CO discusses crime drop in 102nd
by Jennifer Khedaroo
Jan 16, 2019 | 3887 views | 0 0 comments | 212 212 recommendations | email to a friend | print
After taking over as commanding officer of the 102nd Precinct in November 2017, Deputy Inspector Courtney Nilan led her precinct to a 14.4 percent drop in crime in 2018, the second largest crime decrease in the city just behind the Central Park Precinct.

For the precinct serves Kew Gardens, Richmond Hill, Woodhaven and a portion of Ozone Park, that means there were 134 fewer people who were victims of major crimes.

“A lot of times people are skeptical of statistics,” Nilan said, “but that 14.4 percent crime decrease is in major crimes like robberies, burglaries, grand larcenies and stolen cars.”

The precinct saw extreme reductions in robberies and burglaries, which decreased 29 percent and 33 percent for the year. And while many precincts saw a rise in grand larceny, thanks in part to identity thefts and other scams, the 102nd Precinct actually dropped by 7 percent.

Homicides also reduced by 66 percent, from six in 2017 down to two in 2018.

The precinct, however, saw an increase in two categories, rape and assault.

Rape crime rates went up by about 26 percent, with five more rape reports than in the previous year. Meanwhile, assault arrests went up slightly by 1.6 percent. About 40 percent of the assaults were domestic violence related.

“Being up in these categories isn’t an all-around negative, and I think it’s going to continue this year,” Nilan said. “Because of the #MeToo and similar movements, it’s considered different now and there’s less stigma, as half of the rape reports didn't happen this year.

“They happened several years ago and people have been hesitant or afraid to actually report it,” she added. “If you report a rape that happened five years ago, it’s going to investigated with just as much veracity as a rape that occurs today.”

In the past, many domestic violence assaults also went unreported due to stigma, fear of retaliation, or fear of hindering immigration status.

But using the advantage of a diverse precinct, many officers have helped community members understand that being a victim of a domestic violence crime won’t affect immigration status, and that there are other avenues of help besides police reports and arrests.

Nilan believes many crimes can be prevented through educating residents. To help with community relations, Nilan encourages all of her officers to attend community events, from the local PTA to meetings with business owners.

Prior to joining the 102 Precinct, Nilan served as a captain for the 101st Precinct in Far Rockaway, where she was able to work on the Neighborhood Coordination Officers (NCO) Pilot Program in 2015.

“It was a lot of work, but it was really exciting and we were able to put it together,” she recalled. “It helped to have that background in the 101st Precinct.”

The 102nd Precinct is split into four sectors, and each sector has two NCOs that residents can reach out to through phone, text or email about community concerns.

Each NCO officer was chosen by Nilan and her team based on their ties to specific communities. For example, officers who previously worked in the Forest Park unit and were familiar with civic groups involved with the park are NCOs om the sector that includes the park.

The 102nd Precinct was the last precinct in Queens South to transition to the NCO method, with officers arriving in the community in July of last year. By being the last to implement the program, they were able to gain positive takeaways from other precincts, as well as learn from mistakes.

Beyond the NCOs, Nilan credits a number of people for the precinct’s success. For instance, her crime analysis staff maps out areas that are traditionally targeted during certain times of the year.

The information has helped when it comes to packages being stolen around the holidays and cars being broken into during the summer.

“Instead of being reactive after something happens, we try to be proactive before it happens,” Nilan said.

“Here, everybody has a say,” she added. “I always tell people that it’s not a dictatorship. Everything is a discussion because people are here at different hours and they may see something I don’t see. I always want input whether it’s from a cop, a lieutenant or a captain.”

There are many busy thoroughfares criss-crossing the precinct, like the Van Wyck Expressway, Atlantic Avenue, Jamaica Avenue and the Jackie Robinson Parkway, and traffic is a constant issue that the 102nd Precinct looks to tackle.

The addition of a new executive officer with a supervisor background in the Highway Department has allowed the precinct to explore innovative ideas on how to solve the issue of traffic and prevent accidents.

“We spend almost as much time on traffic-related issues as crime-related issues,” Nilan said. “It’s just as important.”

The goal for the year is to continue decreasing major crimes in the area.

Nilan would like to visit high schools to discuss teen domestic violence and domestic violence related to social media.

“I’ll never take credit for the crime decrease because there’s 200 people who work here and everybody has a hand in helping out in some way,” Nilan said. “Without them, I’m not sitting here with these kind of statistics.”

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