After 40 years of asking for a new precinct to cut down response times and promptly address quality-of-life issues, southeast Queens will welcome the 116th Precinct.
Mayor Bill de Blasio and NYPD Commissioner James P. O’Neill announced on Monday in Queens that the 116th Precinct, which will cover Rosedale, Springfield Gardens and Laurelton, will operate out of the 105th Precinct’s satellite building at 242-40 North Conduit Ave. in Rosedale.
The 105th Precinct covers 12.43 square miles and 354 miles of roadway in southeast Queens, making it the fifth largest precinct in the city. Residents and community groups have asked the city for years to build an additional stationhouse so that officers can better respond to emergencies. Though the citywide average emergency response time is about 7 minutes, the 105th Precinct’s response time is closer to 9 minutes.
A decade ago, the NYPD opened a satellite office on North Conduit Avenue and in March 2016 added 18 officers, two sergeants and made the office a 24-hour operation to help the 105th Precinct with its caseloads. One month later, the mayor and former Police Commissioner Bill Bratton announced that $70 million would be allocated for a new 116th Precinct.
Bess DeBetham, a Laurelton resident for 46 years and member of the Federated Blocks of Laurelton, outlined the community’s long struggle to convince elected officials to dedicate resources to a new precinct. DeBetham was told in the ’70s by former Mayor Ed Koch that a satellite office would be built.
“We were promised a satellite station and the response from each administration has always been the same — no money in the budget,” she said.
In 2007, Congressman Gregory Meeks started the 116th Precinct Task Force to spearhead the addition of a satellite office and DeBetham thanked Councilman Donovan Richards for making the precinct a priority when he was elected in 2014.
“For decades we fought for an additional precinct and it’s been a hard fight,” she said. “There have been many moments of disappointment, frustration and anger along the way but we never gave up because we knew how important it was. It was a struggle but it was worth it.”
Though the precinct’s borders have not been determined, the NYPD will conduct an analysis to look at geography, population, 911 and 311 calls, crime and quality-of-life issues to make its final decision. The 116th Precinct will take over more than half of the 105th Precinct’s territory. O’Neill said the new precinct is “a few years away” from being fully operational.
“Thanks to the tireless efforts of the NYPD, New York City is the safest big city in America,” de Blasio said. “Every New York City neighborhood deserves the same quality of service and safety we’ve come to expect from the NYPD. That is why we are making unprecedented investments in establishing high-quality precincts. The future 116th Precinct will help reduce current response times in southeast Queens and expand coverage throughout the community.”