Neighborhood policing program bridges gap between community, NYPD

Posted: Updated:
MORRISANIA -

News 12 went on patrol Wednesday with two officers who are part of a neighborhood policing program designed to strengthen the bonds between officers and community members.

Neighborhood coordination officers Matthew Velger and Eric Bukoweicki say they have personally seen community bonds strengthened by the program.

NCOs were first rolled out in 2016 in the 42nd Precinct. Velger says the area he now patrols had the highest crime and drug activity within Morrisania. Velger says crime dropped 75 percent within his sector in four months after the launch of the program. He believes it is because officers are now more visible.

"You get to know us on a personal level, you have our emails, cellphones," says Velger.

Businesses say the officers' frequent visits deter loitering and other quality-of-life offenses. Others say they have made a positive impact on kids and seniors in the community, knowing that NCOs are looking out for them.

The officers admit there is still work to be done to change some negative attitudes about law enforcement, but they say neighborhood policing is a start.

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