That police precinct on the corner of Sixth Avenue and Bergen Street? It doesn't belong to Prospect Heights (despite its physical location in our neighborhood). Rather, it is Park Slope's 78th Precinct, and the streets around it are patrolled by the 77th Precinct, with officers coming down from Utica Avenue.
But that is expected to all change in October, when the boarders between the 77th and 78th Precinct are being moved to clarify the NYPD's jurisdiction over the Barclays Center. The change still needs City Council approval, but Councilwoman Letitia James is behind it, and it is expected to pass.
But the new borders gives Park Slope's 78th Precinct in charge of Atlantic Yards, it also gives it jurisdiction over over the area between Vanderbilt Avenue and Flatbush Avenue, from Hanson Place in Fort Greene, all the way to (and including) Plaza Street East. The 77th Precinct's border will begin with the East side of Vanderbilt Avenue. In Fort Greene, it will also cover the Atlantic Center.
In order to patrol the expanded territory, the 78th Precinct will be getting more officers—through new recruits, not shifted from the 77th or Fort Greene's 88th, according to James.
The shift was announced at held by James and Captain Michael Ameri, head of the 78th Precinct.
The change won't affect people much in terms of filing police reports: residents have always been allowed to file reports at whatever precinct is most convenient for them.
But Councilwoman James said she thinks the change will be good for the affected area, nevertheless.
"I think we're going to get more attention now, because relative to Park Slope, Prospect Heights has more incidents of crime," she said.
In the 77th Precinct, which covers all of Crown Heights and Weeksville in addition to Prospect Heights, much of the police manpower has gone to patrolling the area between Franklin and Nostrand avenues, which has been designated a high-crime "impact zone."
And although crime is statistically higher in that area, the Prospect Heights has had several muggings and other street crime. While most of these take place in the area east of Vanderbilt, recently there was a between Flatbush and Carlton, and in April of 2011, a 25-year-old woman was between St. Marks and Bergen.
Sharon Davidson, director of the North Flatbush Business Improvement District, said merchants she has talked to are also pleased with the change.
"I think it's going to have a positive effect. I think the response time to things will be quicker, it's less confusing for residents and businesses," she said.
But Rob Witherwax, coordinator of GAPCo, a coalition of Grand Army Plaza residents, who is second vice chair of Prospect Heights' Community Board 8, said he doesn't think the change in boarders will make much of a difference, though he did note that officers from the 78th Precinct won't be as familiar with the people and norms of their new territory and might have trouble, for example, distinguishing area residents hanging out at Dean Street Playground from loitering Barclays patrons.
"I don't care what precinct patrols Prospect Heights as long as they do two things: deal with the existing street level crime … and protect a very quiet, residential neighborhood"
"It's not all about crowd control," he added. "It's about making sure that the streets that are quiet now are quiet a year from now."