When Assistant Chief Kevin Ward of the NYPD was placed at the helm of Patrol Borough Queens South in July, he was given the unenviable task of improving on success.
But speaking before Community Board 13 at Bellerose Assembly of God Church, Ward said that is exactly his goal with crime heading down in most statistical categories, and down 5.5 percent overall over last year.
Ward is a 30-year veteran whose father also put in 30 years and his recently retired brother 32.
He is pleased with drops in shootings and the high number of illegal gun seizures in Queens South. He said they always want to do more to eliminate burglaries.
“That is always more personal,” he said. “You like to think you can feel safe in your own home.”
Appearing with Deputy Inspector Michael Coyle, commanding officer of the 105th Precinct, Ward said the historic gains made in recent years have come while staffing has been issue throughout the department, which is down 6,000 officers from 12 years ago.
He cited examples in the 105th where the precinct was the beneficiary of the NYPD’s Impact Response Team — a task force that floods areas having crime spikes — where there have been issues with things like burglary sprees.
Those teams also are redeployed when different problem areas take priority.
He said every borough commander in the NYPD would like more resources and manpower for things like increased foot patrols.
“We could definitely use them,” he said. “But they’re hard to get.”
While there often is talk in the community of splitting the geographically- it is a tall order.
Staten Island, where he had served last, recently added a fourth precinct to its existing three.
“But they had been trying for 20 or 30 years,” he said. “And the previous time the department added a new precinct may have been about 20 years before that.”
Coyle, speaking afterward, echoed the chief’s desire to clamp down on gun crime, and said the 105th has made dramatic gains in 2013.
“We had 25 shootings this time last year, and now we have 10,” he said, citing a 60 percent drop.