The 206 police officers transferred last week to the new World Trade Center Command are coming largely from higher crime precincts outside of tourist-heavy, monied southern Manhattan, documents show.
Just three cops are coming from the lower Manhattan’s 1st Precinct, which includes the trade center site, and only eight from precincts south of Central Park, NYPD records show. Crime is down 8 percent in lower Manhattan.
Perhaps the most controversial piece of the move is that 58 of the transfers involve young officers coming out of the Impact program, where they are sent for eight months after completing the police academy to augment patrol officers in, wait for it, high crime areas. In other words, neighborhoods that need cops the most are losing them to the World Trade Center command.
The 30th Precinct in Upper Manhattan is losing 22 officers to the WTC Command–by far the hardest-hit percent. Crime is up in the 30th by just over 6 percent so far this year. In all, 41 officers are coming from northern Manhattan precincts.
The 75th Precinct in East New York, Brooklyn, where crime is up 9 percent, is losing 10 officers.
The 41st Precinct in the rough area of Hunts Point, the Bronx, is losing nine officers. That precinct has had a spike in assaults this year.
The 83rd Precinct in Brooklyn, where crime is up 6 percent, is losing nine officers.
Twenty seven more officers were pulled out of the bureau that patrols housing projects and the transit bureau which keeps the subways safe.
Interestingly, the three Staten Island precincts lost no one, and Queens precincts were only slightly affected.
In a police force of 34,000 officers, the transfers of 206 cops may seem like a drop in the bucket, but staffing shortages in outer borough precincts have been an area of a lot of controversy over the past two years. The Voice reported in its “NYPD Tapes” series that the fairly dicey 81st Precinct in Brooklyn often has just three cops out patrolling on the day shift.
One reason for it is that the department routinely pulls officers from precincts in the Bronx, Brooklyn and Queens to patrol heavy tourist areas like Times Square and lower Manhattan, or provide security at police headquarters or staff anti-terror programs. In addition, the NYPD is already down about 6,000 cops from a decade ago.
The other question is whether the new WTC command will duplicate the same role held by the 1st precinct and the Port Authority Police Department, which has long held jurisdiction over the site. One NYPD observer wondered what exactly the new contingent will have to do, given the relatively low crime rate in lower Manhattan.
The PAPD and the NYPD agreed back in 2008 to divide security responsibilities for the site. That arrangement essentially gives control of the inside to the PAPD, and the outside to the NYPD. The two agencies are supposed to meet regularly to work out coordinated plans. Let’s wait and see how that goes.
The new police officers will be housed in the old police stables adjacent to the 1st Precinct station house.
The WTC command officers will get overtime pay to receive anti-terror training, another added cost.
The move kind of reminds us of then Police Commissioner Howard Safir’s attempt in the mid-1990’s to create a “substation” in the Wall Street district. But that effort, seen as a political gift to the white-shoe set, was shot down by public outcry.