By Mark Hallum
The average New York City police precinct covers a population of about 100,000. The 105th, however, is spread far too thin with more than 188,000 residents.
The precinct, which runs from Glen Oaks and North Shore Towers in the north to Kennedy Airport through Queens Village and Laurelton, is known to have the slowest 911 response times in comparison to its neighboring precincts in eastern Queens.
Facing repeated calls from the communities it serves for quicker response times, City Councilmen Barry Grodenchik (D-Oakland Gardens) and Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) have introduced a resolution to create a new precinct called the 116th within the area.
The battle to open a new precinct along the border of eastern Queens is nothing new. The communities served by the 105th have been pushing for better law enforcement across their neighborhoods since 1977. The new resolution by council members is in keeping with Richards’ State of the District address Feb. 11, in which he outlined the longtime need for the creation of the 116th Precinct.
“One of the biggest issues our community faces is public safety. Every year it is an important issue for my office, but this year we have made seeing the 116th Precinct coming to fruition our No. 1 priority,” he said in his address. “This is unfair to our communities and it is unfair to the officers who are tasked with protecting our communities… We hear talk of the large capital expense this would put on the city, but we have seen additional precincts created in places like Staten Island and I believe southeast Queens deserves the same treatment.”
In 2007, in order to lower response times in Rosedale and South Springfield Gardens neighborhoods, the 105th created a satellite location at 242-40 North Conduit Ave. with 40 personnel on staff. But Grodenchik and Richards are calling upon Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner Bill Bratton to go the rest of the way in supplying a full staff with the resources to deliver adequate coverage to areas in need.
In March, the satellite precinct was expanded to have 24-hour coverage with an additional 18 officers and two sergeants. But even with the expansion, Grodenchik was still vocal about his desire to establish a precinct independent of the 105th.
“We are pleased that the precinct has received these much-needed resources, and I have submitted a resolution at the Council calling on the police commissioner to create a new precinct by dividing the 105th Police Precinct in to two separate precincts,” Grodenchik said back in March.”
Richards acknowledges the effort on the part of de Blasio and Bratton to extend the coverage of the 105th Precinct, but said adequate law enforcement is still not reaching these communities.
“I’d like to thank Mayor de Blasio and Commissioner Bratton for granting additional resources to the 105th Precinct Satellite, but we are still in need of a fully serviced precinct in the Laurelton, Rosedale and Springfield Gardens communities.”
According to DCPI, there is no way to speculate on how the 105th Precinct would be divided or where the 116th would possibly be located.
The 105th is currently the fourth-largest police precinct in the city after the 120th, 122nd, and 123rd precincts of Staten Island. It covers 12.7 square miles of ground and 354 miles of roadways, according to the NYPD. .
Reach reporter Mark Hallum by e-mail at mhall