MORRISANIA — The 42nd Precinct is getting nearly 40 new officers after a recent spike in crime and a rise in the area's population as part of a new initiative that emphasizes building ties with the community, according to the commanding officer, Capt. Steven Ortiz.
Although murders and burglaries are down in the precinct compared to last year, crimes such as rapes, robberies and shootings have increased by 15.4, 27.4 and 28.6 percent respectively since 2013.
The 38 additional officers will be put on beats and are part of Commissioner Bill Bratton's Partner Officer Program, an initiative that embeds officers in the community with the objective of getting to know their neighborhoods very well.
As such, the precinct will place a strong emphasis on building a rapport with local residents to help familiarize the rookies with their communities.
"I'm very excited," Ortiz said of the new officers. "It will make more than a difference."
The population in the 42nd Precinct increased by about 16 percent, or 11,000 people, between the 2000 and 2010 censuses, according to Ortiz.
The officers, who will patrol the area for at least the next six months, join the 188 already at the stationhouse.
"The criminals are not used to having this many cops on foot patrols," said veteran Police Officer Chris Drews. "So that should be interesting."
Several community leaders expressed strong support for the new officers, particularly their focus on getting to know the borough.
"This, to me, is a step in the right direction toward doing that, toward establishing a sense of family between police and community," Dudley said.
Rita Jones, who has lived in the precinct for more than 60 years said engaging with the community instead of just policing it could help improve how neighborhood residents feel about the officers and how they feel about where they live.
"It seems like it will be a great help because you need sensitive officers," she said.
"The new officers with the new attitude may be able to help the people in the community get a new attitude toward the police and their community itself."