On Monday, NYPD brass announced that the new policing philosophy and program will be implemented in Ridgewood, Glendale, Maspeth and Middle Village.
Three-and-a-half years after the police department launched the initiative, all neighborhood precincts in the city will eventually have an NCO program. It has also been introduced to nine public housing areas, half of the NYPD’s transit districts and, by the end of the year, every school district.
“The message is public safety is a shared responsibility,” said Police Commissioner James O’Neill. “It’s that credo, that understanding, that’s guiding our evolution.
“In 2018, this is where we need to be as a police department, and this is where we need to be as a city of 8.6 million New Yorkers,” he added. “This is how we’re going to make our way forward.”
The neighborhood policing model is built on improving relations and communication between police officers and community residents. It’s also a crimefighting strategy, with the hope that residents will report crimes to their local officers.
The program divides a precinct into sectors, and assigns neighborhood coordination officers (NCOs) to work in those areas. The officers are expected to get to know residents, business owners, community leaders and clergy.
NCOs also host Build the Block meetings to identify public safety challenges and come up with collective solutions.
The switch to neighborhood policing began in May 2015, according to Chief of Department Terence Monahan. Four precincts, including the 100th and 101st in Queens, were included in the pilot program.
“We took our time rolling it out because we wanted to make sure that we were doing it right,” he said. “It is an entirely new way of policing, designed to bring the community closer to the cops, building trust and fighting crime more effectively.”
Monahan touted the progress of the initiative. Total crime is down 8 percent in the city over the last three years, including a 16 percent drop in murders and 34 percent decrease in shootings. Over that same time, the NYPD made 26 percent less arrests.
“With neighborhood policing, the community has joined our team and is helping us to solve crimes,” he said. “This consistency has resulted in new relationships, increased trust and, over time, shared information.”
The NYPD made the announcement inside the Ridgewood YMCA on Monday afternoon. Bob Monahan, president of the Greater Ridgewood Youth Council, said the organization’s mission to improve quality of life for kids and families mirrors that of the NYPD.
He recalled “back in the day” when kids used to hang out in large groups, and the police were called in to move them along.
With the introduction of the NCO program, Bob Monahan said, officers will spend time actually speaking to the kids, and offering them alternatives to just “hanging out.”
“We cannot improve the quality of life without continuing to build bridges between the police and the community,” he said.