Crime rates declined in Hunts Point in 2015, following an encouraging trend of dropping crime levels across the city.
Many residents credit officers from the 41st Precinct for their work in keeping violence down.
“They’re doing a lot of positive things. I’ve seen changes over the last couple of years,” said Larry Robinson, chair of Community Board 2’s Youth Services at January’s community council meeting, where cops and residents meet. “It’s great to see them out there.”
In a January press release, Mayor Bill de Blasio singled out the work of the NYPD in keeping crime levels low.
“All the men and women of the NYPD have a lot to be proud of as we look back on 2015,” he said, attributing the decline to the addition of officers to the police force, as well as investments in technology for cops, including smartphones and tablets.
Last year, the number of crimes in the 41st Precinct dropped 11 percent compared with 2014, according to the NYPD. Six of the seven major crimes NYPD calculates were down. Burglaries were down most significantly, from 208 in 2014 to 162 last year and the number of grand larcenies dropped from 367 to 325.
Despite the encouraging numbers, residents and officers agree that more work needs to be done to improve the relationship between police and the community.
Robinson said he recognizes the progress 41st Precinct officers have made to improve relationships with residents, and that these efforts should continue.
“The mentality is that most of the community doesn’t trust the police,” he said.
NYPD complaint statistics reflect that concern. Sixty complaints were reported about cops from the 41st Precinct last year, including 29 concerning the use of force, 40 regarding abuse of authority, 17 discourtesy complaints and four complaints of abusive language. Still, the number of complaints was down nine from the previous year.
Lieutenant Chris Dominguez, the precinc’st integrity control officer, said that though the numbers are higher than they should be, it should be noted that some complaints were generated from within the police force itself, proving that cops are getting the message and they care.
“We’ve been training our officers in regards to proper etiquette in speaking to the public, carrying themselves with professional demeanor at all times,” he said. “You can’t treat everybody with a blanket policy of being tough.”
The crime numbers for minor incidents show small increases (under five percent) for minor crimes, including minor theft and misdemeanor assaults. The precinct reported 19 shooting incidents, down one from 2014.
Though low-level crimes continue at a similar clip to recent years, Paula Fields, acting president of the 41st Precinct Community Council, said Hunts Point and Longwood residents understand cops have been working hard to reduce theft and other minor crimes. She pointed out a recent undercover operation to reduce cellphone theft near the Whitlock Avenue 6 Train stop, an effort that brought down theft rates within a couple of months. The addition of six new officers at the precinct is another encouraging sign, she said.
“They’re active all over,” she said. “They have a lot of support from the community and that’s very important.”