Two east Bronx precincts will be getting a needed boost in manpower.
New police officers will be assigned to the 45th and 49th precincts.
Police manpower advocates in the communities the commands serve hailing the assignments expected in April and June.
One precinct council president, however, expressed his ambivalence about the assignments, and said that the complexities of how manpower is allocated throughout the department may still blunt the effect of the new cops in terms of community patrols.
Both precincts will receive 12 new officers in April, while the 45th Precinct will be assigned another six cops in June and the four-nine will receive another dozen, said Councilman James Vacca, whose district encompasses both precincts.
This comes in addition to the six new officers assigned to both houses in December 2015, he said.
The councilman lauded the allocation of human resources to the local stations, which he said were historically understaffed because they encompass low-crime communities compared to other places in the borough and city.
“Historically, these two precincts have been shortchanged when it comes to manpower,” said Vacca.
Vacca said he was one of two city councilmen who went to the council speaker last year with a plan that in its final version added an additional 1,200 new cops citywide and civilianized jobs of another 400, sending them back out on patrol.
“I think that it is a significant start of the right path,” the councilman said. “We have to do more but I think those allocations will address shortages that both precincts have.”
He said that both precincts where still short of ‘target numbers’ of officers set forth by the NYC Police Department.
John Marano, a community activist in Thoggs Neck, praised the allocation, but would like to see more, pointing out that the there are still thousands of fewer police officers throughout the city when compared to the period just before September 11, 2001.
“We are still short, but there is going to be more, and that is a good thing,” he said.
The communities the 45th Precinct serves are growing, and new shopping amenities like the Mall at Bay Plaza and a growing roster of restaurants on City Island can create seasonal crime concerns, taxing police resources, said John Doyle, a 45th Precinct Community Council board member.
The new assignments are a hopeful sign, said 49th Precinct Community Council president Joe Thompson.
However, Thompson also said that with special details like those dealing with homeland security and citywide crime patterns drawing cops out of the precincts to work all over the city, a more accurate gauge of the impact is the number of cops assigned to daily patrols.
“It is not how many people who are assigned to the precinct, but how many people work the precinct,” he said, adding that he is not complaining about police officers being taken out of the precinct to do other police work, but that he wants to draw attention to the need for more resources.
In addition, he said that the residents must become more active in helping the police keep their communities safe.