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SE Queens reps call for new precinct

Even though the 105th Precinct’s substation in Rosedale has helped to lower crime in southeast Queens over the last 16 months, leaders from all levels of government and residents are still pushing for the Police Department to give the community its own separate command station.

U.S. Rep. Gregory Meeks (D−Jamaica), City Comptroller William Thompson, state Sen. Malcolm Smith (D−St. Albans) and other elected officials joined dozens of neighborhood activists Monday outside the substation’s building at North Conduit Avenue and 242nd Street to bring the community’s request back into the limelight.

Since the early 1970s, Rosedale, Laurelton and Springfield Gardens residents have yearned for their own precinct because the 105th encompasses nearly 12.6 square miles.

“This is a fight that has been long overdue,” Meeks said.

Nearly two dozen people rallied with the elected officials to demand the new station. Bill Perkins, of the Rosedale Civic Association, said for too long the city’s mayors and police brass have been delaying the creation of a new precinct despite the need for it.

The 105th covers the eastern part of Queens from Jamaica Bay to Floral Park, and police responses to 911 calls can range anywhere from 30 minutes to an hour, according to Perkins.

“The irony is that you go to the north side [of the precinct] and they talk about the response times the same way as we do on the south side,” he said.

According to police statistics, the mean response times for “serious crimes” in the 105th Precinct was 5.16 minutes in the first quarter of 2008, but six minutes in the third quarter.

A special taskforce that consisted of 27 area civic leaders was set up to address the need for a new precinct, which the community has dubbed the 116th. After years of community petitions and protest, the NYPD set up a special substation for the 105th Precinct in July 2007 that was solely dedicated to overseeing the areas of southeast Queens and police statistics show it has helped.

The 105th has had 1,713 reported crimes so far this year, compared to 1,919 at the same time in 2007, according to the NYPD. There are no statistics for the substation, which only operates on two shifts.

Despite the city’s financial difficulties, Thompson said it was still economically feasible for another precinct to be established. The comptroller and mayoral candidate noted that Mayor Michael Bloomberg’s capital budget includes infrastructure improvements that could be used to upgrade the substation into a new police facility.

“I think it’s the perfect timing to bring it up. I think it’s the perfect timing to push for it,” he said. “The time to plan is now.”

Reach reporter Ivan Pereira by e−mail at ipereira@timesledger.com or by phone at 718−229−0300, Ext. 146.

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