By Bill Parry
Community leaders in Southeast Queens were rewarded for their 40-year effort to secure a much-needed police precinct. Not only did the city commit $70 million in the Capital Plan for a new state-of-the-art station house, Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner William Bratton visited the 105th Precinct in Queens Village Tuesday to tell them all about it.
“The 105th Precinct is one of the city’s largest—and for decades, residents have wanted a precinct closer to home,” de Blasio said. “Our investment in a new 116th Precinct will address community needs, help reduce response times and bring an additional police presence to the fast-growing neighborhoods in Southeast Queens.”
City Councilman Barry Grodenchick (D-Oakland Gardens) praised the community for “pushing the rock up a hill for four decades,” while Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton) said their prayers have been answered.
“The issues of long response times and a distant police presence will soon be a thing of the past for the residents of Laurelton, Rosedale and Springfield Gardens and this huge victory for the community would not have been possible without residents such as Bess DeBetham, who never gave up on fighting to achieve this dream.”
The 105th Precinct is the largest in Queens, geographically, covering 12.43 square miles. If all its roadways were connected, they would stretch from New York City to Boston, according to Richards.
“I was not even born when this conversation started, my mother was 10 when the conversation started,” he said. “People would tell me I had a better chance of winning the lottery than I did getting a new precinct.”
State Sen. James Sanders, Jr. (D-South Ozone Park) said the new precinct would lift a burden off the 105th Precinct, which was often “stretched thin” patrolling its 354 miles of roadway.
“The addition of the new 116th Precinct represents an enormous victory for residents and demonstrates the city’s continued commitment to public safety,” he said. “Hopefully, the presence of the 116th Precinct will lead to a decline in crime and improve response times.”
A Rosedale satellite station was opened in 2007 to support the precinct and de Blasio added 24-hour coverage and expanded staffing including an additional 18 officers and two sergeants. This facility will continue to operate in the area until the new dedicated station house is up and running several years from now,” Bratton said. The administration will work with community leaders, civic groups, clergy and the NYPD to identify a site for the new precinct.
“I am looking forward to working on the analysis with the community,” Borough President Melinda Katz said. “The 116th Precinct will truly save lives.”
Bratton and members of his staff also delivered the NYPD’s monthly crime-statistics briefing declaring April the safest month in the modern compstat era. During the month, the city experienced a decrease in overall crime of 4.2 percent compared with the same period last year, with shootings, burglaries and grand larceny auto reaching record lows for the month.
“New York City remains the safest big city in the nation, and that is a testament to the hard work of the women and men of the NYPD,” de Blasio said. “April’s crime stats are a clear reflection of our officers’ dedication to their mission—with the lowest number of shootings and homicides of any quarter in our recorded history, and the fewest shootings of any month in modern history.”
Reach reporter Bill Parry by e-mail at bparr