With the budget hurting, the NY Times reports on how the police force "[hurtles] toward its lowest head count in memory: The New York City Police Department is set to shrink to 34,304 officers within a year, which is 16 percent fewer than the department’s high of 41,000 nearly a decade ago." (However, a graph suggests the number of cops has been in the mid 30,000 range for the past few years.) There are tense meetings on staffing police officers in certain neighborhoods, Police Commissioner Ray Kelly has to okay every promotion or transfer, there are fewer recruits and civilian employees are being laid off. And, in spite all of this,"there have been no obvious outward signs of problems." But the NYPD is using "predictive policing," which is using "crime statistics and other information to forecast where crime may pop up next," a lot more these days. One deputy commissioner explained, "It puts pressure on the need to be as precise as you can be, because you want to make the very best use of the limited resources you have." According to the latest crime stats available (PDF), 2009 crime is down 11% vs. 2008 and down 13.67% vs. 2007 for the year thus far.