By Anthony M. Destefano
NEW YORK — More than 600 rookie officers are expected to hit the streets of some of the city's high crime areas Friday night in a beefed-up effort by the NYPD to stem a recent spike in shootings and other lawlessness, department officials said.
The new officers have been undergoing two days of orientation in at least eight "impact zones" that cover a number of high crime areas in three precincts in the Bronx, two in Brooklyn and Queens, as well as one each in Staten Island and Manhattan, an NYPD spokesman said.
NYPD brass are counting on the additional officers to help slow a steady increase in shootings citywide this year compared with the first half of 2013. NYPD Commissioner William Bratton is also planning to deploy as many as 400 officers from specialized units for street patrol as part of Operation All Out, as first reported by Newsday about two weeks ago.
Through Sunday, the city had recorded 521 shootings so far this year, compared with 482 in the same period for 2013, according to NYPD statistics. Victims have totaled 611, compared with 554 in 2013, city data showed.
This past weekend was particularly violent, with 20 shootings across all five boroughs. Seventeen people were injured and three were killed, police said.
Friday night's heightened police presence will include sending 150 newly sworn-in officers to command posts targeting crime at the city's public housing locations. Nearly 50 homicides have occurred in housing projects since Jan. 1, according to police data. Some of the officers were expected to get an early start and begin patrolling Thursday night, officials said.
The new deployment and reshuffling of veteran cops out of special assignments and into the streets was criticized Thursday as a "Band-Aid" tactic by Patrick Lynch, president of the Patrolmen's Benevolent Association.
"Operation All Out is a clear and unambiguous admission that the NYPD does not have enough police officers on patrol to curb gun violence, control crime and keep the city safe," Lynch said in a statement. "It is a last-ditch, Band-Aid response to the escalating gun violence and disorder in this city."
Lynch called for the city to hire additional cops. City Hall's recently passed budget didn't include plans to hire 1,000 new officers as some in the City Council had wanted. Instead, some 200 civilians are expected to be hired to replace officers on desk duty, who will be assigned to enforcement duties.
Copyright 2014 Newsday
McClatchy-Tribune News Service