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Photo by Naeisha Rose
Commissioner James O’Neill speaks on neighborhood and precision policing.
By Naeisha Rose

Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner James P. O’Neill came to South Jamaica last week to discuss the overall drop in crime in New York City just days after the second anniversary of the shooting of Officer Brian Moore three miles away in the 105th Precinct.

On May 2, 2014, Moore, 25, who was with the 105th Precinct’s Anti-Crime Unit, was patrolling near 104th Road with his partner in an unmarked police car. They approached a man suspected of having a weapon who allegedly fired three times and struck Moore in the head, according to police. Moore died two days later.

On the second anniversary of his death, President Patrick Lynch of the Patrolmen’s Benevolent Association and a number of police officers gathered on 104th Road to mark the spot where he died.

Over at the High School for Law Enforcement and Public Safety in South Jamaica, both de Blasio and O’Neill thanked Moore for his service May 4. They held a news conference inside at the Edward Byrne Police Athletic League Center, which was named for the police officer from the 103rd Precinct who was killed 29 years ago as he sat in his marked patrol car. Byrne was 22.

Throughout their speeches, de Blasio and the senior leadership within the NYPD touted the drop in crime based on NYPD statistics.

“New York City is safer today than anyone could have imagined just a few years ago,” de Blasio said.

Index crime throughout the city went down 6.8 percent, murder was reduced by 28 percent, and there were approximately 550 fewer incidences of crime this April compared to last year, according to the NYPD.

Leading the way in the crime drop were Queens and the 113 Precinct, which covers South Jamaica, Hollis and Springfield Gardens.

“Queens is a particularly good story,” Deputy Commissioner of Operations Dermot Shea said. “Overall crime in Queens is down 6 percent this year. Shooting incidences are down 45 percent in Queens North and South combined. That number is 21 fewer shooting incidences in Queens.”

De Blasio added that crime in the seven major crime categories were down 20 percent in April from a year earlier.

However, there were a few individual crimes that plagued the city: rapes, transit crime, illegal guns on the street and drugs.

Rape was down in Queens from a year earlier but up in Brooklyn, Staten Island and south Manhattan. There is no transit crime in Staten Island, but it rose in the other four boroughs.

Bringing down crime was precision policing.

“By combining our Organized Crime Control Bureau with our Detective Borough, including all of those detectives and investigators under Chief Robert Boyce we are targeting our resources at those pockets of violence,” O’Neill said.

Further helping the situation were Neighborhood Coordination Officers and neighborhood policing.

The addition of body cameras also resulted in the lowest numbers of complaints against police officers in 15 years, according to the mayor.

“I have conversations with [Queens South, Ast. Chief David] Barrere and Commissioner O’Neill,” said state Assemblywoman Alicia Hyndman (D-Springfield Gardens). “They are looking forward to more body cameras. The community wants to see what happens with police interactions with civilians. It will shine a light on what the police go through, and it will shine a light of what our constituents go through.”

Reach reporter Naeisha Rose by e-mail at nrose@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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