Subway neighborhood policing program expands to Manhattan, Queens

New Yorkers can expect to see more cops on the subway as the NYPD expands the underground reach of its neighborhood policing program.

NYPD Commissioner James O’Neill announced Thursday that four additional transit districts covering parts of Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx and Manhattan would benefit from the neighborhood policing model. The department’s “core crime-fighting strategy” will now be applied to Transit District 3 in Manhattan and the Bronx, Transit District 4 in Manhattan, Transit District 32 in Brooklyn and Transit District 20 in Queens, per the NYPD.

The program expansion comes with a 15 percent hike in the number of uniformed officers who will be placed on patrol in each of the transit districts.

“By building trust and strengthening relationships with as many of the regular riders of this vast subway system as possible, we can proactively address many of the individual issues that are specific to these areas,” O’Neill said in an emailed statement. “And by addressing those concerns, we can work at preventing crime and disorder from occurring in the first place.”

The Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCO) program was initially rolled out in Transit District 30, which covers parts of Brooklyn, and Transit District 12 in the Bronx in April.

Compared to the previous year, crime has dropped 29.19 percent year-to-date in Transit District 12 and 4.81 percent year-to-date in Transit District 30, according to police. The NYPD did not immediately respond to a request for comparative crime rates from April through June.

O’Neill said the new transit districts were selected based on ridership volume, crime analysis and quality of life issues, as well as the NYPD’s ability to quickly deploy cops to those areas.

New York City Transit president Andy Byford welcomed the program’s expansion.

“The NYPD Transit Bureau is absolutely central and critical to the safety of NYC Transit customers and employees and I’m looking forward to seeing the fruits of this innovative approach to public safety,” Byford said in an emailed statement.

The NYPD first launched its neighborhood policing program in 2015 with the idea that allowing residents to become more familiar with the police officers who patrol their block would increase community participation in the department’s crime-fighting efforts.

That same concept is now being applied to the subways, with high-ranking NYPD officials believing that a commuter who gets on the subway at a specific station at the same time every weekday is going to feel more comfortable approaching an officer who they are familiar with.

The NYPD lists its transit NCOs by borough, subway line or station on its website.

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