By Carla Zanoni
UPPER MANHATTAN — Nearly all of the extra police officers deployed to the 34th Precinct late last year to stem the rising tide of crime in Northern Manhattan have been reassigned to other precincts.
Captain Jose Navarro of the 34th Precinct, which patrols the northern portion of Washington Heights in addition to Inwood, said that his precinct has only been allowed to keep 14 of the 60 extra cops originally deployed to the area.
"I wish I could keep all of them," Navarro said, explaining that the NYPD had made the decision to move the 46 officers to other precincts that are experiencing upticks in crime.
The 60 police officers from other precincts were part of the NYPD's Impact Zone, a concentration of police assigned to a high crime area in the 34th Precinct from 180th Street to 185th streets, between Wadsworth and Amsterdam avenues.
Although the flood of officers seemed to quell some of the crime wave at the end of 2010, Deputy Inspector Joseph Dowling of the 33rd Precinct raised concern in January that a spike in robberies and grand larcenies in his precinct at the same time may have resulted from the beefed up police presence to the north.
Dowling did not immediately respond to calls for comment.
Just last month, elected officials gathered after the death of two young people in Washington Heights to call for a return to the kind of tactics that were used to drive out the drug trade in the area less than two decades ago. The politicians announced the creation of two new task forces that would include state and federal law enforcement in managing crime in the area, in addition to collaborative work between the Upper Manhattan police precincts.
Just this weekend, an Inwood man was shot steps from his home outside of a neighborhood bodega at approximately 8 p.m. on Saturday evening.
The death of 28-year-old Jose Uraga brings the total of murders in the 33rd and 34th Precincts to four since the beginning of 2011.
In 2010, the two precincts saw a total of eight murders by the end of the year.