By Bill Parry
State Sen. Jose Peralta (D-East Elmhurst) believes there is an easy way for the city to improve conditions on Roosevelt Avenue: single command of the commercial corridor by a single police precinct.
The senator sent a letter to NYPD Commissioner William Bratton explaining the problem along his district’s main business corridor.
“At present, the 115th Precinct is responsible for policing the north side of Roosevelt Avenue, while the 110th handles the south side,” he wrote. “A dividing line running miles down the center of a busy street makes no sense and almost certainly stretches resources thin. It also makes it more difficult to institute community policing measures when smaller neighborhood enclaves are split in half. Worse yet, it creates a situation where an officer is not technically responsible for responding to a crime taking place across the street.”
There has been no reply from the commissioner and no response from the commanders of both precincts, although the 115th is in transition. Deputy Inspector Michael Cody was transferred to an investigative unit in the Bronx and no successor has been named yet.
Christian Cassagnol, the district manager of Community Board 4, has been complaining about the division of Roosevelt Avenue for years and he is appreciative of Peralta’s efforts, especially when it comes to the issue of street vendors. Peralta said the 110th enforces the law more stringently that the 115th, leading to a “disproportionate flux of vendors on the 115th side to the south.”
“That’s something I’ve witnessed myself,” Cassagnol said. In fact, he’s written about the history of the Roosevelt Divide for years on the boards website and not just about the two police precincts.
“It is also the dividing line between our community board and CB 3 and two Department of Sanitation districts as well,” Cassagnol said. He writes: “It is for this reason that enforcing laws and instigating cleanups always fall short. It would essentially take twice the resources and coordination from all aforementioned agencies to effectively conduct a clean sweep.”
Asked about Peralta’s letter to Bratton, Cassagnol said, “That’s pretty cool.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at (718) 260–4538.