The city of Newark was recently ranked as the twenty-ninth most dangerous city in America based on crime statistics. But now, thanks to a multi-million dollar budget gap and a bitter dispute between the city and the police union,167 police officers—or 13% of the force— were laid off yesterday, making it Newark's largest force reduction in 32 years. "We were doing everything possible to avoid this from ever happening. In fact, we starved other city departments to push more resources into the police department to actually start hiring more police officers. And to have this day come -- it is very sobering and disappointing," Mayor Cory Booker told WNYC.

Newark was ranked the most dangerous city in American in 1996 by Time Magazine, but has lowered its murder rate drastically since then (still, this year murders, rapes and robberies are up 11% over last year). Booker was furious with the Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) union for their unwillingness to make any concessions during the negotiations. While the two sides try to reach a settlement, Guardian Angels founder Curtis Sliwa said that his anti-crime group would send members from NYC to patrol parts of Newark: "Newark's done a great job driving down the crime rate, and they don't deserve this."

According to the Post, FOP President Derrick Hatcher was a little defensive about accepting help from outsiders: "We can do our policing ourselves. It's going to create more of a nuisance than a benefit for the city." But he softened his tone with WNYC, saying: "I know Curtis. You know, if it helps then I'll do it. I'll try anything. I'll tell him where to go. Let's put it that way. And you know his methods are his methods and hopefully they help."