The 106th Precinct welcomed 16 new officers to its command last week, as the communities covered by the precinct saw a spike in auto thefts and grand larcenies last month.
The precinct’s commander, Deputy Inspector Jeffrey Schiff, said he is glad to have the officers to bolster his crime-fighting efforts.
“They are a most-welcome addition to the community and we are very happy to have them join our local team,” he said.
The inspector said the new officers will be given an orientation period in the precinct area during which they will tour the communities and be advised of the relevant information about them. He added that community members will be invited to meet with the new officers and advise them of neighborhood concerns while the precinct briefs on crime trends and quality-of-life issues.
Schiff said the addition of the 16 officers will decrease response times to calls for assistance. Most of the newly assigned officers will be assigned to the 4 p.m. to midnight tour, which is the busiest time for the precinct.
None of the new personnel will be assigned to Resorts World Casino New York City, the commander explained, since a small detail of precinct officers are already there on Friday and Saturday nights and the casino also has private security.
“At this time we don’t see a need to increase police presence due to the fact that crime is starting to go down in that location,” Schiff said.
The officers were previously assigned to NYPD Impact Units and have been with the department for an average of three to four years. Impact Units comprise new officers assigned to precincts in high-crime areas upon their graduation from the academy.
The boost in numbers comes as some crimes have gone up in the command. During the 28-day period ending Oct. 20 auto thefts rose by 73 percent and grand larcenies jumped 56 percent compared to last year.
The addition of new police officers was welcome news to civic leaders and elected officials who had made numerous requests to police brass for additional officers.
Community Board 10 Chairwoman Betty Braton said the board is very pleased that the NYPD responded to its request.
“Our population has grown in recent years and since the opening of the casino, our area’s ambient population has grown by 12 million people a year,” she said in an email. “Whether resident or visitor, all people need police service and the personnel available has to be sufficient to meet their needs 24/7. Our proximity to the airport and other critical infrastructure important to our national security also make it imperative that our precinct is always adequately staffed.”
Lindenwood Alliance President Joann Ariola also said in a statement that her group welcomes the new officers to the precinct, “and looks forward to the plan which our new Deputy Inspector Schiff has implemented to make the best use of the additional personnel.”
Area officials, including state Sen. Joe Addabbo, Jr. (D-Howard Beach) and Assemblyman Phil Goldfeder (D-Rockaway Park), who have been calling on police brass to assign more officers to the 106th Precinct for some time, praised the news.
“The 16 new, permanent officers at the 106th Precinct will have a direct, positive impact on the safety of the area residents and were certainly needed in a precinct that uniquely deals daily with a casino and a major airport,” Addabbo said.
Goldfeder and Councilman Eric Ulrich (R-Ozone Park) singled out Police Commissioner Ray Kelly for praise as well.
“I am very grateful for Police Commissioner Kelly’s decision to assign additional police officers to the 106th Precinct. He is responsive, he is effective and in my opinion he will go down in history as one of the best police commissioners the city has ever had,” Ulrich said.