UPPER MANHATTAN — Community leaders are calling on the NYPD to reverse a decision to reassign the 34th Precinct's commanding officer, just 15 months after he moved into the post.
Residents and elected officials began a letter writing campaign Monday asking that the NYPD allow Deputy Inspector Jose Navarro to remain in his role, particularly at a time of increased crime in the area.
“Losing Navarro at this critical time will hamper the countless efforts to reduce crime, lose momentum in implementing strategic crime prevention initiatives and damage already repaired police-community relations,” reads a letter sent to the department from dozens of community residents.
“His loss will be felt across the community and his departure will raise significant concerns,” continued the letter, addressed to Commissioner Raymond Kelly and Assistant Chief/Commanding Officer William Morris.
Police did not immediately respond to requests for comment regarding the decision.
But CompStat figures show nearly all crime is up 22.95 percent overall this year to date in the 34th Precinct as compared to last year.
To date, robberies are up 5.7 percent with 166 incidents reported versus 157 in 2010; burglaries are up 66.7 percent with 165 incidents versus 99 in 2010; grand larceny is up 17.5 percent with 235 incidents versus 200 in 2010; and auto theft is up 31.2 percent with 63 incidents reported this year versus 48 in 2010.
Murder is also up 250 percent with seven incidents versus two in 2010; rape is up 27.3 percent with 14 incidents compared to 11 in 2010; and felony assault is up 11.7 percent with 143 incidents versus 128.
Earlier this month, the precinct received a temporary increase of 50 police officers to patrol a 24-block radius of Washington Heights in response to the reported rise in crime.
Elected officials joined in the protest, asking top brass to reconsider the move.
“We are concerned about returning to old practices where commanding officers would be rotated in and out of the 34th Precinct on a frequent basis, much to the detriment of the community,” reads a letter addressed to Kelly that was obtained by DNAinfo.
Espaillat’s deputy chief of staff Ibrahim Khan said the way Navarro had successfully connected and worked with the community "demonstrates his leadership," he said.
"Senator Espaillat believes Deputy Inspector Navarro’s ongoing service would benefit the Northern Manhattan community and continue the progress we have made in recent years,” he added.