North Queens crime fighters celebrate felony drop

By Cynthia Koons

The patrol borough, which spans northern and western Queens, had something to celebrate: it had the largest drop in crime of any patrol borough in the city in 2004.Queens dignitaries such as Borough President Helen Marshall and District Attorney Richard Brown joined the officers of the 104th, 108th, 109th, 111th, 112th, 114th and 115th precincts to honor their accomplishment at a dinner Jan. 19 in the Queens Hall of Science on 111th Street in Corona.”Queens Borough Patrol North led the city in crime reduction,” Patrol Borough Queens North Commanding Officer James Tuller said. “One crime is one crime too many.”Looking at statistics from 1993 – the first year Compstat police numbers were tracked – to 2004, Tuller commended the various precincts on a 61 percent drop in murders, a 70 percent decrease in robberies, a 73 percent reduction in burglaries and an 85 percent slash in the number of auto thefts in the past 12 years. What that translates into is 10,772 fewer burglaries and 20,986 fewer auto thefts than in 1993 – with a total of 40,880 less crimes than the first year the precincts started recording their numbers.”It's a constant fight to see that we're staying on top of crime conditions,” Tuller said. “I stand up here and I talk about crime reduction, but we don't take it for granted that we couldn't do this without the support of the communities.”He gave a nod to community precinct councils and the precincts' relationships with local newspapers.”People ask, 'where is community policing?' – it's right here in these numbers,” he said.The patrol borough covers an area from eastern to western Queens, protecting more than 1.3 million residents. It stretches from the 111th in Bayside to the 108th in Long Island City and the 112th in Forest Hills.The other precincts include the 104th in Ridgewood, the 109th in Flushing, the 114th in Astoria and the 115th in Jackson Heights.”We would like to be everywhere, but we can't be everywhere so we have to focus,” Tuller said.That is where Mayor Michael Bloomberg's Operation Impact initiative comes in.The Police Department relaunched its successful Operation Impact program in Corona and Elmhurst through the 110th and 115th precincts last week.The program, which places additional officers and equipment in areas deemed in need of extra policing, will be implemented in an area along Roosevelt Avenue from 72nd Street to 104th Street, extending north to 37th Avenue, officials said.These officers have been added in other Patrol Borough Queens North precincts, such as the 109th in Flushing.”Impact was created to look at a location where crime wasn't going down,” Tuller said. The 109th Precinct, which added impact officers, is currently in the maintenance phase of its impact program.Marshall took the podium after Tuller to commend the precincts and explain the efforts her office has put into cutting domestic violence.”Understand the problems that people cannot speak the language is very important,” she said.The 109th and 115th precincts both have language line technology, a new program introduced to the Police Department last year which offers translation services in as many as 170 different dialects.Brown followed Marshall in applauding the officers' good police work.”Every arrest that's made we're involved in,” he said.”All of that which we've accomplished could not be accomplished without the support of the community,” Brown said. “I think each and every one of you should be proud of your police officers.”Reach reporter Cynthia Koons by e-mail at news@timesledger.com or call 718-229-0300, Ext. 141

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