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Bronx police precincts struggling with staffing shortages are finally getting some relief - and the public better help.
Crime numbers have dropped to their lowest in decades.
But with NYPD manpower down dramatically in recent years, some precincts have only been able to field two or three patrol cars on some shifts, creating lengthy backlogs responding to non-emergency calls.
Police sources confirmed roughly 12 to 26 officers will be permanently deployed to each precinct, with the busy 44th Precinct in Highbridge allotted the most with 26 officers.
In the 49th Precinct, covering Morris Park, Pelham Parkway, Van Nest and Allerton, 18 cops are expected to join the 168 officers in the relatively safe station once known as the “country club precinct.”
“I guess my begs and pleas were finally answered,” said the precinct’s commander, Deputy Inspector Lorenzo Johnson.
“Since June 25th of last year, I’ve been asking,” Johnson said, referring to his first day at the Four-Nine.
“This is the largest amount I can remember,” said Joe Thompson, a retired NYPD detective who heads the precinct’s community council.
Thompson said he’d love to see some of those cops stationed along bustling commercial areas such as White Plains Road, where he serves as executive director of the White Plains Road Business Improvement District.
“It’s going to be perfect because it’s going to come during holiday time,” he said. “If we use our extra cops and auxiliaries we will have an extra presence here.”
Some 20 cops will be assigned to the geographically large 45th Precinct, covering Throggs Neck, City island and Co-Op City.
Precinct commander, Capt. James McGeown called the added troops welcome news.
“It will benefit my precinct,” he said, “and more importantly, the community.”
Bob Bieder, head of precinct’s community council, hopes the unprecedented manpower will inspire Four-Five brass to re-introduce its own, separate narcotics unit to combat the known drug element within the precinct.
“We have a lot of drug issues that are going on in the schools area,” Bieder pointed out. He prays new cops can put a dent on quality of life issues, including traffic enforcement against speeding bikers and drivers.
Councilman Jimmy Vacca said cop staffing shortages in both the 45th and 49th Precincts within his council district have been a common gripe for years among constituents. “The residents of my district deserve to feel a sense of security in their neighborhoods,” said Vacca. “More officers will help reduce crime even more.”
The bulk of the newly assigned officers will be from Operation Impact, which places rookies in specific high-crime areas.
Some 200 of the current 400 cops assigned to Bronx impact zones will be shifted to local precincts, with the December police academy graduating class replacing them.
The 40th, 41st, 43rd, 44th, 46th, 48th, and 52nd Precinct now have Impact Zones, plus an Impact Response Team overseen by the Bronx Borough Command.
It’s a welcome relief for officers, who’ve so far won the war on crime this year, though barely. As of Oct. 13, overall major crime throughout the city has been down 1% from the same time a year ago.
Borough crime has inched up a slight half a percent, thanks largely to jumps in felony assaults and grand larcenies.
The 49th, 44th, 47th and 50th precincts all showed crime drops. The 40th Precinct in Mott Haven ranked as the most troubled, holding a 17% crime surge from the same time last year.
©2013 Community Newspaper Group
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