NEW YORK (CBSNew York) – Crime districts in Manhattan’s Chelsea and Hell’s Kitchen neighborhoods receive additional support from a new NYPD pilot program.
CBS2’s Dave Carlin got an exclusive look at what it is and how tenacious neighbors made it possible.
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Officers inside their patrol vehicles just aren’t around enough, traders and neighbors said on the violent and drug-infested Ninth Avenue with its increasingly dilapidated blocks north and south of the country. 42nd street.
Gunshots, gashes and assaults, fires started and dozens of emotionally disturbed people who become familiar faces.
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But now the cops are getting more familiar, known by name, out of cars, walking the pace.
There are at least eight visible officers dedicated to these blocks.
“Depending on the behavior, we will take action,” said Deputy Inspector Kevin Coleman, 10th District Commander.
“We’re so thrilled they’re doing it,” said community activist Holly-Anne Devlin.
A group led by Devlin has teamed up with the police, pushing them down with constant calls, backed by hundreds of photos and videos that are impossible to ignore.
“We send them to the NYPD, we time stamp them,” she said.
“Do you think this community has done something right? Carlin asked Coleman.
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“Credit goes to them, this is a community initiative,” said Coleman. “They coined that term ‘eight for eight’ which they coined, which meant eight cops in the area for eight weeks.”
The initiative started on Monday.
“I saw more cops on the street, yes,” said one resident.
The owner of a liquor store on Ninth Avenue has a wall of shame from suspected thieves.
“The guy who was here, he slaughtered a coworker of mine,” said the liquor store owner.
He says the officers who are part of the pilot program came to see him with the promise of being there more often.
Officers on foot and in cadence have challenges; social distancing and mistrust can prevent some citizens from engaging. The hope is that over time this will change.
“We want to have a good relationship with the public,” Coleman said.
Coleman says multi-agency cooperation is needed and that arrests alone cannot solve what is troubling the streets.
But with an app better suited to a community – in this case putting agents’ feet on the streets – that’s a big step.
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The “Eight For Eight” program lasts until September, but it looks likely to be extended and replicated in other neighborhoods.