hiring more cops to keep people “from being victimized in the first place.”

“We have heard it said by prosecutors that a crime prevented is better than a crime prosecuted. In this case, a crime prevented is far better than having to assist a victim,” Lynch said.

The head of the sergeants union, Ed Mullins, said the program “duplicates what we’re doing already.”

“The biggest advocates for crime victims are police officers,” he said.

A City Hall spokeswoman said, “This relatively small, targeted investment in a common-sense program complements the NYPD’s comprehensive crime-fighting tools, and will go a long way toward providing crime victims with even more effective responses at the time of the incident and in the critical days, weeks, and months after.”

Additional reporting by Shawn Cohen