Local politicians and civic leaders banded together to demand proper police protection in northeast Queens — an area they say is too large geographically and in population density for the current precincts to support all its residents.
According to Senator Tony Avella, the region’s precincts — the 105th and 109th — have been tasked with covering far more than other precincts in Queens.
“Since 2007, the population in these precincts has only increased,” Avella said. “This adds to the pressure the precincts are under to patrol and respond, and it further stretches their limited resources.”
Avella announced his legislation that would divide the 105th and 109th precincts into two separate subdivisions — one representing the northern and one representing the southern portion of the precincts.
According to Assemblymember Edward Braunstein, parts of northeast Queens, including Bay Terrace and Whitestone, are a “considerable distance” from the 109th Precinct’s current headquarters in downtown Flushing.
“In the event of an emergency, it is important that my constituents be in as close proximity as possible to the precinct,” Braunstein said. “Since the 105th Precinct is forced to cover such a large geographic area, many people in Floral Park, Glen Oaks and New Hyde Park believe they have faced a delay in service. This legislation is vital to the safety of our constituents because it would increase response times.”
According to civic leaders, the fight to secure more resources for the two precincts has been a decade-long battle.
“What we’re asking for is our fair share of city resources here in northeast Queens, and we’re just asking for what we deserve,” Braunstein said. “I know that especially in the 109th Precinct, my constituents — especially in Bay Terrace — have been complaining that there is not enough police presence there for years. There are certain places in Whitestone and Bay Terrace where you don’t see a police car ever.”
However, officials say the legislation is not a reflection of the precincts’ commanders and officers. Instead, they said the problem is that the precincts do not have enough resources to patrol the area sufficiently.
“We’ve been fighting this battle for longer than I can remember,” said Warren Schreiber, president of Bay Terrace Community Alliance.
The 105th Precinct covers neighborhoods in Queens Village, Cambria Heights, Laurelton, Rosedale, Springfield Gardens, Bellerose, Glen Oaks, New Hyde Park and Floral Park, while neighborhoods in downtown and east Flushing, including Queensboro Hill, College Point, Malba, Whitestone, Beechhurst and Bay Terrace fall in the confines of the 109th Precinct.
“People in these precincts deserve proper police protection,” Avella said. “They deserve two precincts. Communities change, population increases. There is perfect logic to have these two precincts split into two. The only reason not to have it is money, and that should not be the reason not to do it. It should be based upon safety and response time.”
Both precincts directed comment to NYPD officials, who did not respond as of press time.
However, a police source said a substantial amount of manpower would be required to build the new precincts and subsequently keep them running.