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Police response slower in borough, city: Mayor

From Oct. 1, 2000 to Jan. 30, 2001, average response times jumped from 11.4 minutes to 13 minutes...

By Adam Kramer

Police response times in Queens, following a citywide trend, rose in the first four months of the fiscal year 2001 compared to the same period a year ago.

From Oct. 1, 2000 to Jan. 30, 2001, average response times jumped from 11.4 minutes to 13 minutes in Patrol Borough North and from 10.7 minutes to 12.2 minutes in Patrol Borough South. The two patrol boroughs oversee the coverage areas of the precincts in the northern and southern sections of Queens.

Patrol Borough North’s times were one minute slower than the citywide average, while Patrol Borough South’s times were 12 seconds slower.

“Some of the factors to why the response times have risen is the present administration has not made it a public safety priority,” said City Councilman Sheldon Leffler (D-Hollis), chairman of the Council’s Public Safety Committee. “We have seen an increase since the administration’s very first year and it should be addressed.”

He said Mayor Rudolph Giuliani needs to come up with a strategy to lower the response times, similar to the plans his administration implemented to reduce gang violence and get weapons off the street.

“Clearly, these increases must be addressed,” Leffler said. “Unfortunately for the citizens of this city, the mayor acknowledged this long-term trend ‘is a concern for all of us’ but said he is not sure he knows the reasons why.”

The response time figures compiled in the Mayor’s Management Report are the average reported time it takes for the Police Department to respond to a crime in progress. Citywide, the average time to respond to a call rose 11 percent to 12 minutes, an increase of 1 minute and 12 seconds.

According to the report, the response time citywide for critical crimes including robbery, shots fired, burglary and assault with a weapon averaged 6 minutes and 54 seconds — a 24 second increase from prior year levels. Citywide response times to non-critical crimes such as graffiti and automobile stripping averaged 22 minutes, an increase of 2 minutes and 24 seconds.

Patrol Borough North covers the 104th Precinct in Ridgewood, the 108th Precinct in Long Island City, the 109th Precinct in Flushing, the 110th Precinct in Elmhurst, the 111th Precinct in Bayside, the 112th Precinct in Forest Hills, the 114th precinct in Astoria and the 115th Precinct in Jackson Heights.

Patrol Borough South oversees the 100th Precinct in Rockaway, the 101st Precinct in Far Rockaway, the 102nd Precinct in Richmond Hill, the 103rd Precinct in Jamaica, the 105th Precinct in Queens Village, the 106th Precinct in Ozone Park, the 107th Precinct in Flushing and the 113th Precinct in Jamaica.

Leffler said there are a number of areas the Department should look at when it examines the response times: precinct staffing, what can be expected if the police hire more 911 operators, and addressing the response times with the commanding officers of the precincts and patrol borough chief, while helping them to reduce the times.

The mayor’s plan for a 311 number as an alternative to 911 would improve the 911 times because the 311 would handle all non-critical calls, Leffler said.

“But there is no plan or proposal for the number,” he said. “With only 10 months to go in the administration, it is not something he is going to do.”

Reach reporter Adam Kramer by e-mail at Timesledgr@aol.com or call 229-0300, Ext. 157.

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