By James DeWeese
The program, which places additional officers and equipment in areas deemed to need extra policing, will encompass an area along Roosevelt Avenue from 72nd Street to 104th Street, extending north to 37th Avenue, officials said.The Jackson Heights-based 115th Precinct and the Elmhurst-based 110th Precinct share responsibility for the “Impact Zone” in Corona and Elmhurst, which was established two years ago. Both precincts saw an overall decline in the number of major crimes reported between 2003 and 2004, according to police data.Deputy Inspector Martin Conway, commanding officer of the 110th Precinct, called Operation Impact a success. He said crime was down significantly in the areas covered by the program last year. As a result, several blocks south of Roosevelt Avenue which had previously been covered by the Impact zone are no longer included.”We call it a maintenance phase,” Conway said. “We'll obviously keep an eye on it, and if we start to see some crime in that area, then we'll move some things around.” Almost a month into the new year, he said all indications are positive. “It's early in the year yet but so far so good,” he said.The reshuffling of resources makes way for the Impact Zone to be extended further north, from Roosevelt Avenue to 37th Avenue. Community Affairs Police Officer Will Wilkerson said 66 new officers were added to the Jackson Heights precinct as part of this round of Operation Impact. Overtime for existing officers was also granted under the program, clearing the way for even more officers to patrol regions of the Impact zone, Wilkerson said.The Corona-Elmhurst Impact Zone is one of 20 sites to be included in the citywide policing initiative in 2005.During a Jan. 13 ceremony to relaunch Operation Impact, Mayor Michael Bloomberg credited the program with reducing crime in specific areas by 26 percent last year.”Targeting high-crime areas and a zero-tolerance policy for quality-of-life crimes has been crucial to NYPD's success in driving down in the five boroughs,” Bloomberg said.All told, more than 1,000 officers will be deployed in the new Impact Zones. Police Commissioner Raymond Kelly lauded the program's success.”The numbers speak for themselves,” Kelly said. “This strategy enables us to flood trouble spots with new recruits and seasoned veterans and attain very real results.”Reach reporter James DeWeese by e-mail at email@example.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 157.