HIGHBRIDGE—Mayor Bill de Blasio and Police Commissioner William Bratton rolled out their summer anti-crime initiative Wednesday, announcing at the 44th Precinct in The Bronx that they were confident the effort to place hundreds more police officers on the street would halt the citywide spike in shootings and homicides.
Called "Summer All Out," the effort will put 330 officers — now on administrative duty — out to patrol 10 precincts and four public housing service areas across the city that have seen spikes in crime and violence.
"It worked for us last year and we fully expect for it to work for us this year," Bratton said.
There has been an 18 percent increase in homicides in the city, from 143 through June 7 this year compared to 121 for the same period last year. Shootings have jumped 5 percent, to 451 this year from 428 this time last year.
Last year, with the city experiencing a similar spike in shootings and homicides, the program rolled out to 10 precincts. From the start of the effort on July 8 through Oct. 5, when it ended, the precincts saw 25.8 fewer homicides and 19.5 fewer shootings.
NYPD Chief of Department Jim O'Neill said the officers will patrol their neighborhoods by foot, increasing their effectiveness.
Because some of the additional officers are being pulled off of administrative duty and "haven't been on the street in some time," said O'Neill, the NYPD will give them two days of training before putting them back on patrol.
Asked about moving officers from administrative positions to life-and-death situations on the street, O'Neill said the "primary responsibility" of all officers is to "protect and serve." Some of the officers will also be members of the most recent graduating class.
The 44th Precinct alone has seen five murders through June 7 of this year compared to four in the same time last year. It's also seen a 122 percent increase in shooting through May 31, from nine last year to 20 this year.
The precinct will receive 39 additional officers, including 18 from the most recent graduating class — a 14 percent increase in the number of officers at the precinct, said Bratton.
"You are in a rough place. You are in a place where we face real challenges," de Blasio told more than a dozen officers lined up for roll call.
"Reinforcements are on the way and very soon," he said.
Betty Crawford, head of the 44th Precinct Community Council, said she has noticed what looks like more gangs and youth crews milling about in the last several weeks.
"I'm so happy we are getting more cops," she said.
Councilwoman Vanessa Gibson, who represents the area covered by the 44th Precinct, agreed.
"They know with greater police presence there is a greater sense of safety," said Gibson. "The feedback I got from my residents is they loved seeing the officers in their community."