Take the Jackie Robinson Homes, "an 8-story building with 189 apartments housing some 440 residents." Last year there was an issue with kids raising hell. Residents were scared.
So lets say there are 600 people living there in the Jackie Robinson Home (since many live off lease). Put a cop there. What else are police doing that is more important? To hell with whatever patrol structure currently exists. To hell with the desk jobs and even specialized units. Three cops can work 14-hours, six-days a week. One officer working less than 40 hours a week can still be responsible for one building. And you've still got the entire NYPD as backup. A police officer out of car -- with a name and face, a human being -- this is how you build relationships and solve crimes while practicing aggressive order-maintenance community policing.
A tenant of the Jackie Robinson Houses provided DNAinfo with video Tuesday showing the indoor bicycle riding and other rowdy conduct that residents said has been routine at 111 E. 128th St. since October 2014.Presumably, three months later, this has been resolved by now. But why should it take a formal complaint for a housing cop to know about a year-long problem in a building they patrol? Why isn't there a cop who can say, "this is my building and I know what is going on and who is doing it"?
The commanding officer of the building’s police service area only found out about the teens’ behavior Tuesday [December 2015, a year later] and no residents had previously filed any formal complaints, an NYPD source told the Daily News.
Police officers need -- and for the most part want to assume -- geographic ownership. I was happy one night to be "Sheriff of Orangeville" (thanks for that term, D.W.). Oh, yes, there was a new sheriff in town, and Orangeville was quite that night. (The rest of 334 post was OK, too.) Mostly I had to be happy with the area around Hopkins hospital. But whichever post I policed, it was "my" post that night. I cared. And also... I didn't want the hassle and paperwork and hospital details that come with serious crime.
Progress and "sector policing" put the nail in the coffin of Baltimore post integrity (@ThanksBatts). Basically, instead of one cop patrolling one post you have five cops patrolling five posts. A cop can't care or take ownership of a whole police sector of ten or twenty thousand people. But a cop can almost handle two square miles and 3,000 people. So now crime is up and there isn't a single officer who says, "This is my corner and you drinking and selling drugs here is disrespectful to me, personally."
Well, back in NYC, there's a housing bureau cop for every 200 residents in public housing. About 500,000 residents in 328 developments and 2,553 buildings buildings. You don't need a NYPD mobile command post with loud generator and overly-bright lighting after somebody gets killed. If there are 2,700 police officers in the Housing Bureau, then there are more officers than buildings.
Do you see where I'm going with this?
Why not just assign one officer to each building? Now many of the buildings are small and don't need anybody. So you don't put a cop there. Queensbridge is the largest public housing project remaining in America. Six cops on visible patrol 14 hours a day, six days a week. That takes about 18 cops in total. But it's still just cop for each 450 residents. Is that too much to ask?
Were it up to me, I'd give each patrol officer a very small chuck of the city. Of course you'd have to patrol a larger area. But you and only you are responsible for everything that happens in that for that small chunk. Everything. We're talking an area of roughly 500 people or 1/3 of a mile of street. Those are your people. Know them. Treat them well. And when residents have a problem, they could still call 911 and a cop will show up. But they might prefer to wait till you're on duty to talk to you, whom they know. It's really not that crazy. And for some reason it will never happen.