THE BRONX - More police officers will be heading to the highest crime neighborhoods in the Bronx under a new program called Operation Impact.

The goal of Operation Impact is to send about 150 police academy graduates to the toughest areas in the borough. A heavy presence of police officers in high-crime neighborhoods will help decrease the violence, according to NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly.

Police officials estimate about 140 officers will be assigned to the program in three Bronx stations ? the 44th Precinct in Highbridge, the 46th Precinct in Morris Heights and the 52nd Precinct in Kingsbridge.

Residents in those neighborhoods say they welcome the sight of more officers. They say the heavier police presence will make them feel more secure.

Police officials say the assignment to officers of Operation Impact will begin on Jan. 4.