WOODLAWN - The number of police officers in Woodlawn?s 47th Precinct has been almost cut in half in recent years, and local residents are calling for more protection.

Father Richard Gorman, chairman of Community Board 12, says he was shocked last week when he walked into the precinct to find only eight or nine officers on duty. ?It was sort of like, did everyone stay home today?? Gorman says.

Eight or nine officers on duty means there were only three police cars to patrol an area larger than five square miles. Residents of Wakefield, Woodlawn, Olinville, Baychester, Fishbay, Williamsbridge and Edenwald say they are all affected by the shortage of officers and want something done to ensure their protection.

According to Ken Parr of the Woodlawn Taxpayers Association, the number of police officers at the 47th Precinct has gone from 225 to 165 in the last eight years. He says the present number is even less when you factor in officers on vacation or reassigned to other locations.

?The combination leaves us bone dry on police officers,? Parr says.

According to Community Board 12, within the last three weeks the precinct has lost two police officers to Yonkers. They say low starting salaries are also pushing officers out of the area.

Community Board 12 is sending around a petition asking for more protection. They say that last year, they had the fourth highest crime status for murders in the city, and that Woodlawn also has a known drug problem. They say police officers are needed to maintain a strong quality of life.

Father Gorman says the board has already collected thousands of signatures, and they will take their case to the city when they reach 10,000.

News 12 The Bronx has reached out to the NYPD for comment, but has not heard back.