The 81st Precinct of Bedford-Stuyvesant was ranked number-one out of 10 precincts in overall crime reduction for 2016 in Patrol Borough Brooklyn North, according to NYPD reports.
“I guess this is as an appropriate time as ever for me to brag about the 81st Precinct accomplishments,” said Inspector Scott Henderson at a special celebration on Tuesday honoring the commanding officer’s leadership in the precinct.
The 81st Precinct reports a 12 percent overall reduction in crime, with 99 fewer robberies reported than 2015. Also, the 81st Precinct has increased gun arrests by 10 percent, and experienced a drop in 5 of the 7 top crime categories for 2016: robbery, assault, burglary, grand larceny and motor vehicle theft.
Henderson attributes much of the precinct’s success to the new Neighborhood Coordination Officer Program (NCO), which was implemented last year. The NCO program is a new initiative designed to help neighborhoods play an active role in policing their communities.
For every sector a precinct oversees, two specially designated NCO’s are assigned and tasked with getting to know the people within specific city blocks. Their responsibility not only is that of a traditional cop on duty, but also be able to answer questions for citizens and serve as a community resource. NCO’s also are responsible for getting video of incidents, talking to eyewitnesses, and passing along whatever information they find to detectives.
“I am confident that the program really helped to bring down crime in the area,” said Henderson. “It’s all about giving power back to the residents. There are people who want to play a role in shaping a safe community, and this program allows them to be able to stop negative influences in their neighborhood.”
Henderson also pointed to Jackie Robinson Houses for playing a key role in reducing crime in the area. Management at Jackie Robinson installed lighting fixtures in dark areas around Utica Avenue and Chauncey Street, which allowed the 81st Precinct to set up their own cameras. This lead to arrests and discouraged gang activity late at night.
He also thanked the religious leaders of the 162 churches in the area for their efforts working with the 81st precinct:
“Pastors here have attended our Citizen Police Academy, where the NYPD teaches police tactics to the public,” said Henderson. “Also, we’ve been able to hold events with churches, such as back-to-school functions where we hand out supplies to children.”
The 81st Precinct hopes the NCO program will bring continued success to the area. “Our next project is going to be on domestic violence,” said Henderson.
The NYPD plans to continue to roll out the NCO program to four additional precincts every six months.