A proposal to relocate the Bronx’s Special Victims Division into the jurisdiction of Community Board 8 is causing concern for some board members over the potential for increased traffic in what is an already congested area.
On Sept. 2, the NYPD presented an application to the CB 8 Land Use Committee to relocate its Bronx Special Victims Squad from 1086 Simpson St. to 188 W. 230th St. in Marble Hill, near the Broadway Plaza Mall at 230th Street and Broadway, which is considered one the worst intersections in the northwest Bronx.
NYPD Lt. Anthony Andreano, of the Facilities Management Division, and Jeff Reuben, a consultant on the project, laid out the plans and why the move is needed. The current Special Victims Division’s Bronx unit is located at the home of the infamous “Fort Apache” Precinct, in the Longwood section of the South Bronx within the confines of Community Board 2. But Andreano said that location is small and lacks adequate parking. With only one interview room, victims may often see their alleged accusers while waiting to speak with a detective. The Special Victims Division investigates sex crimes and cases of alleged child abuse.
The new site, if approved, would provide 20,165-square feet of office space housed in a three-story building along with the School Construction Authority, the Office of the Inspector General and a public parking garage. This move would allow for more than one interview room for the Special Victims Squad and, ultimately, provides more privacy to victims of crimes. Additionally, there would be 20 parking spots for two shifts of officers.
“The space will be much better for us,” Andreano said. “If we have a suspect leaving and a victim coming in at the same time that isn’t good.”
While Andreano said this is not the typical precinct with millions of people coming and going all day long, committee members were still on the fence about the move.
Board member David Gellman is concerned about police officers double parking in the street and causing more congestion on the busy thoroughfare. Charles Moerdler, chair of the Land Use Committee, repeatedly said throughout the meeting how this will hurt the traffic in the area. Moerdler said the road is already busy near the 50th Precinct and he doesn’t want that issue to repeat itself.
“I think the NYPD is a fine institution,” Moerdler said. “This is not a police issue.”
Daniel Padernacht, chair of the board’s Traffic and Transportation Committee, shared their sentiments that he supports the Special Victims Squad wanting to come to CB 8, but just isn’t sure this is the right location.
“That 230th intersection has a lot of accidents and is one of the worst in the Bronx,” Padernacht said. “The traffic safety is my concern.”
Andreano wanted to know what the NYPD could do to appease the community. “How can we be good neighbors?” he asked the committee. “Is there a letter or something we can add to part of this application to assuage any fears you may have?”
Not every board member was against the relocation, however.
Camelia Tepelus fully supports the Special Victims coming to Marble Hill. Tepelus said the board is confusing this precinct with a regular police station that has heavy foot traffic and numerous vehicles.
“I just want to say thank you very much to the NYPD for considering this area for Special Victims,” she said. “I don’t know why we are so quick to jump to the assumption that they will double park on 230th. This is not a place that is saying to the public we are right here.”
While the board decided to table a vote on the relocation, Moerdler asked Andreano to meet with the Traffic and Transportation Committee to discuss the issue further and eventually return to the Land Use Committee and then the full Community Board.
Reach Jason Cohen at firstname.lastname@example.org or (718) 260-4598. For more coverage, follow us on Twitter @bronxtimes and Facebook @bronxtimes.