Not only does the 45th Precinct have a brand new captain, but some new officers will soon be joining the roster as well.
Last week the precinct announced that four more officers will be added to the 160-strong department.
Although community officials agree this is a welcomed addition to the force, most are also in agreement that it is not enough.
“It is a great a start,” said Bob Bieder vice-president of the45th Precinct Community Council. “We know how tough it is to get more in any precinct, but we feel it’s justified in 45th because of an increase in crime in Zerega and Westchester Square in particular. We need more officers obviously, but getting any manpower is always a plus.”
The precinct is geographically one of the largest in the city, stretching from Westchester Square to City Island, and from Ft. Schuyler to Co-op City.
During the past year crime statistics have risen significantly in the area, and with the high-profile incident of a nearly 80-year-old woman being raped on a Benson Street in July, residents are becoming increasingly upset with the precinct’s response to crime.
Although murder has dropped 100 percent, from one fatality last year to zero so far this year, burglary is up 20 percent, felony assault is up 8 percent, robbery is up 26 percent and rape is up 8 percent, according to the precinct’s crime statistics for the week ending August 15.
Because of the startling spike in crime, Community Board 10 recently requested as part of its annual budget requests that the NYPD assign between 8 and 10 officers and at least one new vehicle to the district.
“We’re going to continue to ask for more,” said Kenneth Kearns, district manager of the board. “The area needs it. It’s a hug area to police. They need more resources and we have to advocate for them to get those resources and we need the community’s full support. We need people to write, email and send letters to the mayor and police commissioner. If we write, they will get the message.”
According to Bieder, the number of new police officers entering the force city-wide is down about 25 percent this year, and all precincts have been asked to do more with less.
“It’s not possible at some point,” he said. “Manpower in any precinct is critical in how you utilize it, but this new captain is very proactive in getting people and himself out there where they need to be.”
Bieder said he is confident Captain Russell Green, who took over the post on Monday, August 23, will effectively use the limited force.
“We’re happy about the four new officers, and we’re going to put them to good use,” Captain Green said, adding that they likely be used to increase patrols in troubled areas of Zerega and Westchester Square. “But we’re gonna ask for more every week.”