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More cops on beat on Jamaica streets

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The new officers - who collared a man trying to break into a car and a shoplifter - are among the more than 60 new cops who hit the streets in downtown Jamaica in an extension of the Operation Impact program which reduced crime by 50 percent in a targeted zone there in 2003.

Mayor Michael Bloomberg started Operation Impact early last year as a way to target high-crime areas across the city. In the 103rd Precinct, about 50 new officers were sent to patrol the seven-block area dubbed an "impact zone" between Hillside and Jamaica avenues and 168th Street and Parsons Boulevard.

Last week Bloomberg announced the expansion of the program under the mantle Operation Impact II. The 103rd Precinct was given a second impact zone, again bounded by Hillside and Jamaica avenues, and stretching from Sutphin Boulevard to Parsons Boulevard. The addition in effect extends the 103rd's zone from Sutphin Boulevard to 168th Street.

"We based it on the analysis of last year's street crimes," said Capt. Don Lyons, executive officer of the 103rd. "We looked at what happened and what these foot posts would be able to prevent."

About 65 new officers join the 28 still assigned to the 103rd from last year's Operation Impact, Lyons said. The officers will help reduce crime by making their presence known and talking to shopkeepers about preventing incidents, he said.

"No. 1 is visibility," Lyons said. "All the officers since they've been here have received all the information that we have on people who live in the area who have committed crimes in the past. We've also given them a lecture in prevention, so they have the basics and can talk to business owners."

The added manpower will help ensure Jamaica's economic revitalization. The opening of the AirTrain link to Kennedy Airport, the creation of the Sutphin Boulevard Business Improvement District and other projects have all been touted as tools of economic growth, said Councilman James Gennaro (D-Fresh Meadow), who stopped by the precinct to welcome the new officers Friday.

"There's a big renaissance in downtown Jamaica that's occurring with the business improvement district, the AirTrain, the increased focus by the city Economic Development Corp.," he said. "But this renaissance all begins with security."

The 102nd Precinct in Richmond Hill and the 109th in Flushing got impact zones last year, while the 104th Precinct in Ridgewood, the 110th in Corona and the 115th in Elmhurst were added to this year's initiative.

The rookies in the 103rd Precinct are off to a great start. Two officers were working their first day of foot patrol in downtown Jamaica last Thursday when they arrested a man on a felony charge of criminal mischief for trying to break into a car and arrested a juvenile in a shoplifting incident, Lyons said.

"They made two arrests already," said Lt. Lisa Manzo, operations coordinator. "That was their very, very first day on the streets."

And Gennaro had one piece of advice for the officers before they started their tours in Friday's frigid weather: "Stay warm."

Reach reporter Courtney Dentch by e-mail at news@timesledger.com, or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 138.

Updated 10:26 am, October 12, 2011
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