By Gina Martinez
The 113th Precinct wants people to know that despite popular belief, police relations with the community are not all bad.
The precinct held a special meeting, led by Executive Officer Brian J. Bohannon, Wednesday afternoon and spoke to Queens media about the drop in crime and how the new programs that create ties with residents might be the reason for it.
The precinct, which covers Southeast Queens, has seen a significant drop in almost all crime categories and led all of New York City in 2015 with an overall decrease of 15 percent in crime. The precinct was awarded a unit citation by Police Commissioner Bill Bratton and Mayor Bill de Blasio. The 113th officers were also given light blue breast bar worn above their shields for morale and pride.
The year 2016 has seen continued success with stats for the year ending Sunday showing overall crime down 13 percent, on top of the 15 percent reduction last year.
So far this year murders decreased 44 percent to five from nine in 2015 and felony assault fell 4.9 percent to 93 from 115 in 2015, but rape increased 25 percent 10 cases from eight cases last year.
Tensions between the black community and officers is at an all time high following the recent shootings in Dallas and Baton Rouge, La., in retaliation for the deaths of black citizens at the hands of officers. The precinct, whose demographic is largely African-American, held the meeting to show how neighborhood-based policing creates a bond with the community. The results seem to be less crime and friendlier relations with cops.
Neighborhood-based policing programs, which assign officers to specific parts of the community for extended periods, have helped the precinct since it was initiated last September, according to Bohannon.
“It puts individual officers in the same sectors day in and day out and allows these officers to interact with the community members, the business owners, the clergymen and women, the principals on a daily basis,” he said “This program has been instrumental in establishing working groups where our officers pair up with residents and business people of the community.”
The working groups allow officers to converse with residents, whether in person or though e-mail. The precinct currently has 22 working groups with a total of 144 members.
. “We had a good success story a couple of months back where one of the working groups actually funneled some information to our officers that actually solved a non fatal shooting,” Bohannon said “We didn’t have a perpetrator with probable cause and that working group member was able to give us that information.”
The 113th Precinct has also created a program called Idea Scale community, an online forum where residents tell officers about neighborhood issues and give suggestions to police on how to direct police resources. Idea Scale allows residents to talk about what they consider important issues. Bohannon said the program has been incredibly successful. Most of the complaints are related to commercial vehicle parking, and towing operations have been scheduledto solve the problem.
Overall the precinct’s message was clear: Work with the community, build relationships with residents and the result will be cooperation and a drop in crime.
Reach Gina Martinez by e-mail at gmart