For well over a decade now the 104th Precinct, which covers the neighborhoods of Middle Village, Maspeth, south Elmhurst, Ridgewood and Glendale, has been one of the slowest commands in the City of New York to respond to emergencies – crimes in progress (CIP). And for several years it has ranked as the slowest precinct in Queens County. Recently released statistics by the NY Daily News should alarm 104th Precinct residents even more, especially those living in Middle Village, Maspeth and Elmhurst.
In big cities a response time of 10 minutes is considered average for police departments across the United States. Although crime in NYC has dropped significantly over the last decade, response times have increased steadily over that same period. Citywide response times averaged 11.4 minutes from July, 2000 to February, 2001, an average increase of about 2 minutes over the decade.
However the statistics are even more alarming for the 104th Precinct. From July to October 2000 the 104th recorded an average response of 15.4 minutes. The slowest time ever recorded in Queens County. To his credit, Police commissioner Kerik is trying to address the citywide response time problem with more equipment and manpower. As a result the 104th’s response time did drop to 14.6 minutes from November 2000 to February 2001… but it still lags far behind even the second slowest precinct in Queens County. With an average response of 15 minutes to crimes-in-progress, the 104th precinct is still much slower than the 114th Precinct in Astoria, with an averages response of 14.2 minutes.
This means that residents living in the neighborhoods of 104th Precinct are not getting equal protection for their tax money as it takes the precinct 30% longer to get to an emergency.
The obstacles facing police officers patrolling the neighborhoods of the 104th precinct are daunting to say the least. Because of parks, railroad tracks, highways and the number of cemeteries dividing the precinct, it is nearly impossible for Police Vehicles to travel from one end of the precinct to the other in reasonable times.
Furthermore, since most of the crime is located in the Ridgewood area, especially near the Brooklyn border, when there is an emergency in Middle Village/Maspeth sections, the vast majority of the time patrol cars are responding from Ridgewood. To make matters worse, if you add rush hour traffic into the impossible topography of the precinct the results could be 30 and 40 minute response times to emergencies in Middle Village-Maspeth sections.
Residents of these communities should be outraged. Bob Holden, and the Juniper Park Civic Association, have been the most outspoken and a critical voice over the past decade. Six years ago then Police Commissioner Bratton recognized the unique problems in the boundaries of the 104th Precinct. He and Chief Louis Anemone promised to address the issue with a comprehensive study. Not long after, Bratton and Anemone both left the NYPD and since then, there has been no progress on the issue.