NYC Mayor's Police Tactics Put to Test in Bronx

Image: NYC Mayor's Police Tactics Put to Test in Bronx New York Mayor Bill de Blasio, left, and Police Commissioner William Bratton

Monday, 19 May 2014 07:11 AM

By Elliot Jager

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New York Mayor Bill de Blasio chose William Bratton to be his police commissioner because he wanted a friendlier, more decentralized force. In at least one North Bronx neighborhood that policy seems to be making crime worse, The New York Times reported.

Gun violence in the 47th Precinct, at the northern end of the city, has nearly doubled, according to the newspaper. There have been eight murders so far compared to one the same time in 2013. Bratton's policy of giving local commanders a free hand to set policing tactics is being tested because of the killing surge. Across the Bronx, 27 people have been killed compared to 21 last year at this time.

"There's been violence before, but not like this," said Brenda Francis, who sits on the local police community council, the Times reported.

The precinct is made up of mostly low-rise apartment buildings, single-family homes, and some housing projects with many Caribbean immigrants.

Bratton is a proponent of "collaborative policing," according to the Times. Officers are being encouraged to make personal connections with residents spending 10 minutes with them every week, creating a database of contact information. The idea is to hear about their quality-of-life concerns before troubles escalate.

The number of "stop and frisk" encounters citywide has gone down to 14,261 from 99,788 in the first three months of this year compared to 2013. One result is that police have seized 68 percent fewer weapons. Citywide, overall crime was down 2.2 percent from January through March – except for shootings, which went up 2.7 percent, Newsday reported.

"My belief is the significant reduction in stop, question and frisk activity on the part of members of the department has not had an impact on crime, and the crime numbers continue to remain low, very low by national standards, and even low by New York standards," Bratton said last week at a news conference, according to Newsday.

Under the previous police commissioner, Raymond Kelly, the department was criticized for racial profiling, a charge he denied.

The NYPD has 34,500 officers, down from a peak of 41,000 in 2002 when Michael Bloomberg took over from Rudy Giuliani, New York Magazine reported.

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