By Carla Zanoni
WASHINGTON HEIGHTS —A beefed-up police presence in Washington Heights' northern section could have pushed crime into it's neighbor to the south, the head of the NYPD's 33rd precinct said.
Southern Washington Heights saw an uptick in robberies and grand larcenies in 2010.
Deputy Inspector Joseph Dowling, of the 33rd Precinct which covers the southern area, told members of the Public Safety committee of Community Board 12 Wednesday that he believed his precinct's problems stem in part from the 34th Precinct's "Impact Zone," which placed a concentrated police presence in northern Washington Heights.
While the 34th Precinct briefly succeeded in driving down crime in their neighborhood in the month of November by bringing in 60 additional officers, the blitz may have had the unintended consequence of driving criminals south into the 33rd Precinct, Dowling said.
"We have seen some perpetrators coming from the north, because of the Impact Zone." He went on to say that his team has been working to address the rise by "placing officers in strategic areas."
The 34th precinct covers north of 179th Street, and the 33rd Precinct patrols down to 155th Street.
The "Impact Zone" initiative began in October, and placed 60 extra officers from other precincts on a high crime area in the 34th Precinct from 180th Street to 185th streets, between Wadsworth and Amsterdam avenues.
During that time, reported robberies in the 33rd climbed 84.6 percent from the previous month, according to CompStat reports. Grand larcenies also increased 37.5 during that period.
In the 34th Precinct during the same period, reported felony assault and robbery declined from the previous month, with respective drops of 11.1 and 26.1 percent, according to CompStat. Reported robbery stayed at the same level as the previous month.
Neither the 34th Precinct nor the NYPD's Public Information office responded to requests for comment.